NASA makes most of IT in workforce planning

The Government Accountability Office praised NASA's workforce management, saying that newly implemented workforce-planning information systems have helped the agency plan for its missions.

NASA faces tough challenges under President Bush's plan to put humans back on the moon. It is working to develop new space flight systems, such as the Orion Crew Exploration and  Ares launch vehicles, to tackle the mission. The current space shuttle system is set to be retired in 2010.

Around that same time, a large chunk of NASA's aging workforce is expected to retire, leaving gaps in the agency's technical and scientific staff.

To combat any skill deficiencies, NASA implemented a competency management system called System for Administration, Training and Educational Resources that would gauge what skills the agency lacks. NASA is also developing the Human Capital Information Environment, a Web portal that would contain all the agency's workforce tools.

GAO said that because of these changes, NASA and its various centers achieved a solid level of understanding and communication regarding the overall mission.

'NASA's centers have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the attainment of overall agency goals and provide feedback to headquarters on proposed strategic plans and programmatic guidance,' GAO said in an Aug. 9 report to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee's Oversight of Governmental Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia Subcommittee.

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