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National Aeronautics and Space Administration


November 6, 1992


      A team was established by NASA Headquarters in July 1992, to
conduct a special management review of security, personnel and
procurement matters which had been surfaced by the NASA Ames Research
Center.  The review was carried out during the period July 31-August
12, 1992.  Primary focus of the review was on two divisions of the
Aerophysics Directorate.  Because the review was unexpected by the
Ames workforce, the approach was unprecedented in NASA, and employees
of Asian ancestry were affected disproportionately, there was a
significant adverse reaction to the review among some of the Ames
workforce.  As a result, the NASA Administrator initiated several
actions to address employee concerns and to identify lessons learned.
One action was to appoint this panel to assess the approach and
process used by the management review team.  This assessment panel
concluded that the scope and objective of the management review were
legal, and that individuals were not selected for interview and
search of their workplaces based upon their race or national origin.
The panel further concluded that there was a confluence of factors
prior to, during and after the management review, some of which were
avoidable and some not, which caused negative reactions within the
workforce.  The panel recommends that the same approach not be used
in future management reviews.  Specific actions are recommended to
start the healing process and to move forward.


      A.   APPOINTMENT:  The Ames Management Review (MR) assessment
panel was appointed by the NASA Headquarters Chief of Staff on August
26, 1992.

      B.   CHARTER:  "The assessment panel is established to make
inquiry concerning the process and approach followed by the
Management Review Team (MRT) in its activities at Ames Research
Center.  In making this inquiry, the panel is directed to examine all
issues which the panel believes are necessary to address the concerns
expressed by Ames employees or which the panel believes could have
unnecessarily increased the levels of employee discomfort or
organizational disruption flowing from the review.  The panel should
not attempt to address, substantiate or validate the substance of any
conclusions reached or recommendations made by the MRT.  At the
conclusion of its efforts, the panel should make conclusions and
recommendations concerning actions necessary to alleviate employee
concern about the process followed and suggest methods to minimize
similar difficulties should similar reviews by required on some other
occasions or at some other installation."

      C.   MEMBERSHIP:

      Elmer T. Brooks, Chairman, Deputy Associate Administrator,
      Management Systems and Facilities/NASA Headquarters

      James C. Yu, Assistant Chief, Acoustics Division/LARC

      Jack G. Hurst, Senior Security Specialist, Security Operations

      Catherine M. Louden, Director, Resource Management, Office of
      Information Policy and Systems/DHUD

      David A. Samuels, Legal Advisor, Attorney-Advisor/JSC


During July 27-30, 1992, immediately prior to the commencement of the
Management Review (MR), the NASA Cultural Climate and Practices
Review Team (CCPRT) had visited Ames and conducted a formal review.
The CCPRT met with and was briefed by the Ames Asian-American/Pacific
-Islander Advisory Group (AAAPIAG) and interviewed several Asian-
American employees.

A high level of frustration and discontent was evident at the time
among that segment of the workforce.  In general, they cited a lack
of adequate career development, mentoring and progression.
Specifically, they pointed to their persistent underrepresentation
in managerial and supervisory positions (6%), GS/GM-15 grade level
(7%), and SES rank (3%), in view of their representation in the total
Ames workforce of 12%.  From the Asian-American employees'
perspective, Ames management has not been very responsive or
consistent in redressing these shortcomings over the past 20 years,
and they see a need for a change of attitudes.

Thus, there was a predisposition of heightened sensitivity among the
Asian-American workforce at the time the MR commenced on July 31,
1992, which probably exacerbated their negative reaction to the MR.


The MR was planned to be unannounced, multi-functional (security,
human resources, procurement), focused on two divisions and six
buildings, intensive (large contingent, short duration), and
intrusive (search of workplaces and computer accounts).  It was
divided into two phases:

      A.   PHASE I:  Conducted over the weekend of July 31-August 2,
1992, consisting of:

           1.   Initiation of the review of management, procurement,
human resources, security and legal activities.

           2.   Security audit of six selected buildings.

      B.   PHASE II:  Conducted August 3-12, 1992, consisting of:

           1.   Discussions with key Ames managers.

           2.   Individual evaluations, interviews and data gathering
in the management, procurement, human resources, security and legal

           3.   Interviews to address specific issues discovered
during Phase I security audit and other interviews, where


      A.   Received briefing from and interviewed the Management
Review Team (MRT) and MRT augmentees, regarding basis for the MR, MRT
action plan, and MRT approach and process; reviewed the draft
recommendations, September 2-4, 1992.

