How NASA Works

NASA Administrator's Office
NASA Administrator Dr. Michael Griffin
Image courtesy Renee Bouchard/NASA
Dr. Michael Griffin is NASA's Eleventh administrator

The Administrator's Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. oversees all aspects of NASA operations (Mission directorates, NASA Centers and Mission Support Offices). It includes the administrator, deputy administrator, associate deputy administrator, associate administrator, assistant associate administrator, chief of staff and deputy chief of staff/White House liaison. The administrator's office has a support staff:

  • Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Officer - oversees all activities to ensure safety and success and conducts risk assessment and management
  • Program Analysis and Evaluation - makes strategic decisions based on objective multi-disciplinary analysis
  • Chief Engineer - assures that missions are conducted with sound engineering principles, proper controls and management
  • Program and Institutional Integration - coordinates activities of various NASA programs
  • Inspector General - audits NASA activities, promotes efficiency within NASA, prevents and detects possible criminal activity and keeps NASA Administrator and Congress informed of problems

The Administrator's Office also receives independent advice and assessment from several NASA Advisory Groups. These groups are standing committees:

  • Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel - members from academia and private industry advise NASA on safety and hazards within NASA's aerospace program. This panel was formed by Congress to investigate the Apollo 1 fire in 1967.
  • NASA Advisory Council - members advise NASA on topics related to mission directorates and audit/finance
  • National Academy of Sciences - provides technical advice, survey information and scientific assessments
  • National Academy of Public Administration - provides advice on improving efficiency and accountability
In the next section, we'll look at NASA's Research Centers.

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