Broadcast 1722 (Special Edition)

27 Feb 2012 Marcia S. Smith
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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, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. 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 SpacePolicyOnline.com 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: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/34649.pdf; http://opencrs.com/document/98-721. 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.

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