      B.   Interviewed pertinent NASA Headquarters officials,
September 2-3, 1992.

      C.   Briefed and responded to questions from workforce
(appropriately [1] 250) of Ames Fluid Dynamics Division and
Thermosciences Division, Aerophysics Directorate, and Ames Asian-
American/Pacific Islander Advisory Group (AAAPIAG) members,
September 8, 1992.

      D.   Interviewed 22 pertinent Ames managers/employees (9 from
the 2 affected divisions; 13 from other organizational elements) and
4 members of MR security audit team (3 Ames security employees, and 1
contractor), September 9-11, 1992.

      E.   Interviewed 10 pertinent officers/employees of Ames
support service contractors, cooperative agreement firms, joint
research interchange agreements, and university grants, September 9-
11, 1992.

      F.   Interviewed 10 representatives of AAAPIAG, September 10,


      A.   MRT's Planning and Approach


           1.   The MRT had two objectives: a security audit and a
review of management policies and practices.

           2.   The MRT action plan contained thorough legal advise
and guidance, especially with regard to the search of office spaces.
It provided little guidance, however, with regard to conducting the
interviews of the individuals who were locked out.  Potential impact
of the review on the Ames workforce was not anticipated by the MRT;
no strategy was developed in the action plan to deal with it.

           3.   The Ames Center Director, the Associate Administrator
(AA) for Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST, NASA Headquarters),
and the NASA Security Office (JIS/NASA Headquarters) were not asked
to participate in the planning of the MR.  The AA/OAST and the Ames
Center Director were made aware of the MR action plan and its general
provisions prior to the commencement of the MR.  However, there is a
discrepancy between the accounts the panel received of the Ames
Center Director's depth of knowledge of the specifics of the action
plan and his ability and opportunity to effect changes thereto.

           4.   After completion of their action plan but prior to
the start of the MR, the MRT found it necessary to augment the team
with local experts for computer searches.

           5.   The MR coincided with the international Center for
Turbulence Research (CTR) workshop being held at Ames.  The MRT was
not made aware of this conflict.  The workshop participants had
planned to do their final computations during Phase I of the MR (July
31-August 2) but were prevented from doing so until access to the
Ames computers was restored after Phase I of the MR by special


           1.   Based upon the information made available to the
panel and a balancing of Ames employees' legitimate expectations of
privacy in the workplace with NASA's obligation as a federal agency
to control and efficiently operate its organization, the panel
concluded that the MRT's search of government offices, files, desks,
safes, and computers in order to review security, procurement, and
personnel matters was warranted and legal.

           2.   The combination of the two MRT objectives (a security
audit and a review of management practices) contributed to the
increased visibility, scale and intensity of the review.  Alternative
approaches (e.g., conducting separate reviews of security matters and
management practices; discreet searches of workplaces and of
networked computers conducted unobtrusively from remote locations;
isolation of computer file servers) existed which _may_ [2] have
accomplished the same objectives as the MR, but which the panel
believes would have been less obtrusive and disruptive to the Ames

           3.   Although there was no preconceived targeting by the
MRT, the issues and areas focused upon by the MRT resulted in the
appearance of targeting certain ethnic groups and could have been

           4.   The MRT lacked adequate preparation in the following
areas: (A) interview skills of some members (e.g., sensitivity to
interviewees and understanding of their ethnic culture); (B) the
clarification/dissemination of MRT authority, purpose, and
membership; and (C) duration of the security audit (Phase I) which
extended into the following workweek.  With regard to the latter, the
lack of sufficient expertise and experience to conduct a security
review of the computer systems at Ames in the amount of time planned
contributed to the increase in the duration of the MR and the need to
lock personnel out of their offices and place them on administrative

           5.   The fact that the MR took place at the time of the
ongoing international Center for Turbulence Research workshop and
that a workshop panel leader was among those placed on administrative
leave created an embarrassing situation for Ames in general and the
Asian community in particular.  This contributed to the level of
resentment and anger among some Ames employees.



