Effective Date: September 07, 2018
Expiration Date: September 07, 2023
It is NASA policy for the General Counsel to establish Agency-wide legal policies and procedures in conjunction and coordination with the principal legal officials and to determine best methods and practices for providing legal advice, assistance, and functional guidance inherent in rendering legal services. This NASA Policy Directive (NPD) serves as the delegation from, and governs such delegated authority by, the General Counsel to the various designated Agency counsel to carry out such duties and responsibilities. For purposes of this NPD, "principal legal officials" includes Center Chief Counsels, the Lead Counsel for the NASA Management Office at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (a Federally Funded Research and Development Center), and the Lead Counsel for the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC).
a. This NPD applies to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities, and Technical and Service Support Centers.
b. In the event of any conflict between this NPD and any other NASA directive or regulation, this NPD will govern and supersede any previous delegation.
c. In this directive, all mandatory actions (i.e., requirements) are denoted by statements containing the term "shall." The terms "may" or "can" denote discretionary privilege or permission, "should" denotes a good practice and is recommended but not required, "will" denotes expected outcome, and "are/is" denotes descriptive material. d. In this directive, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.
a. The National Aeronautics and Space Act, 51 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq.
b. NPD 1000.3, The NASA Organization.
a. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.
b. Commerce and Trade, 15 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.
c. Copyrights, 17 U.S.C, § 101 et seq.
d. Government Records and Papers; Copies, 28 U.S.C. § 1733.
e. Patents, 35 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.
f. The Public Health and Welfare, 42 U.S.C. § 27 et seq.
g. Contracts, Leases, and Agreements, 51 U.S.C. § 20113(e).
h. Property Rights in Inventions, 51 U.S.C. § 20135.
i. Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights, Executive Order 12630 (Mar. 15, 1988).
j. Civil Justice Reform, Executive Order 12988 (Feb. 5, 1996).
k. Availability of Agency Records to Members of the Public, 14 CFR pt. 1206.
l. Settlement of Claims, 14 CFR § 1261.110.
m. NASA Officials Authorized to Act upon Claims, 14 CFR § 1261.308.
n. Equal Access to Justice Act in Agency Proceedings, 14 CFR pt. 1262.
o. Demand for Information or Testimony Served on Agency Employees; Procedures, 14 CFR pt. 1263.
p. Patents and Other Intellectual Property Rights, 14 CFR pt. 1245.
q. NPD 1900.9, Ethics Program Management.
r. NPR 1900.3, Ethics Program Management.
s. NPD 2086.1, Coordination of Remedies for Fraud and Corruption Related to NASA Acquisition Activities.
a. The Deputy General Counsel is responsible for the following:
(1) Exercising all authority of the General Counsel, not specifically reserved to the General Counsel, and performing all duties of the General Counsel in his or her absence.
(2) Signing attestations of determinations to grant or deny waiver of title to inventions and executing instruments of waiver, when in accordance with the recommendations of the Inventions and Contributions Board and the patent waiver regulations for the NASA Administrator (see 14 CFR pt. 1245).
(3) Designating an Associate General Counsel to manage the Agency's FOIA Appeals Program consistent with 14 CFR pt. 1206.
(4) Serving as the Agency's Suspending and Debarring Official as delegated by the Administrator.
b. The Associate General Counsel, or designee (within the respective practice area), and the principal legal official, or designee (for matters affecting or under the cognizance of the Center or Component Facility), are responsible for the following:
(1) Executing Certificates of Full Faith and Credit and certifying Agency employees' signatures and authority, whenever such certification is to authenticate copies of official records for possible admission into evidence in judicial proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1733 or any other statute.
(2) Accepting service of process, pleadings, or other legal papers in actions or proceedings, with acceptance having the same effect as if served upon the Administrator. Upon accepting such service, acknowledging the service and taking further necessary action.
(3) Providing legal representation in any action or proceeding before any forum (judicial, administrative, or regulatory).
(4) Designating a NASA attorney to serve as a member on any council, board, committee, or ad hoc working group or task team.
