Today’s Tidbits: November 6, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: November 6, 2017

Here are our tidbits for November 6, 2017:  JPSS-1 Launch Delayed; Scott Pace on the role of the National Space Council; NASA’s Office of Inspector General releases its annual “top challenges” report.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

JPSS-1 Launch Delay

The launch of NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) weather satellite has been delayed for at least four days until November 14, 2017.   JPSS-1 is being launched on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket.  ULA tweeted that a battery on the Delta II is faulty and must be replaced.  The launch had been scheduled for November 10.

Scott Pace on the Role of National Space Council

Scientific American published an interview by Lee Billings with Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of the White House National Space Council.  Pace is a veteran space policy wonk who was Director of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute before taking the Space Council job.  He was a top NASA official during Mike Griffin’s tenure as Administrator in the George W. Bush Administration and has held other key government space policy positions throughout his career.

Pace discussed the role he sees for the Space Council:  to have “unity of effort” bringing together “different aspects of national power — national security, commercial diplomatic, scientific” and open opportunities to do more at less cost.  Click on the link in the tweet to read the article.

NASA OIG’s Annual Assessment of NASA’s Top Challenges

NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its annual assessment of NASA’s top management and performance challenges today.

Most federal agencies have Inspectors General (IG).  NASA’s IG is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and can be removed from office only by the President pursuant to the 1978 Inspectors General Act.  IG’s generally are tasked with rooting out waste, fraud and abuse.  President Reagan famously fired several of those (not NASA’s) who had been appointed by the Carter Administration and designated a new set who would be “meaner than a junkyard dog” (almost certainly referring to Jim Croce’s song of the era: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown).

Today’s report is organized into five sections:  Deep Space Exploration, NASA’s Science Portfolio, Information Technology Governance and Security, Aging Infrastructure and Facilities, and Contracting and Grants.  As the report says, “Identification of an issue as a ‘top challenge’ does not necessarily denote significant deficiencies or lack of attention on the part of NASA. Rather, all of these issues are long-standing and inherently difficult challenges central to the Agency’s mission and, as such, will remain challenges for years. Consequently, these issues require consistent, focused attention from NASA management and engagement on the part of Congress and the public.”

Click the first link in the tweet to read the report.

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Clarification:  An earlier version of this article stated that IGs appointed under the Inspector General Act do not report to the head of the agency, but to the White House.  Under the Act, IGs are appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and can only be removed from office by the President.  However, they do report to the head of the agency, although that person may not prevent or prohibit the IG from pursuing any audit or investigation or issuing related subpenas.

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