NASA, or Need Another Sourcing Act: Recommendations and Action Plans

Throughout this series, we’ve covered the comings and goings of the NASA strategic sourcing soap opera in which an agency with roughly $15 billion failed to implement a strategic sourcing and spend visibility program to identify, implement and track potential procurement savings. As we conclude our look at the program failure today, we’ll share the no-nonsense recommendations of NASA’s Inspector General in addressing and overcoming the challenges of the existing program.

Specifically, the Inspector General recommends four initial steps:

  1. Identify and assign specific responsibilities for individuals, groups, or organizations within NASA that manage, administer, and report strategic sourcing efforts.
  2. Include a methodology for how spend analysis is to be developed, analyzed, and used.
  3. Include a methodology to periodically identify agency-wide strategic sourcing opportunities using current financial and procurement management information systems.
  4. Require the periodic extraction and assessment of agency-wide, inter-center, and cross-organizational spending data to ensure that the agency is receiving the best value for products and services.


In addition, “the Assistant Administrator should also perform a comprehensive agency-wide spend analysis of all procurement activities across NASA in order to identify potential strategic sourcing candidates and assess any changes in agency-wide spending patterns. Further, the Assistant Administrator should define and track uniform performance goals and measures for NASA’s strategic sourcing activities agency-wide and make use of the metrics a requirement for assessing the success of the agency’s strategic sourcing program.”

It is almost too easy to say that such recommendations are far from “rocket science” – they are about as basic as they come in terms of making procurement more strategic and accountable. But as we’ve joke about in the title of this series, the real test for NASA from a spending and savings angle will be its next sourcing move. Indeed, NASA could easily stand for “Need Another Sourcing Act.” But what it puts on its sourcing stage next remains to be seen.

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