Recently in Financial Management Category

New NASA CFO Nominated

NASA Statement on Nomination of Margaret Vo Schaus for Agency CFO, NASA

"[Margaret Vo] Schaus is a career member of the Senior Executive Service. Over the past decade, she has held numerous leadership roles with responsibility for the financial management and business operations of science and engineering organizations at the Departments of Energy and Defense. She currently serves as the director for business operations in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, where she is responsible for oversight of a multibillion-dollar budget. Schaus has been recognized with awards, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of Energy's Distinguished Career Service Award, and the Secretary of Energy's Honor Award."

Keith's note: I certainly hope Schaus is ready to shake up the CFO's office. The NASA CFO org chart still shows Nestor Tezna as head of the CFO's Policy and Grants Division. Tezna worked on NASA grants and continued to work for the agency for nearly a year after he fraudulently applied for a PPP grant.

NASA's Management of the Gateway Program for Artemis Missions, NASA OIG

"NASA selected Maxar in May 2019 to provide the PPE under a fixed-price contract because the Agency anticipated few design and development changes. However, the contract value has increased by $78.5 million since the award, with more increases expected to accommodate additional evolving requirements and technical challenges. PPE has also experienced other contract management challenges, including the collapse of negotiations between Maxar and a subcontractor to provide its high-power electric propulsion system. ... In our judgment, NASA's acceleration of the acquisition for both the PPE and HALO before fully defining the Gateway's requirements added significant costs to the projects' development efforts and increases the risk of future schedule delays and additional cost increases."

NASA OIG: NASA's Management Of Its Acquisition Workforce

"In addition, 95 percent of NASA's certified acquisition workforce met continuous learning requirements needed to maintain their certification in the reporting periods we evaluated. However, the Agency's migration to the Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System (FAITAS), the official system of record for acquisition programs, is incomplete. As such, NASA relies on multiple systems and stakeholders to manage these certification programs, reducing the Agency's ability to fully validate the accuracy and completeness of workforce certification and training data."

Keith's note: This audit is stating the obvious. Its nice to see that OIG has finally decided to audit "NASA's cost estimating and reporting practices for large, multi-mission programs" given that all of its audits of "NASA's cost estimating and reporting practices for large, multi-mission programs" have demonstrated that these practices are woefully broken and have been for decades. I guess it is better late than never to start studying the core cause whereby all of these NASA programs are over cost and behind schedule year after year after year.

NASA Announces Ninth Consecutive Clean Financial Audit Opinion

"The NASA Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) has led the way for an unmodified audit opinion on the agency's fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) financial statements. This represents NASA's ninth consecutive "clean" opinion from an independent accounting firm - the highest opinion possible. "This audit opinion is an affirmation of NASA's commitment to its fiduciary responsibility for maintaining the public trust regarding the agency's valuable financial resources," said NASA CFO Jeff DeWit. "Our highly trained financial professionals will continue the quest for accountability, efficiency, and excellence as NASA pushes each day to further America's leadership in space."

NASA Is Delaying The Launch Of Its $9 Billion Space Telescope -- Again, Buzzfeed

"Make no mistake, I'm not happy sitting here telling you this," NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen told reporters on a briefing about the delay. He deflected criticism from spacecraft contractor Northrop Grumman, saying, "we are part of the team that caused this problem and we are going to have to solve it together." Blowing the budget cap for JWST means that Congress will have to vote to reauthorize completion of the telescope, which has already drawn ire from lawmakers. NASA plans to ask for the authorization and extra money in February. "Program delays and cost overruns don't just delay the JWST's critical work, but they also harm other valuable NASA missions, which may be delayed, defunded, or discarded entirely," Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee told BuzzFeed News in a statement. His committee will hold a hearing to address the report next month. The witnesses will include the NASA administrator, James Bridenstine, and Northrup Grumman CEO Wes Bush. "I expect to see progress on keeping projects on budget and on time," said Smith."

NASA's Management of Reimbursable Agreements

"NASA has made improvements in the way it manages reimbursable agreements, but still cannot provide Congress and other stakeholders with fully accurate and complete information on their use. Specifically, half of the PAM and SIERA records we sampled contained substantial errors, such as incorrectly listing reimbursable agreement values and waived costs (i.e., costs incurred for which the partner does not reimburse NASA). For example, while PAM listed the total estimated value for the 115 domestic agreements we sampled as $11.7 billion, we found the correct value to be closer to $7.8 billion - an overstatement of nearly $4 billion, or 51 percent. Additionally, our calculation of the estimated waived costs for the sampled agreements was only $10.8 million, or 6.5 percent, of the Agency's reported total in PAM - an overstatement of $154.7 million. We were unable to make similar comparisons for agreements with international partners because SIERA does not capture estimated dollar values and waived costs. Nevertheless, in our judgment the data in PAM and SIERA is neither accurate enough to comply with congressional reporting requirements nor meaningful enough given its high error rate to provide helpful information to the Agency and its stakeholders."

