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Broadcast 1722 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on February 27th, 2012
Guest: Marcia S. Smith
Guest: Marcia Smith. Topics: FY 13 proposed budget analysis for NASA and DOD plus how the congressional budget process works. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed back to the program Marcia Smith to help us understand the proposed FY 13 NASA and DOD budgets plus the congressional budgetary process. I recommend following Marcia's website and posts at for the latest information on the budget and a wide range of additional topics of interest. During our discussion, we delved into how the U.S. budget process works. Its complex. Marcia suggested looking up reports by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) so check these out:; In our first segment, I started by asking Marcia to explain why we hear that the Senate has not passed a budget yet funds are allocated and programs are cancelled and supported as if there was a budget. What unfolded for a good part of our 90 minute discussion was an excellent discussion on how our budget process actually works, what is important, what is not important, and who does what and when. I urge you to listen to this discussion as you won't find a better tutorial on understanding our federal budget than right here with Marcia Smith. In learning how things really work, we used the NASA budget as an example and to a lesser degree parts of the DOD budget. We talked about cuts and the idea that the NASA budget was flat which it is not as its down close to a billion dollars from last year when the correct analysis is applied. We talked about Mars missions, SLS, Orion, JWST, NASA overhead, commercial crew, ISS, planetary science, and more. We went through the role of OMB and the use of auditors. You may find some of this surprising or even shocking. Also in this segment we talked about the subcommittees and the other agencies in the same subcommittee with NASA. Lots of questions came from listeners, including one about applying money from cutting back on the wars to NASA. No such luck, listen to why that does not happen, i.e. Overseas Contingency Operations Account (OCO). We also asked about taking money from one subcommittee and using it in another. That does not work either. In our second segment, we continued our budgetary process tutorial, focusing on NASA tweaking the appropriations and sending it back to Congress for their approval which they may or may not approve. Next, we talked about DOD cuts but they were cuts from the projections which led us to talking about using out year projections for budgetary planning purposes. We talked about classified and unclassified space projects within the DOD, plus the efforts to hold the agencies accountable with audits and IG reports. As you will hear, most agencies including NASA and DOD do not get a clean statement from the auditor, instead they end up with a Disclaimed Audit. As the program ended, I asked Marcia to share with us what she has found to be the most effective way of communicating our passion for space with the public and congress. If you have comments or questions about this discussion, please post them on The Space Show blog URL above. Marcia Smith can be reached through her website which is provided earlier in this summary.

About our guest...

Marcia S. Smith
Marcia S. Smith is President of the Space and Technology Policy Group, LLC in Arlington, VA, which specializes in policy analysis of civil, military and commercial space programs, and other technology areas. She is also the founder and editor of the website From March 2006-March 2009, Ms. Smith was Director of the Space Studies Board (SSB) at the National Research Council (NRC), and from January 2007-March 2009 additionally was Director of the NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB). The NRC is the operating arm of The National Academies, comprised of the NRC, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academies is a non-profit organization that provides advice to the nation on science, engineering and medicine. Previously, Ms. Smith was a senior level specialist in aerospace and telecommunications policy at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. CRS provides objective, non-partisan research and analysis exclusively for the Members and committees of the U.S. Congress. Ms. Smith specialized in U.S. and foreign military and civilian space activities, as well as telecommunications issues (including the Internet). She worked at CRS from 1975-2006, except for a one year leave of absence from 1985-1986 while she served as Executive Director of the U.S. National Commission on Space. The Commission, created by Congress and its members appointed by the President, developed long term (50 year) goals for the civilian space program under the chairmanship of (the late) former NASA Administrator Thomas Paine. The Commission published its results in the report Pioneering the Space Frontier (Bantam Books). Before joining CRS, she worked in the Washington Office of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (then headquartered in New York). A graduate of Syracuse University, Ms. Smith is the author or co-author of more than 220 reports and articles on space, nuclear energy, and telecommunications and Internet issues. Ms. Smith is theNorth American Editor for the quarterly journal Space Policy, Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Currently member of AIAA’s International Activities Committee and has served on many other AIAA committees, was an AIAA Distinguished Lecturer (1983-1988), and a member of the AIAA National Capital Section Council (1994-1996), Fellow, Past President, and former member of the Board of Directors and of the Executive Committee of the American Astronautical Society (AAS). Co-chair of the AAS Fellows Committee (2004). Awarded the AAS “John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award” in 2006. Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. Founder, Emeritus Member, and Past President of Women in Aerospace (WIA). Awarded the WIA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. Member, former Vice President, and former member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). Member and former Trustee of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). Co-chair of IAA’s Space Activities and Society Committee (1991-1997). Member of the Advisory Committee for the Secure World Foundation. Life Member of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Washington Academy of Sciences (Board of Directors, 1988-1989), and Sigma Xi (the honorary scientific research society).

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