Over the last year, security incidents involving foreign nationals at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) research Centers have drawn the attention of the NASA Administrator and other agency leaders, Congress, and the media. Recognizing the growing threat of cyber-attacks and espionage aimed at government agencies by hostile nation-states and foreign adversaries, NASA asked the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) to conduct this review of its foreign national management processes.
Having a well-run Foreign National Access Management (FNAM) program is in the best interests of NASA, both in terms of protecting vital U.S. security and proprietary information, as well as capitalizing on the talents of foreign nationals. This Academy review examined the Agency’s entire FNAM process from the initial request from a requestor or sponsor through foreign national vetting, credentialing, information technology security, counterintelligence, hosting and escort procedures, and export controls.
To build on NASA’s goals, the Academy formed a five-member Panel of Fellows chaired by Dick Thornburg to conduct this seven-month independent review. The Panel believes there are a number of important steps the Agency can take to improve FNAM and has proposed twenty-seven recommendations.
The most significant areas of improvement are: