Danger Will Robinson! NASA can’t manage computers, cyber threats effectively

The agency that sent man to the moon and gave most Americans their first glimpse of computers more than four decades ago today no longer manages its technology effectively, leaving it vulnerable to cyber attacks and excessive spending, according to its internal watchdog.

In fact, NASA’s Information Technology (IT) management is so decentralized that the agency’s Chief Information Officer didn’t know it had spent $400 million more on technology than it had reported until bean counters requested the information, the space agency’s inspector general reported.

The problem is the Chief Information Officer doesn’t have control over the majority of NASA’s technology spending, overseeing just 11 percent of the $1.46 billion allocated for that purpose in 2012 while independent centers and offices handle the rest, the inspector general found.

“While other Federal agencies are moving toward a centralized IT structure under which a senior manager has ultimate decision authority over IT budgets and resources, NASA continues to operate under a decentralized model that relegates decision making about critical IT issues to numerous individuals across the Agency,” the inspector general reported this month. “As a result, NASA

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