Session 3 E

The NASA Ombuds Challenge: From Tragedy to Strategy

Time: Tuesday 10:15 AM – 11:25 AM

Presenter(s): Xaivian Raymond, Student Ombud, NASA; Brandi Quam, Program Manager, NASA;  Pete Wilczynski, Ombudsman, NASA – Learn more about these presenters by visiting the presenter page.

Level: Established


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the heart of the US’s space efforts and the premier space agency in the world, known for exploring new frontiers, advancing technology, and conducting cutting edge research. However, there are several mission support functions and programs that enable mission success, including the ombuds program. This presentation provides an overview of the NASA Ombuds Program, which was established in 2004 in response to a recommendation from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. It was concluded that an informal and confidential avenue was needed for employees to raise issues and concerns they perceive as having an impact on safety, organizational performance, or mission success without fear of retribution. The presentation will also discuss NASA’s collateral duties approach and challenges for providing ombuds services as a federal agency that’s geographically dispersed throughout the country. The presenters will provide trend analysis on the type of cases the program has experienced over its 15-year history.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand NASA’s approach in implementing its ombuds program and its challenges as a federal agency that's geographically dispersed.
  2. Review trend data to understand the types of cases the ombuds program is receiving.
  3. Provide advice and recommendations on various strategies to assist the agency in addressing its challenges.
Return to Conference Schedule