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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration Building a Better NASA Workforce Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration Committee on Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract NASW-01001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10764-8 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10764-4 Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration OTHER REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond (2007) Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System (SSB with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, 2007) A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Astrophysics Program (SSB with the Board on Physics and Astronomy, 2007) An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs (2006) Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007-2016 (2006) Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Venus Missions: Letter Report (2006) Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments for Solar-Terrestrial Research: Report of a Workshop (2006) Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report (SSB with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2006) Review of NASA’s 2006 Draft Science Plan: Letter Report (2006) The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon—Interim Report (2006) Space Radiation Hazards and the Vision for Space Exploration (2006) The Astrophysical Context of Life (SSB with the Board on Life Sciences, 2005) Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation (2005) Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions (2005) Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars (2005) Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences (2005) Priorities in Space Science Enabled by Nuclear Power and Propulsion (SSB with ASEB, 2005) Review of Goals and Plans for NASA’s Space and Earth Sciences (2005) Review of NASA Plans for the International Space Station (2005) Science in NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration (2005) Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope: Final Report (SSB with ASEB, 2004) Exploration of the Outer Heliosphere and the Local Interstellar Medium: A Workshop Report (2004) Issues and Opportunities Regarding the U.S. Space Program: A Summary Report of a Workshop on National Space Policy (SSB with ASEB, 2004) Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos (2004) Review of Science Requirements for the Terrestrial Planet Finder: Letter Report (2004) Understanding the Sun and Solar System Plasmas: Future Directions in Solar and Space Physics (2004) Utilization of Operational Environmental Satellite Data: Ensuring Readiness for 2010 and Beyond (SSB with ASEB and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate [BASC], 2004) Limited copies of these reports are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release, which in some cases precedes the year of publication.
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration COMMITTEE ON MEETING THE WORKFORCE NEEDS FOR THE NATIONAL VISION FOR SPACE EXPLORATION DAVID C. BLACK, Universities Space Research Association, Co-chair DANIEL E. HASTINGS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Co-chair BURT S. BARNOW, Johns Hopkins University JOHN W. DOUGLASS, Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc. RAY M. HAYNES, Northrop Grumman Space Technology MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California, Los Angeles WILLIAM POMERANTZ, X PRIZE Foundation JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG, Universal Space Network KATHRYN C. THORNTON, University of Virginia Staff DWAYNE A. DAY, Study Director JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Senior Staff Officer CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Assistant Editor CELESTE NAYLOR, Senior Program Assistant VICTORIA SWISHER, Research Associate EMILY McNEIL, 2006 Winter Space Policy Intern MATTHEW BROUGHTON, 2005 Summer Space Policy Intern
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration SPACE STUDIES BOARD LENNARD A. FISK, University of Michigan, Chair A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Vice Chair SPIRO K. ANTIOCHOS, Naval Research Laboratory DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering CHARLES L. BENNETT, Johns Hopkins University JUDITH A. CURRY, Georgia Institute of Technology JACK D. FARMER, Arizona State University JACK D. FELLOWS, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research JACQUELINE N. HEWITT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology TAMARA E. JERNIGAN, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory KLAUS KEIL, University of Hawaii BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire KENNETH H. NEALSON, University of Southern California NORMAN P. NEUREITER, American Association for the Advancement of Science SUZANNE OPARIL, University of Alabama, Birmingham JAMES PAWELCZYK, Pennsylvania State University RONALD F. PROBSTEIN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology HARVEY D. TANANBAUM, Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory RICHARD H. TRULY, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (retired) JOSEPH F. VEVERKA, Cornell University WARREN M. WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research GARY P. ZANK, University of California, Riverside MARCIA S. SMITH, Director
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics (retired), Chair CHARLES F. BOLDEN, JR., Independent Consultant, Houston, Texas ANTHONY J. BRODERICK, Aviation Safety Consultant, Catlett, Virginia INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland ROBERT L. CRIPPEN, Thiokol Propulsion (retired) JOHN HANSMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PRESTON HENNE, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation JOHN M. KLINEBERG, Space Systems/Loral (retired) ILAN M. KROO, Stanford University IVETT LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory MOLLY K. MACAULEY, Resources for the Future AMY R. PRITCHETT, Georgia Institute of Technology DEBRA L. RUB-ZENKO, The Boeing Company RAY VALEIKA, Delta Airlines, Inc. (retired) ROBERT S. WALKER, Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates MARCIA S. SMITH, Director
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration Preface In January 2004 President George W. Bush announced a new civilian space policy that soon became known as the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE).1 The VSE has several cornerstones, including retiring the Space Shuttle by 2010, completing the International Space Station, and establishing a broad goal for human exploration of the Moon and Mars. The first steps in the new human exploration phase involve developing a spacecraft for transporting humans into space, developing a lunar lander spacecraft, and building new launch vehicles for both spacecraft. This new space policy poses many challenges for NASA, among them the agency’s ability to manage and conduct its programs so as to achieve its major goals within a constrained budget environment. A significant question is whether the agency has a workforce with an effective mix of skills and personnel, or adequate mechanisms for acquiring them. On September 30, 2005, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation, Scott Pace, sent a letter to Lennard Fisk, chair of the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Space Studies Board (SSB), requesting that the SSB and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) help assess the current and future supply of highly skilled U.S. aerospace professionals and identify realistic, actionable solutions to meeting any identified needs (see Appendix A). Formed under the auspices of the SSB and ASEB in late 2005, the NRC Committee on Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration was asked to study the long-range science and technology workforce needs of NASA and the larger aerospace science and engineering community to achieve the Vision for Space Exploration; identify obstacles to filling those needs; and recommend specific actions for consideration by government, academia, and industry (see Appendix B for the full statement of task). The committee comprised members from the traditional U.S. science and technology triangle of government, academia, and industry as well as members from the emerging entrepreneurial (the so-called “alt-space” or “new space”) community and from outside the space community (see Appendix D). On January 23-25, 2006, the committee held a workshop to identify the important factors affecting NASA’s future workforce and its capacity to implement the VSE. The specific goal of the workshop was to engage representatives of government, academia, and industry in discussing the issues to be explored by the committee in preparing its final report and to identify the available data on NASA’s workforce. The committee met again on February 22-23, 2006, to gather additional information regarding NASA’s analysis of current and future workforce 1 The Vision for Space Exploration initiative was announced by President George W. Bush on January 14, 2004, and is outlined in The Vision for Space Exploration, NP-2004-01-334-HQ, NASA, Washington, D.C., 2004.
