On December 1, 2017, NASA contracted with the Academy to conduct an independent, seven-month review to assess the overall effectiveness of the NAC. In the past, Administrators have used the NAC in different ways, reflecting both the different challenges and priorities that face them during their time in office, as well as their personal and professional inclinations. Recognizing this variability, the Panel sought to identify practices likely to contribute to an effective NAC across diverse challenges and Administrator styles. In its assessment of these practices, the Panel took a multi-dimensional view of effectiveness, informed by the different roles played by the NAC and the different interests it serves.
The Panel developed a set of five criteria for assessing practices as they relate to the effectiveness of the NAC in performing its different roles, recognizing that overall effectiveness entails balancing competing criteria. These criteria included strategic focus, independence, deliberative processes, flexibility, and actionable recommendations.
The Panel makes fifteen recommendations intended as good practice guidance for the consideration of future Administrators. Panel recommendations generally affirm current NASA practice, but three suggest new or modified practices. One or more of five criteria inform the panel’s recommendations. Three headings—advisory process, membership, and administrative infrastructure, organize the recommendations.