           1.   A total of 35 people participated in conducting the
MR (civil service and contractor employees from Ames, other centers,
NASA Headquarters, and outside organizations).

           2.   The note signed on or about July 31, 1992 (but
undated), by the Center Director notifying Ames personnel of the MR
was perceived by recipients as containing insufficient details.  The
first formal memo by the Center Director to all employees about the
MR was issued 10 days after (August 10, 1992) the start of the MR.
The tone of that memo was apologetic and gave the impression that the
Center Director was not a part of the MR decision.  Prior to that
time, the MRT had on several occasions urged the Center Director to
take a more active role in communicating with the workforce (after
August 3, 1992, start of Phase II of the MRT).

           3.   The MR inquiry hotline telephone, set up primarily to
answer questions anonymously regarding the MR, allegedly pressed some
callers for their names and affiliations, was often busy, and mostly
provided only the information previously given in the Ames Center
Director's undated note.

           4.   Searches of workplaces were made by MRT.  During
some of these searches, items were confiscated with no notice or
receipts provided to owners or custodians, despite guidance to the
contrary in the MRT action plan.  Four individuals alleged that items
identifiable as personal property were confiscated.  The MRT
disputes that allegation.

           5.   During the search, the MRT directed the Ames
contractor personnel supporting the Central Computing Facility (CCF)
to perform tasks that were in violation of Ames automated information
security (AIS) procedures, policies and practices.  The process used
to audit the CCF was perceived by the CCF operations and AIS
personnel to have introduced a security risk.  The Ames AIS manager
was never consulted by the MRT.  After the search, one distributed
computing system and several personal computers were reconnected
improperly by MRT causing some disruption of work.

           6.   After the search, nine people (five civil servants
and four grantees/contractors) were denied access to their workplaces
and computer accounts and the civil servants among them were placed
on administrative leave.  Six (four civil servants and two
grantees/contractors) of the nine who were locked out were Asian-
Americans (two of whom are of Indian ancestry).  Without full
explanation of why they were being placed on administrative leave,
people were told to go home and wait for phone calls (at least three
perceived this as equivalent to being placed under "house arrest").
Five waited for 2 to 3 days before receiving calls with further

           7.   Those individuals who were denied access to their
workplaces were subsequently called in for interviews by the MRT.
Some interviewers were perceived by those interviewed as being
unclear as to the purpose of the interviews.  In four instances,
there were three to five interviewers per interviewee.  Interviewers
often lacked specific identification and/or failed to clearly
identify themselves to interviewees.  Although some interviewees
perceived their interviews as being cordial, others described their
interviewers as rude, intimidating and accusatory.  Some interviews
were lengthy (e.g., up to 11 hours within 2 days in 1 case).  Total
time each interviewee was interviewed was as follows:  11 hours; 8.5
hours; 5 hours; 2 hours; 2 hours; 2 hours; 1 hour; 40 minutes and 30
minutes.  In at least 4 instances, multiple interviews (e.g., as many
as 5) were conducted of the same employees.

           8.   Written statements were prepared to summarize five
interviews and an audio tape of a sixth interview was made.
Interviewees were asked to sign documents labeled as "sworn
affidavits" attached to the statements although no one was asked to
repeat an oath.  According to the interviewees, in all but one
instance, they were not informed by the interviewers prior to the
interview that a signed statement would be required.  Signing the
"sworn affidavits" was perceived by interviewees as a condition for
being allowed to return to work.  The MRT acknowledged that such a
condition might have been conveyed in one instance.

           9.   Many of the Ames employees reported negative feelings
toward the particular approach used in the MR, which they perceived
as including duress, interrogation, distrust, heavy-handedness and
infringement of personnel rights.


           1.   For the most part, the MRT had a workable action
plan; however, it was not followed in all cases.

           2.   The lack of timely communication to the Ames
workforce regarding the MR and the way the hotline telephone was
handled contributed to the confusion and apprehension of Ames
workforce during and after the MR.

