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An examination of some of the major problems of performing an effective long-range planning function within NASA and a survey of some of the techniques of systems analysis that might aid in the task of overall agency planning. Long-range objectives and policies are defined and developed, and the consequences of future decisions analyzed, by structuring the planning process into five procedural phases: input, projection, creative, analytical, and output. Concurrent supporting analysis is used to develop an information base for decisionmaking on alternative strategies. In this context, the major and some minor techniques of modern systematic analysis are surveyed to determine their applicability. Those clearly applicable are: (1) many classical systems analysis methods, and methods for coping with uncertainty; (2) Delphi procedures; (3) worth assessment techniques; (4) relevance trees and morphological analysis; and (5) other forecasting techniques. The remaining approaches are either uncertain or clearly inapplicable. A long-range planning function would significantly aid the overall NASA program, but it would require continuing support by top management and coordination with related planning areas.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.