NASA's Asteroid Defense System Deemed a Failure; Leadership & Organizational Structure to Blame

An Inspector General report has determined that poor leadership and a lacking organizational structure contributed to lackluster performance by NASA's Near Earth Object Program.

Here's proof that executive accountability and fluid business operations are vital even when dealing with outer space.


An report released by NASA Inspector General Paul Martin has determined that poor leadership and a lacking organizational structure were major reasons why NASA's Near Earth Object Program has failed to stay on track toward achieving agency goals. Created in 2005, the NEO Program was tasked with identifying asteroids and other objects that could pose a serious risk to the planet. According the report, chronic mismanagement has effectively scuttled chances that the program will achieve its goal of ID'ing 90% of large NEOs by 2020.

From the report:

"NASA has organized its NEO Program under a single Program Executive who manages a loosely structured conglomerate of research activities that are not well integrated and lack overarching Program oversight, objectives, and established milestones to track progress."

As Jason McLellan at Tech Times notes, the investigation determined that budget cuts, often a thorn in NASA's back, were not a major factor here:

"The program's lack of coordination and structure leads Martin to suggest that it would function more efficiently and effectively if NASA were left to manage the program itself."

So what are the lessons to be learned here? First and foremost, it's essential that someone with leadership knowledge and ability should take part in structuring programs such as this. Second, the program's woes teach us that the communication breakdowns we experience in our offices are not exclusive to traditional business sectors. Finally, it's vital that an organization's structure suit its unique needs and goals. No one-size-fits-all approach actually exists.

Keep reading at Tech Times

You can also read the entire NASA Inspector General report

Photo credit: sdecoret / Shutterstock

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Videos
  • Prejudice is typically perpetrated against 'the other', i.e. a group outside our own.
  • But ageism is prejudice against ourselves — at least, the people we will (hopefully!) become.
  • Different generations needs to cooperate now more than ever to solve global problems.


Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less