           3.   The approach used (i.e., denial of access and
searches of workplaces and computer accounts, the placement of
personnel on administrative leave and subsequent interviews, and the
requirement that interviewees provide "sworn affidavits"), was
inconsistent with the process typically associated with a management
review.  The negative perceptions of the Ames workforce resulting
from the MR were widespread and strongly felt.  These factors, when
coupled with the overall secrecy dictated by security and privacy
requirements, were demoralizing to the Ames workforce.

           4.   The nature of the MR and the placement of persons on
administrative leave created a perception that those affected had
committed some unspecified wrongdoing.

      C.   IMPACT OF MR


           1.   There is a high level of employee discomfort among a
significant portion of the workforce at Ames as a direct result of
the MR.  This was conveyed to the panel as shock, anger (described by
some as "outrage") and resentment which resulted from the alleged
treatment of some employees and the message they feel was conveyed by
such treatment.

           2.   The Asian-American segment of the Ames workforce
felt strongly that they were the target group of the MRT's actions.
They cited the disproportionate number of ethnic Asians (six out of
nine) who were locked out of their workplaces and the nature of the
questions asked during the interviews which they felt stressed Asian
connections.  They further pointed to recollection of the
maltreatment of Asian-Americans during World War II.  Some of the
workforce and managers were concerned that the perceived bias against
Asians may be manifested in curtailed hiring and career limitations
for the Asian-American group.  Some also expressed concern that
"scapegoats" will be charged with minor infractions in the absence of
serious misconduct in order to justify the review.

           3.   The Ames workforce felt that total quality management
(TQM) aspects specifically relevant to empowerment of people (e.g.,
"respect for the individual") have suffered a setback as a result of
the MR.

           4.   Although members of the MRT and Ames line management
held meetings in an attempt to mitigate the workforce's negative
reaction during Phase II (August 3-12, 1992) of the MR, 3 key
managers were absent from Ames for portions of that 10-day period:
one was at NASA Headquarters to attend a meeting (2 days) and in New
Mexico for a conference (2 days); another was at NASA Headquarters to
participate in a Blue Team activity (4 days); and the third was on
annual leave (4 days).

           5.   The line managers at Ames were disturbed at being
largely excluded from the MR planning and execution processes.  This
was viewed by the majority of those interviewed by the panel as a
breach of trust, usurpation of authority and a major factor in not
being able to mollify the workforce.  On the other hand, the MRT
expressed concern over what they perceived as weak leadership and
slow response from the Ames management during the course of the MR
despite having what the MRT considered to be sufficient information
with which to deal effectively with the workforce.

           6.   The NASA Administrator took positive steps to try and
alleviate the concerns of the Ames Asian-American workforce.

                a.  Immediately after being made aware of their
concerns, he extended a personal invitation for three representatives
of the AAAPIAG to visit him on August 15, 1992, in order for him to
hear their concerns and recommendations first-hand.  He made
subsequent contacts to solicit their advice on actions he might take
to accelerate the healing process.

                b.  As a result, he directed the establishment of
this panel to assess the MRT approach, recommend ways to alleviate
concerns of the workforce and to suggest methods to avoid or minimize
similar difficulties in the future.

                c.  He also arranged for two representatives of the
AAAPIAG to receive detailed briefings on the sensitive matters which
precipitated the MR in order for them to gain a better appreciation
for the justification.


           1.   The approach used by the MRT was inherently offensive
to many at Ames.  The unprecedented approach and methods of the MR
for NASA, combined with a culture in the Ames research community
which promotes the relatively free international exchange of
scientific information, contributed to the negative psychological
impact on the workforce.

           2.   There was no evidence to support any ethnic group
targeting in the conduct of the MR.  However, the disproportionately
high percentage of ethnic Asians who were locked out, questioned, and
whose workplaces were searched, when combined with the past history
of mistreatment of Asian-Americans during WWII and more recent
frustrations with inability to gain equitable representation in
middle and upper management, reinforced the perception of Asian
targeting among most of the Asian-American employees.

