Effective Date: November 17, 2020
Expiration Date: November 17, 2025
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Sponsorship and attendance at a wide-range of scientific, technical, and other conferences are necessary for NASA to coordinate efforts with various partners, keep abreast of the latest technological advances, and disseminate information NASA has acquired during the execution of its various programs. In order to ensure the most cost-effective use of the resources, NASA expends on conference sponsorship and attendance at domestic and international conferences, and to satisfy the external requirements relating to NASA-sponsored conferences, NASA has implemented a comprehensive conference approval and reporting process. The process covers conferences primarily sponsored by NASA and addresses all external requirements relating to conferences.
1.2.1 Prior Approval. OMB Memorandum M-12-12, Promoting Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations, as amended by OMB Memorandum M-17-08, Amending OMB M-12-12, Promoting Efficient Spending to Support Agency Operations, established an ongoing requirement for prior approval by a designated Agency official whenever the total agency expenses for a single NASA-sponsored conference exceeds $500,000.
1.2.2 International Conference Attendance. A recurring provision in recent appropriations acts governing NASA (see Section 253 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-93)) prohibits the use of appropriations to send or otherwise pay for the attendance of more than 50 NASA employees, who are stationed in the United States, to a single conference occurring outside of the United States, unless the Administrator determines that such attendance is in the national interest and notifies the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate within at least 15 days of that determination. NASA similarly applies a 50-person limit to directly funded NASA contractor employee attendance at international conferences. For the purpose of this directive, additional attendance for international conferences by NASA employees and/or directly funded contractors will be considered and approved by the Administrator or designee, followed by congressional notification as required.
1.2.3 Reporting on Conference-Related Expenditures.
18.104.22.168 Annual appropriations acts require NASA to provide information to NASA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for NASA-sponsored conferences costing more than $20,000 within 15 days after the end of a quarter. These reports include the date, location, and number of employees attending such conference. This information will be provided using estimated data in the NASA Form 1784, Conference Approval Form. Final attendee data and cost amounts will be provided to the OIG in the quarterly reports.
22.214.171.124 Annual appropriations acts also require NASA to submit an annual report to the OIG regarding the costs and contracting procedures related to each NASA-sponsored conference where the cost was more than $100,000. For detailed items to be included in the annual report to OIG, refer to NAII 9770.1.
126.96.36.199 Annual Reporting. OMB Memorandum M-12-12, amended by OMB Memorandum M-17-08, requires Federal agencies to post on their public Web sites specific information for each Agency-sponsored conference where the Agency's total expenditures exceed $100,000. In addition, NASA is required to include information about the Agency's net conference expenses for the fiscal year as well as a general report about conference activities throughout the year. For detailed items to be included in the Annual Reporting, refer to NAII 9770.1.
1.2.4 Use of NF 1784 via the NASA Conference Tracking System (NCTS). NF 1784 documents the estimated cost for planned conferences and approval by the appropriate officials. NF 1784 also includes a summary of other relevant information collected in NCTS including sponsorship, number of attendees, conference support information, justification, and recommendation for approval prior to the event. For more information on the NF 1784, see NAII 9770.1 and https://ncts.nasa.gov.
1.2.5 Use of NF 1785, Conference Expense Report via the NASA Conference Tracking System (NCTS). The NF 1785 records a conference's actual costs, attendance data, and other relevant post-conference data and information. For more information on the NF 1785, see NAII 9770.1 and https://ncts.nasa.gov.
1.2.6 Conference Planning. In accordance with OMB Memorandum M-12-12, as amended by OMB Memorandum M-17-08, NASA is required to conduct conference planning when it is sponsoring or hosting a conference. For detailed procedures and guidance related to Conference Planning, refer to NAII 9770.1.
1.3.1 The NASA Administrator shall:
a. Designate an Agency official to serve as the approving official on all requests for waivers when NASA's reportable funding of a single conference is estimated at or greater than $500,000.
b. Consider proposed attendance of more than 50 NASA employees and 50 directly funded NASA contractor-employees, stationed in the United States, to any single international conference to determine whether it is in the national interest, and, if so, provide notification to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and Senate within 15 days of making such determination.
1.3.2 The NASA Inspector General (IG) shall serve as the final approving official for any conferences primarily funded or primarily sponsored by NASA's OIG.
