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NASA GSFC Internal Memo: Guidance on Restricted Use of FY 2009 Funds for Conference Attendance

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2008

Colleagues:

The NASA FY 2009 Authorization Act contains a new provision restricting NASA (Agency level) total spending on conferences to $5 million in FY 2009. This represents a dramatic reduction from historical spending levels on conferences. NASA's systems and processes will need to be updated to ensure compliance with this new requirement. As a result, until further notice, no NASA appropriated FY 2009 funds are to be committed, obligated or disbursed to sponsor, travel to, or pay admission to a conference (international or domestic). Conferences that are planned in the first quarter of FY 2009, or attendance at conferences in the first quarter of FY 2009, may proceed as long as only FY 2008 funds are used for all participants.

This restriction applies to civil servants. NASA may NOT direct contractors, subcontractors or grant recipients to attend or sponsor conferences. The $5 million budget limitation excludes NASA salaries as conference expenses. NASA civil servants may attend conferences to present papers upon request on approved invitational orders that fully reimburse NASA for travel and fees. As always, reimbursable travel arrangements should be approved in advance, and should not be solicited.

The following activities are NOT categorized as conferences (unless titled as such), and will not be included in the $5 million budget limitation, and may proceed as planned in FY 2009:

* Travel to conduct PROGRAMMATIC or INSTITUTIONAL 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

We are working with NASA

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