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NPR 4320.1
Effective Date: June 23, 2021
Expiration Date: June 23, 2026
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Identification and Recovery of NASA Personal Property

Responsible Office: Office of Strategic Infrastructure

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |

Chapter 1. Roles and Responsibilities

1.1 NASA Headquarters Logistics Management Division (LMD).

1.1.1 When LMD becomes aware of personal property that might belong to NASA but is not in NASA’s possession, LMD shall:

a. Convene a Personal Property Review Board (PRB). The PRB is an ad hoc board. Its membership shall be composed of, at a minimum, members from the following offices at Headquarters (HQ): LMD, Office of the General Counsel (OGC), and NASA Exhibit Program (EP). As set forth in this NPR, the PRB may include other NASA HQ and/or NASA Center personnel to establish NASA provenance over the property in question and recommend: 1) whether a recovery action should be undertaken, and 2) the appropriate recovery process for the property in question (e.g., written correspondence, conferral with the Office of the Inspector General, conferral with the U.S. Department of Justice, etc.).

b. Chair the PRB and ensure compliance with personal property accountability responsibilities contained in NPD 4200.1, Equipment Management Program; NPD 4300.1, NASA Personal Property Disposal Policy; and/or NPR 4500.1, Administration of Property in the Custody of Contractors, as may be applicable.

c. Ensure that all PRB members are Federal civil servants. Contract employees, including FFRDC contract employees, may not serve as PRB members.

d. Verify that the property is or is not recorded in a NASA inventory system.

(1) If property records are located, LMD will contact the Supply and Equipment Management Office (SEMO) responsible for that property and ascertain, to the extent possible, the status of the property in question (i.e., disposition, location, loan or permanent transfer, etc.). If the property is lost, misplaced, missing, or otherwise not in NASA’s possession, the program office (PO) custodian of the property shall have a leading role in seeking the recovery of lost property and shall be identified as the “client” for the recovery action.

(2) If LMD is unable to locate personal property records, or if clear NASA title/ownership is not readily determinable, LMD, in coordination with the standing members of the PRB, will work with the Headquarters Office of Inspector General (OIG), Export Control, Records Management, and any responsible POs to determine: 1) if the property was sold to a private party, and 2) the property is not of a type which would ordinarily have been transferred from NASA custody or sold to a member of the public. If the property in question meets either of these criteria, the office that would have had the original accountability for the property will have responsibility for ascertaining whether NASA has an interest in recovering the property and, in coordination with LMD, the PRB, and OGC, determining what actions, if any, should be implemented to facilitate recovery. The responsible office is the “client” in this process.

1.1.2 LMD will identify the responsible office (client) that, in the ordinary course of business, would have had control over the personal property and its disposition. The client will coordinate with LMD to identify the personal property and determine its provenance. With regard to the specific personal property in question, LMD may invite the client to participate as a member of the PRB until such time as the recovery action is complete. To the extent that a recovery action is undertaken, the client is responsible for recovering the property.

Note: The client is defined in Appendix A. The client’s role is in section 1.6.2 below.

1.2 NASA Headquarters Office of the General Counsel (OGC).

1.2.1 Upon receipt of a report of NASA personal property being held by non-NASA entities, or otherwise being marketed in commerce (e.g., auctioned, private sale, eBay posting, etc.) which may be subject to a recovery action, OGC will provide support to LMD and the PRB in evaluating the initial report, collecting evidence to determine the provenance of the personal property, and advising on the legal process which may be available to recover it. OGC shall:

a. Serve as a standing member of the PRB and advise on legal considerations related to establishment of NASA provenance and recovery of the personal property in question.

i. Identify any laws (e.g., The Space Act, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, the Astronaut Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, etc.), regulations, Executive Orders, or NASA policy that may apply to the personal property in question.

ii. Assist LMD, the PRB, and the client to identify what recovery options are available, if any, (e.g., Referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office (civil or criminal division, as appropriate), proposed monetary settlement with a bona fide purchaser, or demand letter to property holder/auction house/pawn shop, etc.).

iii. Facilitate coordination between LMD, the PRB, OGC-HQ, and the appropriate NASA Center OGC, as applicable.

b. Assist the client with drafting of correspondence between NASA and the presumptive property holder, or other appropriate party (e.g., auction house, counsel for the property holder, other persons with knowledge of the history of the property in question, etc.) seeking information on, or recovery of, the personal property. This correspondence may include, but is not limited to, demand letters or correspondence seeking the voluntary surrender of the personal property and return to NASA.

c. In cases where civil or criminal proceedings are contemplated, coordinate all interactions between NASA, the NASA OIG, and the appropriate office of the U.S. Department of Justice (Main) or U.S. Attorney’s Office (collectively USDOJ). Facilitate the preparation of civil or criminal case referral packages to the USDOJ.

1.3 NASA Headquarters Office of Inspector General (OIG).

1.3.1 The OIG’s role in the recovery of NASA personal property is generally limited to those situations where there is evidence of wrongdoing (e.g., theft) related to the disposal, transfer, or loss of possession of NASA personal property. The OIG shall have the lead role in investigation and recovery of NASA personal property possessed by non-NASA entities when the evidence found regarding the property supports an investigation of wrongdoing or potential criminal prosecution.

1.3.2 Upon request of LMD, the PRB, or the client, the OIG may be consulted on and provide non-case specific advice related to matters concerning the investigation and recovery of personal property which do not otherwise fall under the OIG’s investigative/law enforcement authority.

1.4 NASA Headquarters Exhibit Program (EP).

1.4.1 If the personal property in question is regarded as a national treasure, heritage asset, or artifact, the EP, located within the Office of Communications, shall assume the role as the client and seek recovery of the property to ensure appropriate restoration, preservation, curation and public display, as appropriate.

1.5 NASA Headquarters Program Offices (PO).

When personal property is determined to be misplaced, lost, or stolen and subsequently found in the possession of unauthorized persons, the corresponding NASA organization owning the property or the PO with custodial responsibility at the time of loss will serve as the client.

1.6 Personal Property Review Board (PRB).

1.6.1 The PRB comprises members from LMD, OGC, and the EP. If PRB members cannot reasonably identify the property, LMD will seek the appropriate office (client) that can identify the property and determine its provenance. Once identified as the client, he/she will become a PRB member. The client is always a civil servant, never a contractor.

1.6.2 In accordance with Chapter 2 of these NASA Procedural Requirements, the client has the primary responsibility for making recommendations to the PRB as they relate to the personal property recovery process. The client shall:

a. Lead, manage, and coordinate property recovery efforts.

b. Provide all necessary funding to locate and recover the property.

c. Ensure accountability for the property, once it has been recovered.

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |
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This document does not bind the public, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is uncontrolled when printed. Check the NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library to verify that this is the correct version before use: https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov.