NASA orders IT procurement freeze

NASA has imposed a partial IT buying freeze to gain more control over systems acquisitions, according to internal memoranda and agency staff.

A memo from Linda Rosenberg, CIO at Goddard Space Flight Center, said all IT purchases must go through the office of NASA CIO Paul Strassmann for approval, 'with the expectation that mission-critical purchases will be approved.'

Strassmann and comptroller Stephen Isakowitz are re-evaluating the agency's IT investments to 'ensure that they are in alignment with current One NASA goals and priorities,' according to the agency memo.

Purchasing officials must justify the mission-critical roles of specific software and hardware buys with written narratives about the systems for review by Strassmann's offices. The new policy exempts certain items such as emergency replacements for failed components of mission-critical systems, IT consumables such as toner cartridges, and maintenance agreements for existing hardware and software.

A NASA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the freeze likely would last through February. 'It will slow down procurements,' the official said, but probably not reduce expenditures. 'There was a suspicion that procurements were not in line with the planned architecture,' the official said.

NASA spokesman Brian Dunbar said the freeze had been imposed 'to make sure we are spending our money on the most appropriate IT resources and most effectively.'

The agency spends about $1.5 billion annually on systems resources.


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