Keith's note: Wow. NASA has no idea what these reimbursable agreements actually cost. Action item for Jeff DeWit.

Keith's note: NASA CFO nominee Jeff Dewitt has been confirmed by the Senate.

NASA Statement on Nomination for Agency Chief Financial Officer, earlier post

"The following is a statement from acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot on Wednesday's announcement of the intended nomination by President Donald Trump of Jeffrey DeWit to serve as the agency's Chief Financial Officer: "It is encouraging to see more members of the agency's leadership team being named. Jeff's solid financial background will be a tremendous addition as we continue to advance our nation's aeronautic and exploration initiatives."

NASA OIG: Audit of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute

"We found that NSBRI delivered research products that helped NASA make progress toward the goal of mitigating human health and performance risks associated with space travel. However, while most NSBRI charges complied with applicable laws and the award's terms, NASA improperly permitted NSBRI to use $7.8 million of research funds to renovate and pay rent for laboratory space in a private building during the final 7 years of its agreement. ... In our judgment, NASA improperly approved NSBRI's request to use cooperative agreement funds to renovate the NSBRI work space. Lacking specific legislative authority, Federal appropriations may not be used for such capital improvements unless the expenditures meet specific Government Accountability Office (GAO) criteria. Moreover, the improvements to the facility primarily benefitted Rice University rather than NASA or the Federal Government. Indeed, at the conclusion of NSBRI's cooperative agreement with NASA in September 2017 possession of the facility renovated at NASA's expense reverted to Rice."

NASA Office of Inspector General Annual Report April - September 2017

"Specifically, despite spending almost $200 million on three spacesuit development efforts, NASA remains years away from having a spacesuit capable of replacing the suits used on the ISS or suitable for use on future exploration missions. Furthermore, given the current development schedule, there is significant risk a next-generation prototype will not be sufficiently mature for testing on the ISS prior to the Station's planned 2024 retirement. In addition, we questioned NASA's decision to spend $80.8 million between 2011 and 2016 to fund a spacesuit development effort despite parallel development activities being conducted elsewhere in the Agency. NASA management concurred with and described corrective actions to address our three recommendations."

"In August 2013, NASA entered into an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to build two test stands at Marshall Space Flight Center (Marshall) to test liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks from the core stage of the Agency's new heavy-lift rocket. Our review found that the compressed project schedule, uncertain requirements, and design changes resulted in significant cost increases for the project. In addition, NASA did not adequately consider alternative locations before selecting Marshall as the site for the test stands and therefore cannot ensure it made the most cost-effective decision regarding where to build the stands."

NASA's Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Audit Result

"NASA has received an unmodified audit opinion on its Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 2017) financial statements, making this the seventh consecutive year of "clean" opinions. The agency released its FY 2017 Agency Financial Report (AFR) Wednesday, which provides details on its financial results and performance highlights."

NASA FY 2017 Financial Report

"NASA did not substantially address deficiencies in its vulnerability management program, which continued to inadequately address monitoring, detecting, and timely remediation of vulnerabilities associated with their financial application and general support systems. Additionally, management did not substantially address control failures at the Financial System Application layer. Therefore, the prior year Significant Deficiency 1 remains open and was renamed "Information Technology Management" in fiscal year 2017."

NASA OIG: NASA's Efforts to "Rightsize" its Workforce, Facilities, and Other Supporting Assets

"Through the TCAT and CLM processes, NASA has established a framework that should improve the Agency's ability to manage its technical capabilities and help make the difficult decisions regarding infrastructure and personnel required to optimally position itself for current and future missions. However, after more than 4 years, the Agency has yet to make many concrete decisions about its technical capabilities - for example, to consolidate or dispose of assets. Rather, most decisions have been iterative steps on the path to making actual determinations about technical capabilities, leaving us concerned that the Agency's efforts have been slow to produce meaningful results."

NASA OIG: Notice of a new system of records: Data Analytics System (ADAS)

"In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (Privacy Act), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) publishes this notice of a new system of records entitled ``The Office of Inspector General Advanced Data Analytics System (ADAS)'' (System Number NASA 10IGDA. This system will store individually identifying information from a variety of individuals who have applied for or received grants, contracts, loans, or payments from NASA, including current and former employees of NASA, contractors, and subcontractors, and others whose actions have affected NASA."

