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NPD 3451.5C
Effective Date: April 18, 2003
Expiration Date: April 18, 2025
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Acquisition Improvement Awards (Revalidated w/Change 3 on September 9, 2020)

Responsible Office: Office of Procurement


Ch #





Revalidated directive to comply with new 1400 Compliance requirements and administrative changes to include changing the procurement awards timeline from twice a year to once a year.



Revalidated to comply with NPR 1400.1, administrative changes, and update measurement/verification activities.



Revalidated to comply with NPR 1400.1, and added two paragraphs to responsibility section.

1. Policy

This directive establishes an award program that rewards NASA employees for creating and implementing improved results on individual contracts, or innovative changes in contracting processes that save resources and enhance mission attainment. This award program is not a substitute for other awards (e.g., annual performance awards); it is in addition to other awards for which an individual or group may be eligible. This award is defined as a superior accomplishment award for a special act or service.

2. Applicability

a. This directive is applicable to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers. This directive applies to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), only to the extent specified or referenced in the appropriate contract.

b. 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.

c. In this directive, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.

d. This directive is applicable to NASA directives developed or revised after the effective date of this NPD.

3. Authority

a. Awards for Superior accomplishments, 5 U.S.C. 45, subch. I.

b. Office of Personnel Management, 5 CFR, pt. 451, subpt. A.

4. Applicable Documents and Forms


5. Responsibility

a. The Assistant Administrator for Procurement manages the Acquisition Improvement Award program, including establishing the process for making nominations, establishing the criteria for selecting award winners and determining eligibility, in addition to being the approving official for all awards made under this NPD.

b. The Procurement Officers prepare award nominations that will be evaluated in accordance with the evaluation criteria described below, which are applicable to the specific nomination. In addition, Procurement Officers will be advised at the beginning of each award period when there are any additional criteria or sub criteria that are applicable during that evaluation period.

(1) The use of new techniques, or the innovative use of existing acquisition approaches, that reduce the cost or improve the quality or timeliness of the acquisition and can be reliably measured.

(2) The implementation of acquisition streamlining techniques that illustrate the effective use of resources, including the size of the acquisition team.

(3) The ability of the acquisition team to accomplish the acquisition within established milestones, including completion of activities from proposal receipt to award within 120 days.

(4) The application of Headquarters and Center Procurement Initiatives in such a way as to achieve improved efficiency, effectiveness, and/or better meet customer needs.

(5) The application of innovative strategies or acquisition streamlining techniques during contract administration that achieve improved contract effectiveness and/or better meets customer needs.

(6) The implementation of process improvements that enhance operational efficiencies and impacts the overall effectiveness of the Office of Procurement Enterprise.

c. Eligibility

(1) Only NASA employees who are not Senior Executive Service employees are eligible for cash awards.

(2) Employees who have separated from NASA since the acquisition are not eligible for cash awards.

(3) Headquarters employees, with the exception of employees of the NMO at the JPL, are generally not eligible for cash awards unless the contribution was both significant and integral to the acquisition (e.g., a voting member on the Source Evaluation Board (SEB)).

(4) While emphasis for this program is on a group (i.e., the entire acquisition team), it is acceptable to nominate an individual(s) whose efforts deserve recognition.

(5) None of these eligibility criteria preclude awards of other than cash to anyone nominated and selected for recognition, including employees not eligible for a cash award.

d. The Center Procurement Officers are responsible for crafting and submitting nominations to the Headquarters Office of Procurement in accordance with the following:

(1) Awards will be made on an annual basis in August. Nominations will be submitted by July 31 of each year for acquisition actions completed in the preceding 12 months.

(2) Nominations will be submitted by the Procurement Officer in writing to the Office of Procurement Administrative Officer at NASA Headquarters.

(3) Nominations will include the following information, as relevant:

(a) A description of how the acquisition activity meets the criteria described in part 5b of this document. Each item should be thoroughly documented and contain a detailed explanation of the outstanding achievement(s). Nominations will succeed or fail based upon the quality of the supporting documentation and rationale.

(b) If nominating a specific acquisition, provide a brief title and description, dollar amount, number of proposals received and evaluated (if any), and number of days from proposal receipt to selection/award.

(c) Recommended monetary or other award amount and supporting rationale. If a group award, indicate how the money will be distributed. The award need not be monetary in nature; for example, providing time off (in accordance with NASA policies) to a SEB that has had no free time might be a better reward than money.

(d) A point of contact at the Procurement Office, including telephone number.

(e) A point of contact for the funds transfer, including telephone number.

(f) The Procurement Officer will normally make the award presentations. Acquisition Improvement Awards may only be given to the individuals selected from the nomination.

(g) A certificate, titled "Acquisition Improvement Award," and signed by the Assistant Administrator for Procurement, will be presented to each awardee.

(h) The Procurement Officer should take all reasonable steps to provide maximum recognition of the recipients of the awards. This could involve awards ceremonies, posting photographs of recipients, announcements in local newspapers or newsletters, etc.

e. The Office of Procurement Administrative Officer is responsible for managing all aspects of the acquisition awards process except for the evaluations of Center nominations. The Administrative Officer`s responsibilities include all correspondence with the Centers, maintaining a history of past awards, and transferring the appropriate funds to the Centers.

6. Delegation of Authority


7. Measurements/Verification

The Assistant Administrator for Procurement will conduct periodic evaluation activities for compliance and effectiveness in order to improve the efficiency of the program.

8. Cancellation

NPD 3451.5C, Acquisition Improvement Awards, dated April 18, 2003.

Revalidated September 9, 2020, ORIGINAL SIGNED BY:

/s/ Sean O'Keefe

Attachment A. (Text)

(URL for Graphic)


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.