Lurita Doan, former GSA Administrator, takes to task in her “Leadership Matters With Lurita Doan”, the Obama Administration’s decision to outsource America’s human space flight program by first noting that the Obama Administration last year criticized outsourcing of key national efforts.
Doan raises a good point about the U.S. loosing in-house rocket design. The analogy would be to turn over design of naval vessels, which is overseen by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to private company. If it is important for the United States to retain its own ability to design naval ships, then why not rockets?
Jeers to Charles Bolden, Jr., NASA Administrator, for the recent decision to outsource design and construction of space flight. This decision, under the guise of budget cutting, shows an agency that has lost its focus on its core competencies, and also highlights two problems prevalent in many Obama Administration decisions. First, it was only a year ago, that the Obama Administration, spoke strongly against outsourcing, with President Obama committing to “reduce the number of contracts that outsource government work to private firms”. Yet, the Administration has, by this decision, outsourced a task far more complex than the administrative-assistance-type tasks outsourced during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. Second, the Obama Administration has proven, once again, that they do not understand the cost of contracting, outsourcing and the subsequent cost-over runs that will likely occur as a result of this decision. Outsourcing does not remove the requirement for holding on to in-house talent for design, since outsourcing space flight construction will require NASA to have on hand extensive, in-house talent to monitor the contractors during all aspects of design and production. The Obama Administration, with this move, will have set space travel back another decade, all while increasing the cost to do so.