NASA Gets Caught By Watchdog Group

( NASA wastes money.

According to a recent study by the NASA inspector general, NASA lost $35 million on underused software, software fines, and software penalties, and the space agency’s lack of software management exposed it to various hazards.

An Inspector General concluded that proper software management may have averted the loss of tens of millions of dollars.

The watchdog broke down the $35 million in unnecessary expenditure into $15 million in wasted Oracle licenses and $20 million in penalties and overpayments.

The IG additionally cautioned that because of the agency’s poor software asset management, “operational, financial, and cybersecurity risks” are still present. The watchdog awarded NASA the lowest possible rating—”basic”—for its software management.

Inspector General Paul K. Martin said in the report that “the Agency does not have a centralized, authoritative database or inventory that monitors what licenses have been obtained, particular licensing agreements, and whether licenses are accessible for use by others within the Agency.” Because of these flaws, NASA has spent almost $15 million on useless Oracle licenses over the last five years.

According to the information provided, Martin determined that over $20 million had been wasted on software fines and penalties during the previous five years. “In our opinion, if an enterprise-wide Software Asset Management program had been in place, penalty expenses may have been avoided. Consequently, we are debating the $20 million in fines.”

The report concluded that NASA “has not implemented a centralized Software Asset Management tool to discover, inventory, and track license data as required by federal policy” and that the organization “has yet to embrace key best practices or fully implement federal guidance required to manage its Software Asset Management program appropriately.”

Establishing enterprise-wide (institutional and mission) Software Asset management policy and procedures was one of the audit’s nine recommendations. “An examination of software procurement and management methods and policies is ongoing,” NASA management said. The anticipated end date is December 10, 2023.

NASA accepted the majority of the inspector general’s recommendations.