NASA Receives Fifth Consecutive Clean Audit Opinion

"NASA has received an unmodified audit opinion on its Fiscal Year 2015 (FY 2015) financial statements, marking the fifth consecutive year of "clean" opinions. The agency has released its FY 2015 Agency Financial Report (AFR), which provides details on its financial results and performance highlights. The auditor's unmodified opinion is that NASA's financial statements fairly present the agency's financial position and results of operations. An unmodified opinion is the highest audit opinion that may be received from an external auditor."

2015 Report on NASA's Top Management and Performance Challenges, NASA OIG

"We believe the Agency's estimate that it will cost between $3 and $4 billion annually to operate the Station is based on overly optimistic assumptions, and that for a number of reasons costs are likely to be higher. ... Although the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 set a goal for NASA to achieve operational capability for the SLS and Orion by December 31, 2016, NASA will not meet this timetable. Noting technical and funding uncertainties, NASA has adjusted its planning schedule to reflect an SLS launch readiness date of no later than November 2018, with the first crewed flight of Orion expected no later than 2023."

NASA Office of Inspector General's Semiannual Report to Congress April 1 - September 30, 2015

"As we head into December, the unfortunate pattern of the Federal Government beginning a new fiscal year without an approved budget has repeated itself with a continuing resolution funding NASA through the middle of the month. Failure to receive a full-year appropriation compounds the challenges facing Agency leaders in effectively managing NASA's varied programs, perhaps most prominently its plans to transport astronauts to the International Space Station on commercial U.S. vehicles by late 2017. Given its importance, the Office of Inspector General initiated a follow-up audit this reporting period that will examine the status of the Agency's Commercial Crew Program."

The bind on federal travel, Sandra Magnus/AIAA, Washington Post

"In response to the new rules, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has joined with more than 100 scientific and engineering organizations to advocate the immediate easing of travel restrictions on federal employees seeking to attend science and technology conferences. Coalition members have held meetings with key policymakers and are working with Congress and the White House to reduce the impact on the scientific community. Unfortunately, no solution is in sight, and some lawmakers have even proposed legislation that would impose additional burdens."

- AIAA Feels The Impact of Government Travel Restrictions, earlier post, earlier post
- Making It Harder To Hold a Meeting, earlier post

NASA OIG: Costs Incurred on NASA's Cost-Type Contracts

"We found NASA is at increased risk of paying unallowable, unreasonable, and unallocable incurred costs and of losing the opportunity to recoup improper costs because Agency contracting officers rely too heavily on DCAA's incurred cost audit process. Under its new, risk-based methodology, DCAA has significantly decreased the number of contractor proposals it audits in an effort to reduce its 6-year backlog of incurred cost proposals awaiting review. However, NASA contracting officers generally wait for a DCAA audit and do not perform additional oversight to ensure the appropriateness of contractor costs."

OIG Report: NASA's Use of Blanket Purchase Agreements

"NASA Contracting Officials Using GSA Schedule Agreements Did Not Maximize Competition or Seek Vendor Price Discounts. Our sample included 23 orders obtained using 14 different GSA schedule agreements. We found deficiencies in 12 of these 14 agreements. Specifically, for 9 of the agreements NASA contracting officials established single- rather than multiple-award agreements without preparing written justifications or failed to request price discounts from vendors when establishing the agreements. For all 12 agreements, contracting officials failed to conduct required annual reviews. These deficiencies occurred because contracting officials were unaware of requirements or wanted to avoid the additional effort required to compete orders."

NASA Proposed Rule: Profit and Fee Under Federal Financial Assistance Awards

"NASA is revising the NASA Grant & Cooperative Agreement Handbook to clarify that NASA does not pay profit or fee on Federal Financial Assistance awards, i.e. grants and cooperative agreements, to non-profit organizations. This proposed rule would make changes to NASA regulations to reflect that revision."

"... There appears to have been some confusion with regard to the term `management fee'. Management fees that are allowable, allocable, reasonable and necessary costs in accordance with an entity's established accounting practices and Government cost principles will be paid by NASA. This rule is clarifying that NASA will not pay profit or fee where profit or fee is defined as the amounts above allowable costs. The language in this rule has been revised to clarify this point."

NASA OIG: Final Report - IG-14-014 - NASA's Award Closeout Process, NASA OIG

"As of October 2013, NASA had more than 15,000 award instruments that had expired but were not yet closed. NASA contracts with a private company to assist with the closeout process. The OIG found that although NASA has slowed the growth of its backlog of instruments awaiting closeout, the Agency needs to make further improvements to its closeout process."

