NASA performance on right track

The NASA IG report

NASA has significantly improved its ability to track the performance of its programs, says an audit by the agency's inspector general.

The report reviewed 23 performance targets relating to six critical areas, including information technology, and auditors found that NASA's measures were adequate on 19 of the targets.

Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), agencies are expected to focus on the results of projects. But many agencies have found it difficult to assess actual performance because they typically do not collect the data needed to make the comparison relevant.

In its report, "Audit of Validation and Verification of Selected NASA Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Data Related to the Government Performance and Results Act," the IG noted that "NASA overcame many of the learning hurdles associated with preparing [its] first report."

The audit further noted that the NASA chief financial officer — in requesting financial data — established a format requiring the agency to assign a GPRA official for each performance target.

"We believe that the prescribed reporting format led to improved narratives for the performance targets," the report stated.

Despite the improvements, however, the audit raised questions about the reliability of some of NASA's performance data. Four of the 23 performance targets proved to be unreliable. Therefore, the IG concluded that "the reported performance for some of the 188 targets not reviewed may also not be fully reliable."

The audit recommends that NASA validate the supporting data and develop clearer, more specific targets.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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