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NASA OIG: Actions Needed to Ensure Scientific and Technical Information is Adequately Reviewed at GSFC, JSC, LaRC, and MSFC

Status Report From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008

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ACTIONS NEEDED TO ENSURE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION IS ADEQUATELY REVIEWED AT GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER, AND MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

Full Document

Addendum

The Issue

This audit was initiated in response to a hotline complaint regarding the review, approval, and release of scientific and technical information (STI) at Johnson Space Center. The complainant alleged that Johnson personnel conducting export control reviews of STI were not fully qualified to conduct those reviews and that the reviews often did not occur until after the STI had been publicly released. NASA guidance requires that STI, defined as the results of basic and applied scientific, technical, and related engineering research and development, undergo certain reviews prior to being released outside of NASA or to audiences that include foreign nationals. The process includes technical, national security, export control, copyright, and "trade secret" (e.g., proprietary data) reviews. The review process was designed to preclude the inappropriate dissemination of sensitive information while ensuring that NASA complies with a requirement of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (the Space Act)1 to "provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination" of information resulting from NASA research activities.

We focused our audit on evaluating the STI review process: specifically, determining whether the roles and responsibilities for the review, approval, and release of STI were adequately defined and documented in NASA and Center-level guidance and whether that guidance was effectively implemented at Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Center, Langley Research Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center. Johnson was included in the review because it was the source of the initial complaint, and Goddard, Langley, and Marshall were included because those Centers consistently produce significant amounts of STI.

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