Audit of the NASA Fiscal Year 2013 Financial Statements (IG-14-006)

"The audit resulted in an unmodified opinion on NASA's fiscal year (FY) 2013 financial statements. An unmodified or "clean" audit opinion means that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position and the results of the entity's operations in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. PwC also issued its reports on internal control and compliance with laws and regulations. PwC reported no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in internal control. In FY 2013, NASA resolved its sole remaining significant deficiency from prior years related to environmental liability estimation. During the audit, PwC also identified no instances of significant noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations."

NASA, Deloitte To Bring Space-Age Risk Management To Oil And Gas Industry, NASA JSC

"NASA Johnson Space Center and Deloitte will enter into a strategic alliance offering advanced risk-management services to oil and gas companies. The Space Act Agreement commencement ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Central, Thursday, June 27.

These capabilities include several operational risk-management approaches aimed at companies seeking to minimize the risk of catastrophic failures - the kinds of dramatic mishaps that, while highly unlikely, can occur in remote and harsh environments."

Marc's note: You would think companies in the Oil and Gas industry would already be well versed in this area but perhaps JSC can provide risk-modeling and simulation tools they don't already have.

Final Report - IG-13-016 - NASA's Management of Commercial Orbital Transportation Services and ISS Commercial Resupply Contracts, NASA OIG

"The OIG review found that despite an almost 3-year delay in development, SpaceX completed its demonstration flights and two resupply missions to the ISS. Although each experienced some anomalies, none was serious enough to substantially impact the missions."

"Similar to SpaceX, Orbital has experienced delays in its development program and these delays in turn caused substantial delays to the planned flight schedule for the company's resupply missions to the Station. However, until recently NASA did not adjust its payment schedule to Orbital in light of these delays."

NASA OIG Report: NASA's Grant Administration and Management

"NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin today released a report that examined how well the Agency manages the $3 billion in grants its has awarded over the past 5 years to fund scientific research, scholarships, fellowships, and educational activities. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) review found that NASA does not have an adequate system of controls in place to ensure proper administration and management of its grant program."

NASA Gets a Good Audit Report

NASA Financials Get Clean Bill Of Health

"It marked the first time since the 2002 fiscal year that independent auditors issued a qualified opinion, with no material weaknesses, rather than a disclaimer of opinion on NASA's financial statements."

NASA Administrator's Internal Memo: FY 2010 Performance and Accountability Report

"Going forward, I am confident that we will remain vigilant in maintaining the public trust through safeguarding our assets, promoting integrity in financial stewardship, and pursuing teamwork in accounting and budgeting. Thank you for your hard work on behalf of the American people."

Keith's note: Alas, despite this audit, the agency still missed a huge budgetary and accounting issue with Webb's cost overruns. I wonder how the auditors missed this ...

This week at Cape Canaveral saw the red, white and blue honored by one of the most historic of American traditions. It also saw local leaders both working to improve the economic future of the Space Coast region and acknowledging the benefits of the shuttle era extending into another year.

Subcommittees Hold Oversight Hearing to Examine Audit of NASA's Financial Operations

"It only took about half as long to get to the moon as it has taken to clean up NASA's financial performance, but three tries, hundreds of millions of dollars and the hard work of many NASA employees later they have shown definite improvement," said Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC). "I feel the responsibility of ensuring that NASA is a good steward of the resources they are given--resources which ultimately come from the American taxpayers," said Subcommittee Chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)."

NASA OIG: NASA's Most Serious Management and Performance Challenges

"Through various Agency initiatives and by implementing recommendations made by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and other evaluative bodies, such as the Government Accountability Office, NASA is working to improve Agency programs and operations. However, challenges remain in the following areas:

* Transitioning from the Space Shuttle to the Next Generation of Space Vehicles
* Managing Risk to People, Equipment, and Mission
* Financial Management
* Acquisition and Contracting Processes
* Information Technology Security"

NASA OIG: Audit of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Fiscal Year 2009 Financial Statements

"In the "Report of Independent Auditors" (Enclosure 1), E&Y disclaimed an opinion on NASA's financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2009 and 2008. While the Agency made significant progress in improving its financial processes and systems, the disclaimer resulted from continued weaknesses in internal controls over accounting for legacy property, plant, and equipment (PP&E)."

NASA OIG: Audit of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Fiscal Year 2008 Financial Statements (Report No. IG-09-006)

"In the "Report of Independent Auditors", E&Y disclaimed an opinion on NASA's financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2008 and 2007. The disclaimer resulted from continued significant weaknesses in NASA's financial management processes and systems, including issues related to internal controls for property accounting.

