TO: Officials-in-Charge of Headquarters Offices
Directors, NASA Centers
Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

FROM: A/Administrator

SUBJECT: Freedom to Manage

The President’s Management Agenda very clearly states that a principal
goal of this Administration is to remove barriers to more efficient
management, with the expectations of improved accountability and
performance. This so-called “Freedom to Manage” initiative is central
to the President’s commitment to deliver higher performance throughout

During Monday’s inaugural “NASA Update” television program aired nationwide
on NASA TV, I made reference to the importance of removing barriers and
giving federal managers more flexibility to do their jobs. As I told the
agency’s civil servants and contractors during the program, being creative
and finding new ways to set aside bureaucratic obstacles for managers is the
heart of the President’s Freedom to Manage effort.

In this light, I made a high priority of requesting your suggestions for
removing such barriers. Not surprisingly, you responded with the
thoughtful analysis and insight that characterizes every effort of the
NASA team. Your response indicated a clear determination to improve our
effectiveness and create a culture of action and accomplishment.

So, where are we now? Under Brian Keegan’s leadership, the Freedom to
Manage Task Force sorted through more than 330 suggestions and, with the
support of many of our functional offices, distilled those to a
candidate set of legislative initiatives. After a review with the
Enterprise Council, numerous legislative proposals ultimately emerged,
and we are proceeding now to work those toward enactment. These
proposals cover a broad range of subjects, including financial
management, human resources, procurement, external relations, and real
property. In every case, these proposals tie back to the President’s
Management Agenda. For example, the human resources proposals relate
directly to our efforts to improve the Management of Human Capital.

But we do not intend to stop there. With Brian’s retirement, Courtney
Stadd has agreed to lead the continuing activities of the Task Force,
with Greg Reck as his vice-chair.

Their job will be to ensure that the remaining impediments, those not
encompassed by the current set of legislative proposals, receive the
Agency’s full attention.

There will be an ongoing linkage with the Agency’s Senior Leadership and
the Freedom to Manage team in order to assure that their actions are
expedited. I have stressed to the team that there should be a focus on
action, not process. I am committed to moving, as quickly as possible,
these impediments so you can go about doing your jobs, enabling the
Agency to more effectively deliver on its promises. We owe nothing less
to the American public.

You have my promise to move swiftly and surely. I ask that all of you
do the same in support of this effort. We will keep you informed on a
regular basis of the progress of this effort through a variety of means
including the creation of a website dedicated to this subject.

Signed by Sean O’Keefe

Sean O’Keefe