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Posts from the ‘Government’ Category


The Eye of The Storm

NASA enjoys the stablest budget in the Federal government.  Why then its continual state of disarray?

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Interns: On Your Mark, Get Set …

Want to attract the attention of the best summer interns?   Target your communications campaign to be ready on the first of the year.   It shouldn’t be a surprise that interest in internships follows an annual cycle with a peak in the late winter and spring … but what it is surprising is how sharply peaked this interest is. Read more »


The Declining High Tech Balance of Trade

As the global economy evolves, the U.S. continues to become a net importer, rather than exporter, of advanced technologies.  Which sectors are “winners”, and which are lagging?  And is there coherence between our performance in international trade, and our national R&D investments? Read more »


Ask And You Shan’t Receive

Stumbling across this cool infographic from the New York Times, I was inspired to apply some of the same design principles to historical NASA budget data I’ve been keeping.

Long term budget planning is an interesting Federal dynamic.  The battle between administration priorities and legislative branch priorities is starkly evident when executive branch hopes and dreams (or sometimes, nightmares) in five year budget plans are compared with the actual funds appropriated by Congress each year. Read more »


Some Numbers In Our Defense

Since changing careers from science in 2005, I have had the privilege of shadowing a series of NASA executives whose “drive” has been the continual improvement and maturation of NASA’s management and working culture.   Motivated by the findings of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, and by the imperative of “rallying to the cause” to support Beyond Earth Orbit exploration, NASA’s field Center management has made culture change a quiet but determined mission. Read more »


Federal Budget Sand Chart 2011

With Monday’s release of the FY12 President’s budget request, I decided to update the interactive sand charts of Federal budget outlays previously posted to IBM’s ManyEyes site.   This time I’ve included not only spending from 1962-present in inflation adjusted 2010 dollars, but also the slightly more meaningful charts of spending as a percent of Gross Domestic Product. Read more


Like clockwork: Downturns in U.S. defense spending

One of the features of long term trends in federal spending which has always amazed me is the ~20-year “defense cyclical”.    Peak to peak, the national discretionary defense investment changes by nearly $200B in inflation-adjusted dollars (ten times the NASA budget, for comparison).  This isn’t all wartime mobilization; a significant part of the “signal” is major, planned recapitalization (investment) initiatives.   These initiatives often stimulate R&D throughout the aerospace sector, still a primary source of net exports in the U.S. economy. Read more »


NASA gets lots of “help”

Many stakeholder communities have strongly vested interests in the research & development dollars the U.S. government spends through NASA.   Over the years, various mechanisms have been used to gather inputs, advice, and recommendations on direction from these stakeholders.

A longstanding source of expert advice is the National Academies Space Studies Board.   Since NASA’s founding, the Academies have provided over 25,000 pages of advice Read more »