The E&Y "Report on Internal Control" includes two significant deficiencies, which are considered to be material weaknesses. Material weaknesses were found in NASA's controls for (1) financial systems, analyses, and oversight used to prepare the financial statements, and (2) assuring that property, plant, and equipment and materials are presented fairly in the financial statements. These material weaknesses have been reported for several years.

The E&Y "Report on Compliance with Laws and Regulations" identifies certain instances in which NASA's financial management systems did not substantially comply with the requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (FFMIA)."

Commentary: NASA's new tenets for doing business, Federal Times

"As the new assistant administrator for procurement, I have tried to take a fresh look at NASA's procurement practice based on data from our current contracts. As a result of this assessment, I developed some principles for procurement that, if implemented, could improve our return on investment. These principles have become NASA's procurement tenets, nine guidelines that describe a new way of doing business:"

Governmentwide Purchase Cards: Actions Needed to Strengthen Internal Controls to Reduce Fraudulent, Improper, and Abusive Purchases. GAO-08-333, March 14.

Page 8: "At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a cardholder used the government purchase card to acquire two 60GB iPods. Although NASA officials maintained that the iPods were essential for official data storage, we found that the cardholder personalized the iPods with the requester's and agency's names and used the iPods to store songs and music videos. Although the iPods had some business files on them, we concluded that the purchase was abusive because other data storage devices without video and audio capabilities were available at lower costs."

Improper Payments: Weaknesses in USAID's and NASA's Implementation of the Improper Payments Information Act and Recovery Auditing, GAO

"While both USAID and NASA took steps to assess their payment activities for risk, including conducting a review of select payment streams for improper payments, we identified numerous deficiencies in their procedures. USAID and NASA lacked a systematic method to review and analyze program operations to determine if risks exist, what those risks are, and the potential or actual impact of those risks on program operations. For example, neither USAID nor NASA had developed a process to (1) identify risks that exist in their payment activities or (2) evaluate the results of their payment stream reviews, such as weighting and scoring the effectiveness of existing internal control over payments made and results from external audits."

Marshall Space Flight Center names deputy chief financial officer, WAFF

"Previously, Brown was executive director of finance operations for ConAgra Food Ingredients of Omaha, Neb., a $1 billion specialty food ingredients business. He was responsible for managing finance, information technology and supply chain initiatives for 34 ConAgra plants nationwide."

Editor's note: On one hand he has zero experience with NASA. Yet on the other hand, he has zero experience with NASA. Perhaps he won't know any better than to do things the right way!

IEMP Update

NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Blog: Integrated Enterprise Management Program (IEMP) - Gap Analysis

"Last week and this week, I have been going into a fair amount of detail on subjects that will be fairly dry to many. These issues, though - financial management and IEMP - are some of the very important foundations for NASA."

Internal Controls to Detect and Prevent Unauthorized and Potentially Fraudulent Purchase Card Transactions at Four NASA Centers Needed Improvement, NASA OIG

"Internal controls designed to detect and prevent unauthorized and potentially fraudulent transactions were not always followed. We reviewed 1,749 transactions identified through data mining techniques and judgmental sampling that totaled approximately $2.1 million. We identified 875 transactions (50 percent), totaling $831,953.82, that did not comply with regulatory and program guidance."

Final Memorandum Addressing Unneccessary Subcontract Costs and Other Deficiencies in GSFC's Multiple Award Schedule Procurement Process, NASA OIG

"We found that Goddard personnel involved in the MOBIS schedule 874 procurement process improperly directed a prime contractor to subcontract with a particular subcontractor, did not chose the most appropriate and cost-effective procurement method to execute the contract action, and wasted funds by paying $169,546.70 in unnecessary subcontract costs."

NASA Internal Memo: Message From the Deputy Administrator - IEMP SVU and CMM Projects

"The Integrated Enterprise Management Program (IEMP) has two major projects, which will become operational on Nov. 13, 2006. The SAP Version Upgrade (SVU) project is implementing a version update to NASA's financial system. ... The Contract Management Module (CMM) project is implementing a new commercial application, which streamlines and provides efficiencies to the procurement process, including contract writing, management and reporting."

More IEMP Stumbles

NASA's SAP Launch Drags - Inspector general blasts the $116M financial systems upgrade , Computer World

"A major upgrade to the core financial systems of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has encountered turbulence from end users and the agency's inspector general before getting far off the ground. The $116 million financials upgrade is the cornerstone of a larger project, dubbed the Integrated Enterprise Management Program, which is expected to cost $1.1 billion. The IEMP uses R/3 financial applications from SAP AG, and when completed, it's expected to improve financial, contractual, asset management and other procedures throughout NASA."

