NASA inspector general critical of IT structure

NASA inspector general critical of IT structure

NASA faces potentially serious agencywide problems with IT architecture, investments, management infrastructure and services, according to a new report from the agency's inspector general.

The report, received March 30, was posted to the NASA Web site April 7.

The source of the problems, it said, is the fragmented organization of NASA's IT and IT security staffs. Each center had "a different organizational structure for management of IT resources and security. Each center developed its IT organization and infrastructure independently, and our survey identified a variety of reporting relationships, internal organizational structures, and organizational responsibilities across the centers," the IG report said.

In its research, the IG's office found that NASA CIO Patricia Dunnington had very little oversight or influence over IT decisions made by CIOs at the agency's 11 centers. For example, as of January 2005, she did not provide any input for performance appraisals of the different centers' CIOs, and her office had "little influence over mission- and center-specific IT investment decisions," the report said. "As a result, IT purchases could be incompatible with other centers or with NASA's enterprise architecture."

The space agency's IT budget request for fiscal 2006 is $1.9 billion.

In the management response to the report, Dunnington agreed with the findings and agreed to take steps to implement two recommendations:

  • Gather benchmarks on the IT and IT security management structures of other federal agencies and private firms for gap analysis, then recommend a new organizational structure and needed authorities in a white paper by Sept. 30

  • Brief the NASA administrator within 60 days of the white paper's completion.

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