The NASA Advisory Council (NAC), an independent group of scientists and aerospace experts who provide external guidance to NASA, will be restructured in the coming months to more accurately reflect the Agency’s structure and to improve its ability to deal with issues that cut across the Agency. The restructuring process, resulting from a recent internal review conducted under the direction of the NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, will begin immediately and will be fully realized over the next several months. As Chairman of the NAC, I’m looking forward to putting this new structure in place.
Highlights of the planned restructuring are as follows:
Committee Structure: The Council will have five standing committees to reflect the current NASA organization:
- Technology, Innovation and Engineering
- Human Exploration and Operations
Three current NAC committees will be decommissioned:
- Audit, Finance and Analysis
- Education and Public Outreach
- IT Infrastructure
The function of the Commercial Space Committee will be merged with those of the Human Exploration and Operations Committee, reflecting the success with which commercial space has become part of NASA’s human spaceflight activities.
New At-Large Members: The Council will now include several “at-large” members who will provide NASA with strategic insight and expert advice across the work of the entire Agency. At-large members will be named soon.
Ad Hoc Task Forces: Two new Ad Hoc Task Forces will be formed, each with a focused task and limited duration to address two current high priority issues for NASA:
- Ad Hoc Task Force on STEM Education
Ad Hoc Task Force on Big Data
- Committee Reporting: In addition to Council recommendations that are now only provided to the Administrator, the Council and its standing committees will also be encouraged to send specific recommendations to NASA Mission Directorate Associate Administrators.
The specific details of this restructuring will be documented in a revised Charter for the NASA Advisory Council.
The NASA Advisory Council has long played a key role in providing independent external advice to the Agency. We share this advice throughout the year with Administrator Bolden and NASA senior leadership, and we have found that they take our recommendations very seriously. In FY 2013, we produced a total of 25 formal recommendations and 29 formal findings for NASA’s consideration. NASA sends an Agency formal response to the NAC to ensure the NAC receives appropriate feedback on the final disposition of each recommendation.
I look forward to the benefits that this reorganization will provide to our future support for the Agency.
Chairman, NASA Advisory Council