Preliminary Observations on Review of NASA's Readiness to Implement Project Management Information Improvement, Phase I, NASA OIG (PDF)

NASA Internal Memo: Message from the Administrator: Project Management Information Improvement

GAO Report: Financial Management: Achieving FFMIA Compliance Continues to Challenge Agencies (NASA Exceprts)

"At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), auditors reported numerous weaknesses in the core financial system, the integrated financial management system first implemented by NASA in fiscal year 2003. We have previously reported on problems NASA faced when implementing this system."

PriceWaterHouseCoopers, LLP To Pay U.S. $41.9 Million to Settle False Claims Involving Claims for Travel, Department of Justice

"PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PWC) has agreed to pay $41.9 million to settle allegations that it made false claims to the United States in connection with claims it made to federal agencies for travel reimbursement. ... The settlement resulted from an investigation by the Justice Department's Civil Division ... and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ..."

NASA's finances in disarray; auditor quits, Reuters

"In a scathing report on NASA's Sept. 30, 2003, financial statement which got scant attention at its release but was detailed in a cover story in the May issue of CFO Magazine [PriceWaterhouseCoopers] accused the space agency of one of the cardinal sins of the accounting world: failing to record its own costs properly."

Financial Audit: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Fiscal Year 2004 Management Representation Letter on Its Financial Statements. GAO-05-591R, June 23.

"NASA's fiscal year 2004 management representation letter did not provide all the information necessary to support Treasury and OMB's preparation of the CFS management representation letter. This in turn impacted our ability to rely on the representations in the CFS management representation letter in combination with individual federal agency representation letters."

Finanical Management: Thousands of Civilian Agency Contractors Abuse the Federal System with Little Consequence, GAO

"To demonstrate the effect of payments to contractors using the purchase card, we obtained the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) fiscal year 2004 purchase card transactions and compared the contractors from which NASA purchased goods and services to the IRS unpaid taxes database."

NASA OIG: Synopsis of Management Issues Associated with NASA's Integrated Financial Management Program

"In my view, the attached synopsis reflects the most significant problems in financial management at NASA: financial management is decentralized, with Center Chief Financial Officers more responsive to Center operational needs than to enterprise solutions for the Agency, and Agency-wide business processes suitable for an integrated approach have not been established. Proceeding with enterprise solutions under these circumstances is untenable."

NASA HQ IFM Newsletter 24 May 2005

"A week or so ago, we briefed the usual line-up of Bill Atkins, Ken Munro, and Kristi Karls on the state of the IFM Program. Though there was another staffer chap (whose name I did not catch, unfortunately) that though he was more like their Andie MacDowell to our Bill Murray - he's on the minority side, so his point of view did not count. Ah well ... and as they say in Punxsutawney, "Tomorrow's another day!"

NASA Internal Memo: Enterprise Council (EC) ViTS 19 April 2005

"In the future, when someone goes to the Hill on a request from Congress, make sure that Code A, the Office of Legislative Affairs, and the Office of Public Affairs know so there is coordination of one NASA message."

Editor's note: Gee, I wonder what NASA Legislative Affairs thinks of this arrogant and dismissive attitude on the part of HQ IFM employees when it comes to their Congressional interactions - that is, of course, assuming that there is anyone left in Code L who knows enough to pay attention to such things. Curiously, one of Mike Griffin's inner circle, Liam Sarsfield, is supposedly working closely with the IFM crowd.

NASA Internal Memo: IAM Update

"We recognize that, while Headquarters continues to assess the budget and scope of IAM, some of you have been compelled to react independently of an Agency budget decision. I can assure you that an Agency position is forthcoming; unfortunately, I cannot predict when that position will be announced. Given the sizable costs and the significant strategic impact of IAM, the decision will likely not get made until after the new Administrator is on board. Meanwhile, to protect the prerogatives of the new Administrator, we should not assume or act as if a decision has been made one way or the other."

NASA HQ IFM Newsletter 11 April 2005

"We're still keeping the IAM project warm and humming, despite the recent sweeping of the grim reaper's scythe through the Program's budget, the detailing away of the IAM project manager, and no real decision made yet on our future. Leaves us in the somewhat odd position of having the GAO as our bedfellow for wanting to see the IFM Program through as originally designed."

NASA HQ IFM Newsletter 4 April 2005, NASA HQ

"Would you like to complain about IFMP? Well here's your chance to let it rip. Or even, heaven forbid, pay a compliment....maybe we should have one of those "American Idol" type dial-ins every now and again...until then, here's what we'll be doing. Very soon you will hear much more regarding the Customer Satisfaction Survey that will be conducted by the Competency Center in mid-April."

