CANCELLED – Policy and Guidance now issued by OCFO’s office


Procurement Information Circular

January 13, 2009



PURPOSE:  To provide guidance to center procurement offices to ensure contractor compliance with conference expenditure and reporting requirements contained in FY 2008 and FY 2009 appropriations and authorizations laws. 


BACKGROUND:  The NASA Authorization Act of 2008, P.L. 110-422, restricts the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) total authorized spending on conferences to $5 million of FY 2009 funds.  Additional attendance and reporting requirements are also found in NASA’s recent Appropriations Acts, the Continuing Appropriations Act, P.L. 110-329, and the FY 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, P.L. 110-161.  The spending limitations and reporting requirements contained in these laws have been interpreted to apply to NASA contractors where they are attending or supporting conferences (defined herein) as a result of NASA direction (defined herein), and utilizing NASA FY 2009 appropriations for such activities.


In order to comply with these new statutory requirements, NASA Interim Directive (NID) 9312.1, Requirements Relating to Conference Attendance, Obligations and Expenditures, has been promulgated, establishing new requirements applicable to conference-related obligations and costs, attendance at foreign conferences, and reporting on costs related to conferences.  This Procurement Information Circular (PIC) provides direction to contracting officers to establish approval and reporting requirements in applicable contracts in order to comply with the NID, and the above-mentioned laws. The NID 9312.1 should be reviewed for more detailed information on definitions, roles and responsibilities, and examples of application of the conference expenditures rules.  This PIC is effective immediately.



   1.   Contracting officers must immediately notify (and modify contracts as necessary) all contractors that have or may receive FY 2009 funds to attend, participate, or support conferences (as defined below) of the following limitations and reporting requirements:

         a. Contractors shall not attend, as a result of NASA direction, any conference supported by FY 2009 NASA funds without prior written approval of the cognizant contracting officer or an authorized delegee.

         b. Contractors shall not incur or commit to any conference related expense resulting from NASA Direction without prior written approval of the cognizant contracting officer or an authorized delegee.

         c. Contractors shall report all FY 2009 funds expended or committed for conference attendance or support resulting from NASA direction prior to receipt of this notice (15 January assumed).  This report shall be submitted to the CO within two weeks of receipt of this notice (31 January assumed).

         d. Contractor expenses for conferences that are not included in or necessary for the performance of a contract or task order, and are not incurred at NASA direction, are not subject to the requirements above.

   2.   Contracting officers shall coordinate with the cognizant NASA resource manager(s) before approval of contractor conference attendance or support cited in paragraphs a. or b. above.  Any conference related activity meeting the criteria of this notice, including commitments or expenditures reported per paragraph 1.c. above, must be funded using the unique accounting WBS established by the OCFO for this purpose.

   3.   The NASA Conference Tracking System (NCTS) is an enterprise-wide database, to support the reporting requirements.  All procurement personnel are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the NCTS and the guidelines for identifying and maintaining source records used to support the ongoing conference cost data reporting requirement.  The guidelines are accessible to all NASA employees and NASA Conference Support Contractors at the NASA website (

   4.   Contracting officers shall consult with Center Resource Management and Financial Personnel to determine the need for, and scope of, contractor accumulated and forecast reports for conference related expenditures.  These reports may be required to fulfill related legislative requirements and requirements set forth in NID 9312.1.  Such reporting requirements  may be fulfilled through modifying instructions for NASA Form 533 reporting, or by requiring separate conference expense reporting.




The following definitions are excerpts from NID 9312.1, Requirements Relating to Conference Attendance, Obligations and Expenditures.   The NID should be consulted for a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.


Conference:  A meeting:

   (1) Held for consultation, education (does not include formal training sessions), awareness or discussion; and

   (2)  Involving travel and lodging for at least some attendees; and

   (3)  Which is not an NASA internal meeting; and 

   (4)  In which any part of the event is held at a non-NASA facility; and,

   (5)  Which (a) has speakers or discussion panels and (b) focuses on topical, rather than operational or programmatic, matters which are of interest to and involve the participation of, a range of attendees from multiple agencies and/or nongovernmental entities; or

   (6)  A meeting which utilizes NASA appropriated funds to provide food to participants, except for (a) legitimate training events, (b) award ceremonies, or (c) events using NASA Official Representational Funds.


 This definition includes conferences regardless of whether or not NASA is the sponsor.  It includes most, if not all, externally-sponsored scientific, technical, and professional conferences.


Conference related expenses:  Travel, per diem, and other related travel expenses (such as registration, attendance and other fees), but excluding allocable salary expenses.  This definition includes conference expenses regardless of whether or not NASA is the sponsor.


NASA direction:  Written or other direction requiring a contractor to participate in, or provide logistical or other support to a conference.  NASA direction includes language written in a contract statement of work (SOW), a work order, task order or delivery order.


NASA internal meeting:  Any meeting where all attendees are NASA civil servants, detailees, Special Government Employees, and individuals who are attending on NASA-issued invitational travel orders.  It may include employees of other Federal agencies, NASA’s contractors or subcontractors and parties to inter-governmental or interagency agreements with NASA or the U.S. Government when meeting on matters related to NASA’s programs or operations.  It may include NASA grantees, including their principal investigators, when meeting on matters directly related to a grant.  It also may include NASA Space Act Agreement partners, when meeting on matters directly related to the activities under the Agreement.


Prior written approval:  Specific written approval from the cognizant contracting officer or an authorized delegee.  Statement of work or other language contained in the contract does not constitute approval for this purpose.



   a.   NID 9312.1, Requirements Relating to Conference Attendance, Obligations and Expenditures.

   b.   The FY 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Public Law 110-161.

   c.   NASA Authorization Act of 2008, Public Law 110-422.


EFFECTIVE DATE:  This PIC is effective as dated and shall remain in effect until cancelled or superseded. 


HEADQUARTERS CONTACT:  Carl C. Weber, Office of Procurement, Contract Management Division, (202)358-1784, email:



William P. McNally

Assistant Administrator for Procurement



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