1.3.3 Each Official-in-Charge (OIC) of a NASA Center or Headquarters (HQ) Office shall:
a. Serve as the approving official on all NF 1784s and NF 1785s for conferences sponsored by their Center or HQ Office. See Table 3-1 Justification and Approval Thresholds. (Note: At NASA Centers or HQ, this role can also be carried out by NASA CFO or DCFO.)
b. Recommend for approval by their Center or HQ DCFO. See Table 3-1 Justification and Approval Thresholds.
c. Implement local policies and procedures to ensure NASA-sponsored conference attendance, sponsorships, and other expenditures represent cost-effective means of meeting NASA's scientific, technical, educational, and operational mission requirements and comply with this policy and NAII 9770.1.
d. Appoint a senior conference point of contact (POC) from their senior staff to oversee their Center's or HQ Office's local conference activities and expenditures.
e. Ensure the designation of a Conference Administration POC to provide guidance and assistance to the local Event POCs and managers at their Center or HQ Office on NASA-sponsored conference approval and reporting. For detailed roles and responsibilities of the Conference Administration POC, refer to NAII 9770.1.
f. Ensure NF 1784s originating from their Center or HQ Office are approved and submitted as required in Table 3-1, at least 90 days in advance of a NASA-sponsored event (or if the required advance approval is not practicable, promptly notify the Agency Reviewer/Conference Reporting Coordinator).
g. Ensure conferences approved do not exceed $500,000 in costs without prior approval.
h. Ensure compliance with the appropriations acts' restrictions on attendance at international conferences by NASA personnel and directly funded NASA contractors stationed in the United States.
1.3.4 The Agency DCFO shall:
a. Serve as the designated final approving official on all waivers for conference spending requests when the estimated spending is in excess of $500,000 on a single conference.
b. Serve as the final approving official on all requests for NASA funding of a single conference when NASA is a primary sponsor of the conference and the costs are $90,000 or above.
c. Maintain procedures for conference-related data collection and reporting.
d. Coordinate the final review of Agency conference reports, including the annual Web site report required under OMB Memorandum M-12-12, as amended by OMB Memorandum M-17-08.
e. Designate an Agency Reviewer/Conference Reporting Coordinator to oversee the conference administration and reporting process.
1.3.5 Agency Reviewer/Conference Reporting Coordinator shall:
a. Provide clarification and policy guidance to the Center and HQ Office conference POCs concerning conference approval requests and conference reporting and assist in determining whether specific events are "conferences" under this policy.
b. Coordinate the review and approval of NF 1784s and periodically review NF 1784s and NF 1785s for internal consistency.
c. Oversee and coordinate the conference approval and reporting processes, including overall content of the NCTS System and the NASA Conference Administration Community of Practice section of the OMB MAX Web site.
d. Coordinate the annual posting of NASA's conference reports on NASA's public Web site.
1.3.6 NASA Conference Sponsor Organizations shall:
a. Appoint an Event POC before making substantive plans and notify the cognizant Center/Office Conference POC of the name of the event POC for the event.
b. Comply with the requirements in the NAII 9770.1.
1.3.7 Event POC shall:
a. Assist the sponsoring organization and their Center/Office OIC in conference planning and reporting for a given conference.
b. Coordinate with the Center/Office Conference POC(s), beginning with the first stages of planning, to ensure they are aware of the event and to obtain their help with policy and conference questions.
c. Submit required backup information and documentation for assigned conferences receiving NASA sponsorship funding and:
(1) Ensure the timely preparation of NF 1784s and NF 1785s.
(2) Substantiate and document the events cost estimates.
(3) Monitor the number of approved travelers to ensure compliance with the appropriation acts' restrictions on attendance at international conferences by NASA personnel and directly funded contractors stationed in the United States. The current attendance limitation is 50 for NASA employees and an additional 50 for directly funded NASA contractor employees.
d. Ensure NASA attendees and P-Card users are instructed to use the NCTS Conference Code on travel and obligating documents.
e. Attach a copy of the report(s) and supporting documentation, on behalf of the sponsoring organization, to the event in NCTS so that these materials are maintained and available upon request to appropriate reviewers. See NPR 1441.1, NASA Records Management Program Requirements.
f. Provide other assistance as requested by the Conference POC and Agency Reviewer/Conference Reporting Coordinator with regard to the conference and its associated forms and reports.
1.3.8 The Center/HQ Conference Administration POC shall determine whether NASA is a primary sponsor of the event they are planning to attend, using the definition contained in this directive, and comply with the requirements in NAII 9770.1.
1.3.9 Agency Applications Office (AAO) shall maintain the NCTS system.
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