(5) Determining, in accordance with 14 CFR pt. 1263, whether NASA should grant or deny requests or demands to produce or disclose information or records relating to official information acquired as part of official duties. For cases with potential Agency-wide impact, the principal legal official shall notify the Office of the General Counsel before making a final determination to grant or deny a request for information.
(6) Determining, in accordance with 14 CFR pt. 1263, whether NASA should grant or deny requests or demands for present or former NASA employees to appear to testify if the testimony relates to official information acquired as part of official duties. For cases with potential Agency-wide impact, the principal legal official shall notify the Office of the General Counsel before making a final determination to grant or deny a request for testimony.
(7) Performing the broad range of duties in his or her area of jurisdiction or delegated authority.
a. The Associate General Counsel (General Law Practice Group), or designee, is also delegated the following authority:
(1) Provide legal advice with regard to all general law-related matters, including those in the areas of ethics, fiscal law, environmental law, personnel and labor law, civil rights and equal employment law, information disclosure law, safety and security law, alien residence issues, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, legislation, and other administrative law areas and to coordinate matters of general law between and among NASA Centers, working through the appropriate principal legal officials.
(2) Act for the General Counsel as liaison with the Department of Justice under the Attorney General's Supplemental Guidelines implementing EO 12630.
(3) Serve as the point of contact for compliance with EO 12988.
(4) Within the General Law Practice Group, the Agency Counsel for Ethics is further delegated authority to provide legal guidance in the area of Government ethics and administrative oversight and coordination over all aspects of the Agency Ethics Program as provided in NPD 1900.9, and NPR 1900.3. The Agency Counsel for Ethics, or designee, serves as the Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official (ADAEO).
b. The Associate General Counsel (General Law Practice Group), or designee, and each principal legal official, or designee, for the respective installation(s), are delegated the following authority:
(1) Settle any claim against NASA less than $5,000 made by, or on behalf of, a NASA employee for damage to, or loss of, personal property incident to service with NASA, whether by full or partial allowance or disallowance (see 14 CFR § 1261.110).
(2) Consider (including ascertain, adjust, and determine), compromise, or settle, and pay less than $10,000, or deny, on behalf of the United States, any tort claim arising from the activities of NASA (see 14 CFR § 1261.308).
(3) Approve attorney fees less than $10,000 pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) or other relevant statute(s) (see 14 CFR pt. 1262).
c. The Associate General Counsel (Contracts and Acquisition Integrity Practice Group), or designee, is delegated authority to:
(1) Provide legal advice on matters related to contract law, procurement, acquisition integrity and procurement-related organizational conflict-of-interest issues, with the exception of intellectual property issues therein, and to coordinate matters of procurement law between and among NASA Centers, working through the appropriate principal legal officials.
(2) Serve as the Agency's Alternate Suspending and Debarring Official as delegated by the Administrator.
(3) Within the Contract and Acquisition Integrity Practice Group, the Director, Acquisition Integrity Program (AIP), or designee, is further delegated the following authority:
(a) Provide legal guidance in the area of acquisition integrity, fraud, and corruption, as well as administrative oversight and coordination over all aspects of the AIP as provided in NPD 2086.1.
(b) Determine the Agency's position to the Department of Justice, Probation Office, or other applicable legal authority on suit authority, intervention or declination in qui tam actions, victim impact statements, and settlement and other monetary resolution concerning fraud matters with:
(i) NASA impact no greater than $5,000,000; and
(ii) NASA impact over $5,000,000, the General Counsel, at his/her discretion, will determine if the matter should be delegated to the Director, AIP.
(c) The General Counsel retains the discretion to determine the Agency's position on fraud matters deemed by the General Counsel or AIP Director to have significant Agency impact or high visibility.
d. The Associate General Counsel (International Law Practice Group), or designee, is delegated authority to provide legal advice on international (including space) law, agreements with foreign entities (including agreements concluded under U.S. law), U.S. laws with implications regarding NASA activities with foreign governments and other foreign entities, international cooperation, and international aspects of NASA interagency activities, with the exception of intellectual property issues therein, which shall be coordinated with the Associate General Counsel (Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Practice Group), or designee.
e. The Associate General Counsel (Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Practice Group), or designee, is delegated the following authority:
(1) Provide legal advice with regard to all intellectual property- related matters, including appointing or revoking authority and powers of attorney; making determinations of property rights in any intellectual property in which NASA may have an interest; exercising the powers of the Administrator with respect to secrecy orders and foreign filings; accepting assignments or licenses of intellectual property rights to NASA; effecting the transfer or license of intellectual property rights from NASA; making determinations as to authorization and consent; reviewing, recommending, and negotiating intellectual property provisions in contracts, agreements, and other instruments implicating NASA's intellectual property rights; making determinations as to the waiver of any rights in inventions under of 51 U.S.C. § 20135; and coordinating all such matters between and among NASA Centers, working through the appropriate principal legal officials.
(2) With the exception of procurement and international issues, provide legal advice related to all aspects of NASA commercial activities and render opinions on legal issues arising from such activities, including those arising under NASA's "other transactions" authority in 51 U.S.C. § 20113(e), and coordinate matters of commercial activities and such legal issues between and among NASA Centers, working through the appropriate principal legal officials.
(3) With the exception of procurement or international issues, provide legal advice related to NASA interagency activities and render opinions on legal issues arising from such activities, and coordinate non- procurement and non-international matters and legal issues of such interagency activities between and among NASA Centers, working through the appropriate principal legal officials.
(4) Within the Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Practice Group, the Agency Counsel for Intellectual Property is further delegated authority for the following:
(a) Taking those actions required or permitted pursuant to any provision of Titles 15, 17, 35, 42, and 51 of the U.S. Code to secure, maintain, and enforce any patent, copyright, trademark, or other forms of intellectual property in which NASA has an interest.
(b) Determining whether legal requirements have been satisfied before NASA may grant, deny, modify, or terminate licenses under all intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and mask work rights owned by NASA.
(c) Delegating responsibility for these actions to the designated Patent Counsel for each NASA installation.
f. The General Counsel may delegate to each principal legal official, or designee, for the respective installation the authority to provide legal advice with regard to all general law, procurement law, commercial and intellectual property law, and international law Center-level matters arising at their installation, subject to the more specific delegations provided in this policy.
g. The legal counsel to whom the above responsibilities and authorities are delegated or redelegated shall ensure that the General Counsel is kept fully and currently informed of significant actions, problems, or other matters of substance with potentially broad agency impact or visibility.
The General Counsel will assess compliance by the designated legal counsel of the Agency with paragraph 6(g) of this NPD through the existing communications and reporting channels.
NPD 2000.1G, Authority to Take Certain Actions for The General Counsel, dated October 09, 2012.
A.1 The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a.
A.2 The Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980, 15 U.S.C. § 3701 et seq.
A.3 The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.
A.4 Patent and Copyright Cases, 28 U.S.C. § 1498.
A.5 Government Records and Papers; Copies, 28 U.S.C. § 1733.
A.6 The Chiles Act, 31 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.
A.7 Patent Rights in Inventions Made with Federal Assistance, 35 U.S.C. § 200 et seq.
A.8 Commercial Space Launch Act, 51 U.S.C. §§ 50901-50903.
A.9 Commercial Space Competitiveness Act, 51 U.S.C. §§ 50501-50506.
A.10 Facilitating Access to Science and Technology, as amended by EO 12591 (Apr. 10, 1987) and EO 12618 (Dec. 22, 1987).
A.11 Implementation by Governmental Entities, 5 CFR pt. 581.
A.12 Commercial Garnishment of Federal Employees' Pay, 5 CFR pt. 582.
A.13 Processing of Monetary Claims (General), 14 CFR pt. 1261.
A.14 Implementation of the Program Fraud Civil Penalties Act of 1986, 14 CFR pt. 1264.
A.15 Uniform Patent Policy for Rights in Inventions Made by Government Employees, 37 CFR pt. 501.
A.16 Patents, Data, and Copyrights, Federal Acquisition Regulation, 48 CFR pt. 27.
A.17 Patents, Data, and Copyrights (NASA FAR Supplement), 48 CFR pt. 1827, current version at https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/regs/NFS.pdf.