NASA reveals IT reform progress

Last June, NASA rolled out its information resources management strategic plan, outlining key goals to bring the agency’s IT into the 21st century. A year later, CIO Linda Cureton says that although it’s a long road ahead, clear progress has been made.

“These reforms represent the start of a journey that affects our very culture by changing the way we do business, innovate, and use technology to the benefit of our diverse customers,” Cureton wrote in a recent NASA blog post.

The improvements have centered on bettering investment management practices and the use of cloud and shared services. NASA has been conducting thorough reviews, called TechStat evaluations, of certain programs, including for its integrated collaborative environment in March 2011 and for its enterprise service desk in April 2012.

Among the results: improvements in NASA’s management software for its human exploration and operations mission directorate, as well as the discovery that more focused governance and performance measures are needed for users to buy into the enterprise service desk, Cureton noted.

NASA is also capitalizing on cloud capabilities, using them to engage with the public, target science, technology, engineering and math programs in U.S. schools, enhance natural disaster response and save as much as $1 million per year using Amazon web services, according to the blog.

In keeping with a number of other federal agencies, NASA is also shuttering data centers – 20 so far – and making use of technology that enables the mobile workforce and bring-your-own-device-style approaches, Cureton said, emphasizing cross-government partnership as an important part of the reform process.

“I am committed to ensuring that NASA is an avid consumer of idea sharing and best practices from other agencies,” she wrote. “Only by working together, collaboratively and in an open environment, can we continue to achieve long-lasting federal IT reform.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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