Sunday, November 26, 2006

Plus ca change (NASA Budget Edition)....

NASA Watch points to this "guidance" from NASA's Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs

You may get questions from your local communities about the impacts of the new Congress that will convene in January. Below are a few suggested points you can use if asked:
Followed by a rather complete list of budget issues, the last of which may be of interest to the George Deutsch/Jim Hansen fans out there. After all who will be left to rewrite Hansen's speeches if these cuts are made?

Office of Strategic Communications
NASA Request: $27.8M
SAC Mark: $20M (-$7.8M)

The Senate Report limits funding for NASA's Office of Strategic Communications to $20M, stating that this represents adequate resources to execute the functions of the Office of Strategic Communications. It also notes that "over time, this office has grown to a total staffing level of 131 FTEs."

The Office of Strategic Communications includes the Offices of Public Affairs, External Relations, Legislative Affairs, Education and Communications Planning, all of which respond to statutory direction in the Space Act. Total staffing level is on a downward path to reach 150 FTEs by the end of FY 2007,, down significantly from 198 FTEs in FY 2005. The Senate reduction of 25 percent would severely impede the Agency's ability to communicate NASA's message externally, would reduce public outreach, and would eliminate funding for all planned procurements and travel. These expenditures include the operation of NASA TV, foreign language interpreters, export control compliance programs, management of foreign visits, visa processing, health insurance for NASA personnel deployed to the former Soviet Union in conjunction with U.S. international cooperation (standard U.S. health insurance programs are insufficient for use in the FSU), and funding for audio visual equipment, much of which is necessary to support continued updates of the NASA web pages, which has been largely outsourced.

The Office of Strategic Communications performs critical functions for the Agency and Congress, consistent with mandates embodied in the Space Act. The Office has not grown over time, and, in fact, has been reduced. NASA seeks full funding for the Office of Strategic Communications at the President's request level of $27.8M

C'est la meme chose

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