1. 2012 NASA PM Challenge How the Budget Control Act of 2011Affects NASA Scott J. Cameron February 23, 2012© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved. Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
2. Context: A very challenging period in US fiscal policy • In FY 2012 the federal debt is approximately $17 trillion, roughly $50,000 for every man, woman, and child in America • Federal deficits are projected as far out as anyone can project • Deficit estimate: $1.1 trillion in FY 2012, narrowing to $700 billion in 2014, rising back up to $1.1 trillion in 2021 • In the summer of 2011, the Administration asked Congress for a debt ceiling increase • After much debate, Congress agreed to about a $2 trillion debt ceiling increase, with the requirement for deficit reductions, as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
3. Key elements of the deficit reduction deal • Congress raised the debt ceiling • A bipartisan and bicameral "Supercommittee" was established and instructed to report back in November 2011 with a $1.2 trillion (over ten years) deficit reduction plan • If the Supercommittee plan failed to pass Congress, then an automatic spending cut, also known as a sequester, would take effect in January 2013 • Sequester would reduce spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
4. In the meantime, in NASAs orbit…. • NASA begins to adjust to NASA Authorization Act of 2010, enacted in October of 2010 • Regular FY 2012 appropriations bill for NASA stalls, leading to enactment of several continuing resolutions • Congress finally enacts multi-agency "minibus" FY 12 appropriations act for NASA and other agencies in November 2011 • NASA experiences FY 2012 budget cuts of about $600 million below the FY 2011 enacted, or $900 million below the Presidents FY 2012 request© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
5. In the meantime, in NASAs orbit…. • President’s FY 13 budget request for NASA is $17.7 billion, nearly $1 billion below the FY 12 Presidents budget and $59M below the FY 12 enacted • Modest increases are requested for the James Webb Space Telescope and manned exploration • Planetary science is hit hard to protect Webb and SLS -$309 million overall -$226 million to Mars mission, a 40% reduction European Space Agency collaboration at risk • Projected level funding through 2017© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
6. Failure of the Supercommittee • The Supercommittee gave up on producing a deficit reduction package – Not enough republicans would agree to revenue increases – Not enough democrats would agree to deep budget cuts • President Obama pledged to veto any attempt to get the government out from underneath the sequester • Failure lays the ground work for a January 2013 automatic sequester, one quarter of the way through FY 2013© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
7. What might the FY 13 sequester mean for NASA? • How much money is at stake for NASA? • Government-wide 10-year $1.2 trillion total spending cuts allocated according to a complicated formula – $216 billion in interest cost savings projected over 10 years – $109.3 billion in total annual spending cuts • $54.7 billion in non-defense program cuts in FY 2013 – $38.6 billion in non-defense discretionary program cuts in 2013© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
8. What might the FY 13 sequester mean for NASA? • The $38.6 billion in FY 2013 non-defense discretionary cuts would generally be realized through across the board proportional spending cuts at all agencies • $38.6 billion represents a 7.4% across the board budget cut in non-defense discretionary program funding • Congress exempted, in whole or in part, some non-defense discretionary programs from the sequester, so for FY 2013, the non–exempt programs like NASA would experience budget cuts closer to 9.3% • NASAs FY 2012 budget is $17.8 billion. If the FY 2013 enacted level is also $17.8 billion, then NASA would face a $1.6 billion sequester© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
9. What might be the long-term implications for NASA? • In FY 2014 through FY 2021, the annual non-defense discretionary spending caps do rise, slowly • These annual caps are the baseline against which the outyear spending cuts are applied • In FY 2014 through FY 2021, the non-defense mandatory program spending cuts are presumed to grow, so the discretionary program share goes down, to $33 billion in FY 2021 • $33 billion implies a 5.5% across the board budget cut in non-defense discretionary program funding, or closer to 6.9% for non-exempt programs© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
10. Outyear prospects for NASA • Beginning in FY 2014, it does not necessarily follow that all agencies will be subject to the same across the board budget cuts • Appropriations Committees will need to get under the funding caps specified in the Budget Control Act of 2011, but they can spread the pain as they see fit • NASA would be wise to position itself over the next 18 months so as to put itself in the best possible position with its House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
11. Current state of NASA relationship with its Appropriators, in their own words • From the FY 2012 Conference Committee report – "In order to promote strong fiscal oversight, the Committees on Appropriations have been pursuing with NASA a number of crosscutting issues, including cost estimation and control, financial management, acquisition reform, and grants management. The conferees direct NASA to stay engaged in these ongoing efforts and to comply with all related reporting requirements and directives on these topics that were contained in the House and Senate reports." – "… the conferees expect that NASA will refrain from proposing additional (budget) account changes unless directed to do so by the Committees."© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
12. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 Conference Committee report – "… keeping JWST on schedule … will require NASA to identify another $1,052,000,000 over previous JWST estimates…. As a result, outyear work throughout the agency may need to be reconsidered." – "Within the larger MPCV program, components should be procured via fixed price contracts wherever possible in order to improve cost control…" – "NASA is directed to ensure that all work done on the (SLS) early configurations of the evolvable vehicle is in the service of the eventual BEO capability….. SLS contracts should be procured via fixed price contracts in order to improve cost control…" – "NASA is directed to provide quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations showing anticipated and actual SLS obligations and outlays…"© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
13. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 Conference Committee report – "… the human exploration programs should be managed under strict cost caps…" – "Accordingly, the conference committee recommendation includes $1,000,000, to be provided by transfer to the OIG, to commission a comprehensive independent assessment of NASAs strategic direction and agency management."© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
14. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 House Appropriations Committee report – "… including funding above the request for the recently-authorized space exploration crew vehicle and launch system." – "… NASA needs to develop and pursue new and different ways of operating that will promote efficiency and economy; annual budget increases can no longer be counted on as the means for achieving mission goals." – "The adoption of a joint cost and schedule confidence level (JCL) approach and a requirement for budgets to be formulated at a 70 percent JCL are positive steps for improving cost estimates, but the integrity of these policies is undermined by NASAs willingness to make exceptions and allow projects to move forward at lower confidence levels."© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
15. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 House Appropriations Committee report – "Without improvements in project management, NASA will be unable to hold to even its most rigorous cost estimates." – "NASAs reports generally contain only a cursory explanation for why cost and/or schedule parameters have been breached and are not responsive to the requirements to address the impact of these overruns on other NASA programs or to consider a broad range of alternatives to the program." – "NASA needs to revise its reports to be less focused on defending the program in breach and more focused on providing information on causes, impacts, and options that the Committee needs in order to make informed decisions …"© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
16. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 House Appropriations Committee report – "… chronic and deeply rooted management problems in the JWST project. These issues led to the project cost being underestimated by as much as $1,400,000…" – " significant cost-overruns are commonplace at NASA…. The committee provides no funding for JWST in fiscal year 2012." – " … the focus on initially flying a smaller vehicle cannot distract NASA from fulfilling its legal obligation to design the SLS from inception as a 130 metric ton vehicle…"© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
17. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 House Appropriations Committee report – "Exploration destinations. …Specific, aggressive goals are necessary both to focus the program and to provide a common vision around which public and political support can be rallied." – "NASAs acquisition capabilities have not kept pace with its workload."© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
18. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 Senate Appropriations Committee report – "Reductions to NASA at this critical time in the agencys transition from the space shuttle program to new vehicles for human spaceflight will challenge the agency to make every dollar count." – "The United States cannot reinvent its space program every 4 years." – "NASAs acquisition management remains on the Government Accountability Offices "high risk" list….it is imperative that NASA do a better job of managing these large projects."© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
19. Concerns of the Appropriators • From the FY 2012 Senate Appropriations Committee report – "… the IG found that NASA does not have an adequate system of controls to ensure proper administration and management of its grant program. " – "The Committee is disappointed with NASAs lack of commitment to significant enterprise- wide data center consolidation."© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
20. Bottom Line • The Budget Control Act of 2011 will force budget reductions at NASA and elsewhere across the government through 2021 • NASAs budget reductions will be significant • NASA does not have a good management reputation with Congress • NASAs mission is popular with the Congress and the public • NASAs mission popularity cannot be relied upon to protect the agency from even deeper budget cuts if the quality of its management continues to frustrate the Appropriations Committees • Scare funding resources will flow to agencies that can demonstrate they are good stewards of public funding and produce results for the American people; NASA needs to be able to position itself accordingly© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
21. For more information Scott J. Cameron 703 348-7279 Wendy Morton-Huddleston, NASA Account Lead 703 637-2853 firstname.lastname@example.org© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.
22. Questions© Grant Thornton. All rights reserved.