NASA HQ IFM Newsletter 29 March 2005

"Inspector General announces audit of the Integrated Asset Management (IAM) Project: ... The IG maintains its record-breaking run on the investigation of the IFM Program by announcing yet another audit, this time they are going to assess the adequacy of NASAs early planning for requirements and life-cycle operations for the IAM Project; specifically focusing on (amongst other things) ensuring we have effective procedures for planning and monitoring the development of the module, identifying all users, and making sure we have the right set of user requirements obtained following the right set of processes."

Editor's note: I certainly can't imagine why the NASA OIG would want to check up on NASA's financial management system! After all, NASA's IFM Program has been so amazingly timely, accurate, and ahead of schedule these past few years ... Now if only they could pay travel vouchers on time.

GAO High Risk Series: An Update (NASA Excerpts) GAO-05-207

"One of NASA's most formidable barriers to sound contract management is the lack of an integrated financial management system. In 2003, GAO reported that, in implementing its most recent system, NASA did not reengineer its core business processes or establish adequate requirements for the system to address many of its most significant management challenges, including producing credible cost estimates."

24 September 2004: NASA OIG: NASA's Travel Module Lacks Management Control Structure and Compliance With Federal Requirements (IG-04-027)

"... because of the reporting and integration limitations, it was impossible to determine whether, in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations, NASA travelers were reimbursed within 30 days or whether interest was paid when reimbursements were late. In other words, no mechanized insight existed for determining if the system was working properly."

23 June 2004: NASA: Lack of Disciplined Cost-Estimating Processes Hinders Effective Program Management GAO-04-642, GAO

"NASA has limited ability to collect the program cost and schedule data needed to meet basic cost-estimating criteria. For example, as GAO has previously reported, NASA does not have a system to capture reliable financial and performance data key to using effectively the cost-estimating tools that NASA officials state that programs employ. Further, without adequate financial and nonfinancial data, programs cannot easily track an acquisition's progress and assess whether the program can meet its cost and schedule goals before it incurs significant cost and schedule overruns."

Space and taxes

21 June 2004: Senator Bill Nelson requests expedited probe of NASA contractors for unpaid taxes

"Spurred in part by a new recommendation to the president that NASA allow more private sector involvement in space operations, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson today called for an expedited investigation into NASA contractors who get work despite owing unpaid taxes. Nelson's request also comes in response to an earlier study by the General Accounting Office that revealed 27,000 contractors for the Defense Department owe the government over $3 billion in unpaid federal taxes. Forty-seven of those contractors received closer scrutiny; and, a top GAO official has confirmed for Nelson that several work for NASA."

20 May 2004: NASA's bookkeeping system still won't fly, Orlando Sentinel

"Nearly 2 1/2 years after NASA chief Sean O'Keefe vowed to straighten up the agency's bookkeeping, the effort continues to struggle. "It may be years before NASA can get a clean audit," said Robert Cobb, the agency's inspector general, during a hearing Wednesday of a subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee."

19 May 2004: NASA systems: Houston, we have a problem, GCN News

"NASA's has bungled its $982.7 million enterprise resource planning system project in a way that caused the agency to lose track of $2 billion in its Treasury Department account and forced it to adjust its books, witnesses told a House committee this afternoon."

19 May 2004: Mission Impossible? Fixing NASA's Financial Management, House Government Reform Committee

"The Government Reform Subcommittee on Efficiency and Financial Management will hold an oversight hearing to look at problems with financial management at NASA, where recent audits have revealed serious problems."

18 May 2004: Updated NSSC Site Seletion Process and Q&A 01

18 May 2004: NASA Shared Services Center Industry Day, NASA

"NASA will hold a two-day industry day to provide an overview and current status of the NSSC acquisition and to provide a forum for potential offerors to get information and meet with representatives from the six possible sites for the NSSC. Industry day will be held June 2-3, 2004."

14 May 2004: NASA's finances in disarray; auditor quits, Reuters

"PriceWaterhouseCoopers and NASA parted ways earlier this year, according to the space agency's inspector general, Robert Cobb. PriceWaterhouseCoopers declined to comment, but a source familiar with the situation said the audit firm opted out of the contract because it was unhappy with the relationship."

3 May 2004: NASA, We Have a Problem
Can Gwendolyn Brown fix the space agency's chronic financial woes?

"Two weeks later, troubling new doubts were raised about NASA's financial management. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the agency's auditor, issued a disclaimed opinion on NASA's 2003 financial statements. PwC complained that NASA couldn't adequately document more than $565 billion - billion - in year-end adjustments to the financial-statement accounts, which NASA delivered to the auditors two months late. Because of "the lack of a sufficient audit trail to support that its financial statements are presented fairly," concluded the auditors, "it was not possible to complete further audit procedures on NASA's September 30, 2003, financial statements within the reporting deadline established by [the Office of Management and Budget]."

