White Paper Blues


The NASA Workforce Lament 1993-95

When I was in high school we went to the Moon.
I pray that our children will be part of that soon.
That one shining moment when the world shared one mind,
when we forgot all our differences and were just humankind.
Ad astra per aspera and off to the stars
In '89, we believed there'd be footprints on Mars.

In our hearts rang the challenge, "To the Moon and to Mars!"
The clarion call "You can reach for the stars!"
But the Red Team wrote white papers and we began realizing
that you don't inspire much with the slogan "Downsizing!"

We've been Red Teamed and Blue Teamed and Strategically Planned
Identified workforce to be strategically canned.
We've been reviewed by our peers and by merit reviewers
from the NAS and the NAC and the ACLUers.

The National Facilities Review, the Fed Lab Review Team
The National Performance Review -- was it only a dream?
We have reviewed all our projects, had a Management Review
Oh, for the bureaucractic efficiency of nineteen hundred ninety two.

We have cut into science, we have cut out some missions.
We have prayed that our colleagues would help with attrition.
We've been ethically trained to be culturally diverse
With time cards, procurement, to put safety first,
Transfer technologies, promote education,
in the spirit of patriotism, for the good of the nation.

We have Roled and we've Missioned not once, twice but thrice.
Provided data on workforce by skill and by price.
Reorganized Headquarters, the Centers and then
Reduced ratios of supervisors to 1 out of 10.

We have been TQMed, have had training in Aids;
the MRT and FBI showed us how to do raids.
And just when we thought, well its all over today
We got Balbridge Award tasks -- Who's this guy anyway?

We have been bold and we've been revolutionary.
We have scorn for tradition and things evolutionary.
We've followed our leader's plans down to the letter,
but when will things get faster, cheaper and better?

We've been bought out and sold out and reduced duplication.
We've zero-based, privatized and transferred with predation.
We've made metrics and standards, rewrote program plans,
made roadmaps, created visions in twenty year spans.

The result? No scientists in NASA, no in-house hardware
Technology? Maybe, but launches elsewhere.
Pretty soon NASA's workforce is going to be scary
With just managers, bureaucrats and one secretary.
And from L.A. to Houston and across to the Cape
We say "If this process is streamlined, bring back the red tape!"

But for our children and yours, we'll help lower the debt.
And streamlined bureaucracy is the best carrot yet.
But we laid off good people (with an SSC bent)
Does it help to have U.S. innovators on unemployment?
Our role in education NASA vows not to shirk
But will kids aspire technically when we're all out of work?

These actions and analyses and hasty assignments
In response to complex and conflicting vague guidance
Are producing ideas more desparate than true
And the bureaucracy is worse now than it was '92.

So the workforce unites on this question, you know
You've brought us together, both NASA and GOCO
We all have the same question despite sex, creed or race
Where can we go to resume work on SPACE?