           3.   The lack of involvement of Ames senior management in
the planning and execution processes of the MR contributed to their
confusion and reluctance to exert authority and leadership at a time
when active leadership was most needed.  Once the MR was underway,
however, Ames management should have been more supportive and
proactive in taking timely actions, specifically in moderating
workforce reactions to the MR.  The stature of Ames senior line
managers, including the Center Director, was diminished in the eyes
of some of the workforce.  The working relationships and level of
trust between some Ames managers and their counterparts at
Headquarters have been strained by the MR.

           4.   The fact that three key line managers were on travel
during a significant portion of Phase II of the MR and that only
limited information about the MR could be shared with the workforce
adversely impacted the ability of the MRT and Ames management to
mitigate the workforce's negative reaction to the MR.

           5.   Some of the actions taken by the MRT during its
inquiry were inconsistent with the values set forth in the most
recent "NASA Vision, Mission, and Values Statement," especially as it
pertains to "respect for the individual."

           6.   Among the Ames workforce, few disagreed with
management's right to conduct a management review.  Most, however,
disagreed with the approach used.

           7.   The efforts of the Administrator to alleviate
concerns of Asian-American employees were helpful and well-received
by the AAAPIAG.



           1.   That the MRT leaders return to Ames, brief the
organizational elements affected by the MR and answer questions to
the extent possible on the results of the MR.

           2.   That the MRT brief selected representatives of
AAAPIAG and Ames workforce on:

                -    Background and justification of MR
                -    Key results of MR.

           3.   That this panel brief the organizational elements
affected by the MR and the AAAPIAG on its findings, conclusions and
recommendations.  The panel's report should be made available to the
Ames workforce.

           4.   Shortly following the foregoing actions, the
Administrator should visit Ames, address the workforce and answer

           5.   Complete Blue/Red Team process on technology
transfer/handling of competitively sensitive technology (CST).
Establish a process action team, including representation from
Headquarters, centers, and industry, to develop policy guidance
recommendations for NASA.  Direct the centers, within 60 days of
approval of this recommendation, to develop and implement specific
local policy guidance and a program for workforce education/training
on CST protection.

           6.   Develop an implementation plan to achieve NASA's
cultural diversity goals and implement a cultural sensitivity
training program NASA-wide.


           1.   Announce the goals and an implementation plan for
achieving a culturally diverse workforce at Ames at all levels that
is responsive to the NASA policy on cultural diversity.

           2.   Ensure culturally diverse representation in all
hiring and promotion processes.

           3.   Senior management should meet with AAAPIAG and
managers of the organizational elements affected by the MR to
identify and implement positive steps to restore workforce morale
and productivity.


      The approach used in the MR at Ames should not be employed
again in NASA.  The approach for future management reviews should
include the following considerations:

           1.   The review should be conducted by NASA civil servants
reflective of the cultural diversity of the workforce to the maximum
extent practicable and carried out in a manner which assures that top
center managers are full partners.  Center line management should be
visibly and actively supportive of the review in the eyes of the
workforce during and after the review.

           2.   Include an appropriate mix of personnel skills for
conducting interviews and searches, in particular the need for
special skills (e.g., experts on local computer systems).

           3.   When required, include detailed and consistent
guidelines for searches, interviews and statements which fully
respect individuals' rights.

           4.   In determining the approach to be used, address
potential cost-benefit of the review, including consideration of work
disruption, worker alienation and loss of morale.

           5.   Consideration should first be given to referring
possible mismanagement/malfeasance matters to the OIG for audit
and/or investigation.

           6.   At commencement of a review, the workforce should be
clearly informed by the senior line manager of the center and
reinformed verbally down the management chain of the nature and scope
of the review and authorities and identification of the review team.
In addition, an effective mechanism for answering employees'
questions should be maintained throughout.

           7.   Alternate means should be considered to facilitate
searches to avoid having to deny access to individuals' workplaces
during normal duty hours.

           8.   Greater sensitivity and accommodations to the
feelings of employees and their culture and values should be shown by
the review team when denial of access to the employees' workplaces
becomes necessary.

           9.   During the execution phase of an MR, adhere to
detailed requirements and procedural guidance included in the review

Editorial Notes:
[1] It would seem likely that the panel must have intended to write
    "approximately" instead of "appropriately".
[2] In the original report, the word "may" is underlined.

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