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration competencies and to hear from representatives from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the aerospace industry. A third committee meeting, on May 8-9, 2006, provided an opportunity for the committee to have further discussions with NASA officials and to interact with representatives from university science and engineering departments and from the American Society for Engineering Education. A fourth meeting was held on September 27-29 to enable the committee to deliberate and write its final report. In late April 2006 the committee released an interim report, Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report, which presented the committee’s summary of highlights of the January 2006 workshop and provided initial, but incomplete, findings with respect to some aspects of the study charge.2 This final report incorporates the findings and recommendations from the interim report, and it presents the committee’s final conclusions on all aspects of the study. Tasks 1 and 2 (see Appendix B), which address the demographics of the workforce, are discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 examines NASA’s and the committee’s analyses of skills that will be needed in the future in NASA and in industry (tasks 3 and 5), and Chapter 5 addresses the roles of and needs in academia (task 4). Chapter 4 responds to Task 6 regarding workforce gaps and obstacles, and it discusses specific actions needed to address a particularly pressing need in NASA and industry for highly skilled systems engineers and program/project managers. Relevant recommendations for actions by the government, industry, and academia accompany the discussions in each of the four main chapters. 2 National Research Council, Issues Affecting the Future of the U.S. Space Science and Engineering Workforce: Interim Report, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006. NASA responded to this interim report in a meeting, and written materials and comments presented to the committee were incorporated into this final report.
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration Acknowledgments The committee thanks Kathleen Hyland of Johns Hopkins University, who helped prepare the assessment of prior Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections discussed in Chapter 2, and the Aerospace Industries Association’s Space Council, which helped provide the industry perspectives that are also discussed in Chapter 2. The committee also thanks the numerous NASA staff members who provided considerable information about NASA’s workforce assessments, plans, and programs. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: A. Dwight Abbott, Aerospace Corporation (retired), Aaron Cohen, Texas A&M University (professor emeritus), Ron Hira, Rochester Institute of Technology, Martin H. Israel, Washington University, St. Louis, T.K. Mattingly, U.S. Navy (retired), Michael Meyer, Georgia Institute of Technology, Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., U.S. Air Force (retired), Jeffrey D. Rosendhal, NASA (retired), and Paula Stephan, Georgia State University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lester A. Hoel, University of Virginia. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 9 Workforce Issues for the Federal Government, 11 The Scope of NASA’s New Activities, 12 Approach Taken in This Study, 14 2 OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WORKFORCE SUPPLY AND DEMAND 15 NASA’s Current Workforce Demographics, 15 Labor Market Projections, 18 Trends in University Enrollment and Degrees Awarded, 20 Workforce Diversity, 22 Conclusions, 23 3 SKILLS ASSESSMENT AND WORKFORCE STRATEGY 24 NASA’S SEITT Report, 24 NASA’s Workforce Strategy, 25 NASA Make-or-Buy Decisions, 27 NASA’s In-House Science Staff, 27 Committee Assessment of Workforce Needs, 28 The Aerospace Workforce Ecosystem, 30 4 THE VITAL ROLE OF PROGRAM/PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING AT NASA 33 NASA Program Management and Systems Engineering, 33 Industry Perspective, 35 NASA Recruiting Challenges, 36 NASA’s In-House Project Management and Systems Engineering Training Program, 37 Improving the Supply of Highly Skilled Personnel: The Role of the Explorer Program, Balloons, Aircraft, and Sounding Rockets, 38
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Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration 5 ROLES OF ACADEMIA AND OF NONTRADITIONAL APPROACHES 44 Education of Potential Employees, 45 Innovative Approaches to Training Potential Workers, 47 A Partner in Science and Engineering Research, 50 Academia as a Source of Expert Advice for the Federal Government and Industry, 51 APPENDIXES A NASA Letter of Request 57 B Statement of Task 59 C NASA List of Competencies and Current Agency Workforce 60 D Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 63