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NSF & Congress

Hearing Summary: Implementing the Government Performance and Results Act

July 30, 1997

On July 30, 1997, the House Science Committee held a hearing on Implementing the Government Performance and Results Act. Witnesses included Ms. Susan Kladiva, Acting Associate Director, Energy Resources and Science Issues, U.S. General Accounting Office; Mr. Alan Ladwig, Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Ms. Diana Josephson, Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Dr. Joe Bordogna, Acting Deputy Director, National Science Foundation; and Mr. Marc Chupka, Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy.

Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who chaired the full committee hearing, scolded the agencies for their incomplete strategic plans, due to the Office of Management and Budget in two months, at the end of the fiscal year. He highlighted, echoing statements by Susan Kladiva in her opening statement, agencies' failure to address crosscutting functions and interagency coordination in their strategic plans. Most of the Members' questions focused on the agencies' lack of attention to the connections between strategic plans and performance measures. Several members questioned NASA witness about issues ranging from contract management to potential programs to provide transport to Mars. Congressman Brown (D-CA) singled out the National Science Foundation's proposed outcome: the production of a diverse, productive, globally-oriented workforce of scientists and engineers. He pointedly questioned Dr. Bordogna about how the Foundation planned to measure this outcome, and whether the Foundation's current personnel represent a diverse, productive, globally-oriented workforce.

In closing, Congressman Sensenbrenner expressed disappointment that agencies had taken so long to implement the Government Performance and Results Act, and he reiterated the Science Committee's intention to continue putting pressure on the science agencies to improve their implementation plans. Nonetheless, he did acquiesce that the science agencies are further along than the majority of other agencies.

See also: Testimony from Dr. Bordogna.