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NASA Internal Memo: New Controls on NASA Conference Participation in FY 09

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2008

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Headquarters
Washington, DC 20546-0001
October 6, 2008

Reply to attn of; Office of the Chief Financial Officer

TO: Distribution

FROM: Deputy Chief Financial Officer

SUBJECT: New Controls on NASA Conference Participation in FY 09

The NASA Authorization Act, H.R. 6063, which has passed both the House and the Senate, is awaiting signature by the President. It contains a new provision restricting National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) total authorized spending on conferences to $5 million in FY 09. This limit represents an over two-thirds reduction in spending from FY 08. NASA's systems and processes will need to be updated to ensure compliance with this new requirement.

Until further notice, no FY 09 funds are to be committed, obligated or disbursed to sponsor, travel to, or pay admission to an international or domestic conference. No commitments or obligations to conference facilities or hotels may be made using FY 09 funds. Conferences that are planned in the current quarter, or attendance at conferences in the current quarter, may proceed as long as only FY 08 funds are used for all participants. For example, any travelers attending the Advancement of Safety Conference this month may only use FY 08 funds for travel or fees.

The limitation on FY 09 funds applies to NASA's cost-reimbursable contracts, including NASA's contract with JPL. NASA may not direct contractors, subcontractors or grant recipients to attend or sponsor conferences.

The following activities are not categorized as conferences (unless titled as such), will not be included in the $5 million budget limitation, and may proceed as planned in FY09:

  • Travel to conduct programmatic reviews or meetings with only NASA civil service and NASA-funded contractors in attendance for which no fees are charged and no food is provided
  • Training at NASA facilities or Federal training facilities such as OPM's Federal Executive Institute
  • Open houses, technology or research symposiums conducted on NASA facilities for which no fees are charged and no food is provided; these may include non- NASA speakers
  • Technology or science exhibits, and staff required to support them, at public events in the United States, for which no admission fees are paid by NASA
  • Attendance at air shows

Additionally, NASA and JPL salaries are not considered to be conference expenses that count against the $5 million budget limitation. NASA civil servants and JPL employees may attend conferences on approved invitational orders that fully reimburse NASA or JPL for travel and fees to present papers upon request. As always approved reimbursable travel arrangements should be approved in advance, and should not be solicited. ---

In addition, the legislation significantly restricts expenditures for the Space Flight Awareness Awards Program. The legislation prohibits NASA from using any FY 09 funds for a Space Flight Awareness Launch Honoree Event conference, which we are defining as an awards banquet, luncheon or dinner. The legislation also imposes a cap on other Space Flight Awareness expenses, permitting NASA to spend no more than onehalf of the total amount of funds expended on such activities in FY 08. Given this significant restriction, no FY 09 funds are to be expended on any Space Flight Awareness activities until a new process has been established.

This direction is intended to be temporary, to ensure that we do not create a problem before we have time to establish new processes. NASA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of the General Counsel will be establishing more detailed guidance and processes as well as budget allocations for organizations for conference activities'& FY 09. Each organization should determine at this time what conferences it had planned to sponsor, and any existing commitments for conference facilities in FY 09, for which funds may not ultimately be available for the facility, or for which attendance may be significantly below what might have been guaranteed to the facility. Each organization must also ensure that travel to conferences using FY 09 funds is not approved until the new processes are established. Offices that had planned to use FY09 funds to sponsor conferences in the current quarter should provide that information to OCFO/Jean Rayhle immediately at jean.rayhle@nasa.gov.

A fundamental mandate of the original Space Act of 1958 is that NASA "shall provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof." With this new $5 million budget limitation, it will be critical that we establish policies and processes to prioritize our spending, to maximize our effectiveness with this now severely limited resource.

Please contact David Schurr if you have any questions.

[signed}

Terry Bowie

Distribution:

Deputy Administrator/Ms. Dale
Associate Administrator/Mr. Scolese
Chief of Staff/Mr. Morrell
Associate Deputy Administrator/Mr. Scales
Assistant Associate Administrator/Ms. Johnson
White House Liaison/Ms. Cherry
Assistant Administrator for External Relations/Mr. O'Brien
Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate/Dr. Shin
Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Mission Directorate/Dr. Gilbrech
Associate Administrator for Institutions and Management/Mr. Luedtke

  • Assistant Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity/Ms. Manuel
  • Assistant Administrator for Human Capital Management/Ms. Dawsey
  • Assistant Administrator for Infrastructure and Administration/Ms. Dominguez
  • Assistant Administrator for Internal Controls and Management Systems/Mr.
  • Becker
  • Assistant Administrator for Procurement/Mr. McNally
  • Assistant Administrator for Security and Program Protection/Mr. Forsythe
  • Assistant Administrator for Small Business Programs/Mr. Delgado
  • Executive Director, Headquarters Operations/Mr. Jedrey
  • Executive Director, NSSC/Mr. Arbuthnot
Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation/Dr. Hawes
Associate Administrator for Science Mission Directorate/Dr. Weiler
Associate Administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate/Mr. Gerstenmaier
Chief Engineer/Dr. Ryschkewitsch
Chief Financial Officer/Mr. Spoehel
Chief Health and Medical Officer/Dr. Williams
Chief Information Officer/Mr. Pettus
Chief Safety and Mission Assurance/Mr. O'Connor
Chief of Strategic Communications/Mr. Shank
  • Assistant Administrator for Communications Planning/Ms. Erickson (Acting)
  • Assistant Administrator for Education/Dr. Winterton
  • Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs/Mr. Bruner
  • Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs/Mr. Mould

Director, Innovative Partnerships Program Office/Mr. Comstock
Director, Office of Program and Institutional Integration/Mr. Keegan
General Counsel/Mr. Wholley
Inspector General/Mr. Cobb

Directors, NASA Centers

Ames Research Center/Dr. Worden
Dryden Flight Research Center/Mr. Petersen

Glenn Research Center/Dr. Whitlow
Goddard Space Flight Center/Mr. Strain
Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Dr. Elachi
Johnson Space Center/Mr. Coats
Kennedy Space Center/Mr. Parsons
Langley Research Center/Ms. Roe
Marshall Space Flight Center/Mr. King
Stennis Space Center/Mr. Cabana

cc:
Deputy Chief Financial Officer/Mr. Bowie
Director, Budget Management and Systems Support/Mr. Bridge
Executive Secretariat/Mr. Box
Office of the Administrator/Ms. Mays
Office of the Administrator/Ms. Sweeney
Office of the Deputy Administrator/Ms. Gordon
Office of the Deputy Administrator/Ms. Potter

Center Chief Financial Officers
Ames Research Center/Mr. Agnew
Dryden Flight Research Center/Mr. Gardner
Glenn Research Center/Ms. Watson
Goddard Space Flight Center/Ms. Abell
Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Mr. Johnson
Johnson Space Center/Mr. Beall
Kennedy Space Center/Ms. Kroskey
Langley Research Center/Mr. Winter
Marshall Space Flight Center/Ms. Cucarola
Stennis Space Center/Mr. Bevis

Resource Managers
Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate/Ms. Brown
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate/Mr. Hunter
Innovative Partnership Programs/Ms. Gifford
Institutional Investments/Mr. Hart
Institutional Investments/Mr. Rosentahl
Office of Education/Mr. Murphy
Office of Inspector General/Mr. Lamoreaux
Office of Program and Institutional Integration/Ms. Irvine
Science Mission Directorate/Mr. Tupper
Shared Capability Asset Program/Ms. Humprey
Space Operations Mission Directorate/Ms. Mumford

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