NASA OIG: Final Memorandum on the Review of NASA Stolen Property at Goddard Space Flight Center and Marshall Space Flight Center


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Full report

Executive Summary

We found variances in how stolen property was reported at GSFC and MSFC and inconsistencies in Agency policies and procedures for reporting stolen property. At GSFC, stolen property was not always properly recorded and reported in accordance with NASA guidance because information about stolen property incidents was not reconciled between logistics and security offices. At MSFC, we found that the MSFC logistics office's process of referring all NASA property incidents to the security office resulted in stolen property incidents being recorded and reported in compliance with NASA policies and procedures. During our review of incidents of stolen property at the two Centers, we also found that definitions and dollar thresholds governing property reporting in NASA policies and procedures were not always consistent.

GSFC employees and offices charged with monitoring and safeguarding property need to improve, through increased communication and information sharing, their coordination of stolen property incidents. The GSFC security office was unaware of 41 percent of the stolen property incidents processed by the logistics office over a 2-year period and the Logistics Division was unaware of 38 percent of the theft investigations conducted by the Security Division. GSFC security officials also reported that some employees who report theft incidents to the security office either are not aware of or do not comply with equipment management policies that require them to inform logistics personnel by initiating a Property Survey Report. As a result, not all thefts were investigated, not all investigations of theft were properly recorded, and not all stolen property was reported to NASA Headquarters. To ensure proper recording and reporting of stolen property incidents, in our September 26, 2008, draft we recommended that GSFC logistics and security officials institute a process to periodically reconcile information on reported incidents of stolen NASA equipment. We further recommended that GSFC logistics and security officials issue a Center-wide notification to employees about the proper procedures for reporting incidents of theft or suspected theft of NASA property.

We also found that NASA does not have procedures for reporting incidents of theft that occur off-Center. For example, our review at GSFC revealed that local police were notified of, and investigated, 6 such incidents of theft of NASA property, while Center security were unaware that the incidents had occurred. Thus, in our draft memorandum we also recommended that Headquarters logistics management revise NASA policy to include specific procedures for reporting and recording stolen property incidents that occur off-Center.

As part of our review, we identified several inconsistencies between policy and procedure documents governing NASA equipment and reporting that warrant management attention. For example, two policy documents define capital equipment but one uses an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more, while the other uses an acquisition cost of $100,000 or more; for controlled equipment one document defines the acquisition cost as $1,000 or more, while another defines the acquisition cost as $5,000 or more. As a result, in our draft memorandum we recommended that the Headquarters' offices responsible for oversight of these documents implement revisions of the policy documents to resolve these inconsistencies.

Management concurred with all of our recommendations and management's comments on the draft of this memorandum are responsive (see Enclosure 2). We will close the recommendations upon completion and verification of management's corrective action.

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