Long-Term Budget Pressures On NASA Mount

By Mark Carreau
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

November 19, 2012

Traditionally challenged to meet cost/schedule management and performance goals, NASA is in for even tougher fiscal challenges, warns its inspector general, Paul Martin.

NASA will be further tested across five fronts, including human spaceflight, by flat budgets or worse, as the White House and Congress attempt to rein in spending to deal with mounting budget deficits, Martin says in a new report.

The new pressures will be punctuated by the looming budget penalty known as sequestration and the January “fiscal cliff,” which threaten to cut an additional $1.5 billion from an annual NASA budget that has already declined to $17.7 billion from $18.4 billion in 2011.

“Even if this looming cut is averted, NASA is likely to face constrained budgets for the foreseeable future,” notes Martin in the IG’s 2012 Report on NASA’s Top Management and Performance Challenges, released Nov. 15.

Human spaceflight is joined on the IG’s list of top concerns by project, infrastructure and facilities, and acquisition and contract management; and information technology security and governance.

“This year, we noted that declining budgets and fiscal uncertainties have compounded the difficulty of meeting these challenges,” Martin reports. “Perhaps, more than any other factor, these fiscal pressures will present NASA leaders with difficult choices in the year ahead.”

Read more: Long-Term Budget Pressures On NASA Mount — Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

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