13 March 2003: Important Notice to all NASA LaRC Contractors

"The Center's Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Finance has determined that it is prudent to make early payments prior to closing the legacy financial system. Invoices received between April 16 and May 7, 2003, will not be subject to the Prompt Payment Act waiting period and will be paid early."

11 March 2003: NASA OIG: NASA'S Reduction of Undefinitized Contract Actions, NASA OIG (link to full report)

"We found that NASA had significantly reduced both the number and dollar amount of UCAs since the General Accounting Office highlighted them as one reason for identifying contract management as a major management challenge for NASA. By November 30, 2002, NASA had reduced the number of UCAs to 19 with a total estimated value of $61 million, representing reductions of about 90 percent in the number of UCAs and 97 percent in estimated dollar value. We also found that three Centers reviewed had inconsistent policies, which could cause inaccurate UCA reporting on certain relatively low-value contracts."

GAO on workforce issues

31 January 2003: Report: GAO Performance and Accountability Series: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

"In its 2001 performance and accountability report on NASA, GAO identified important management, oversight, and workforce issues facing the agency. The information GAO presents in this report is intended to help sustain congressional attention and an agency focus on continuing to make progress in addressing these challenges - and others that have arisen since 2001 - and ultimately overcoming them."

GAO gives NASA thumbs up

17 January 2003: "Acquisition Workforce: Status of Agency Efforts to Address Future Needs", GAO (Acrobat)

20 January 2003: GAO reports on acquisition workforce, Federal Computer Week

"The departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs and the General Services Administration are developing plans to strengthen their acquisition workforce specifically, while NASA and the departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services are drafting overall plans to strengthen their workforces."

19 January 2003: Report lauds acquisition workforce training efforts, Government Executive

"GAO praised NASA and the VA for developing new information management systems so they can track current acquisition employees' skills sets and identify gaps they need to fill in the future. This is important because many agencies lack good data on their procurement workforces, such as information on workers' knowledge and skills sets, attrition rates and retirement rates, the report said."

15 January 2003: NASA Passes Audit With Flying Colors

Editor's note: word has it that NASA got a verbal confirmation today that it had passed an audit conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and that it would receive an "unqualified" rating. In other words - acceptable. The formal auditor's report is due in a few weeks. Quite a turn around from the last audit conducted during Dan Goldin's tenure - one that NASA flunked.

20 March 2002: NASA chief seeks to remedy accounting woes, Government Executive

1 March 2002: Audit of NASA Financial Statements, NASA OIG

28 February 2002: Results of federal agencies' fiscal 2001 audits, Government Executive

15 January 2003: ISSP Flight Readiness and Program Progress

15 January 2003: ISS Assembly Sequence Critical Path Assessment

15 January 2003: ISS Top Program Risks

15 January 2003: ISS Agreements/Barters/Offsets Status

15 January 2003: ISS Research Accommodations Status 4 December 2002 (Data through 30 November 2002)

Editor's note: Charts Source: ISS Monthly Program Review, Vol. 127, 6 December 2002

Hang on ... here we go ...

14 January 2003: Headquarters Implementation of the Core Financial System: Impact on Travel Voucher Processing and Payment

"NASA Headquarters will implement the Core Financial module of the Integrated Financial Management Program (IFMP) in February 2003. Implementation will result in a suspension of travel Voucher payments for vouchers submitted after January 17, 2003. The anticipated date for resuming voucher payments is March 10, 2003. The oldest and highest dollar value vouchers will be prioritized for payment beginning on March 10."

14 January 2003: NASA Improves Costing Capabilities by Making Galorath's SEER Tools Available Corporate-wide

"NASA began using SEER-H at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama in the early 1990's. Over the years, many of the other centers began using the tools and it became more economical to buy a corporate license, stated Hamaker, who worked as a cost engineer and analyst at Marshall before being promoted to headquarters. "In general, SEER is just a very good set of modeling tools," said Hamaker. "We are able to calibrate SEER to our historical track record and we've come to understand which parameters are applicable to NASA so our estimating can be continuously refined and more accurate."

Editor's note: I am a little confused. I thought NASA was overhauling its IFMP given that the old way of doing things was broken - or was it that NASA had the right tools but didn't use them?

WHere's my check?

10 January 2003: GRC Reimbursement System Back on Track?

A notice being circulated at GRC from a NASA Watch: "I just spoke with the bank - we can resume using our purchase cards."

From another reader at MSFC: "Thanks to the new NASA IFMP (Integrated Financial Management Program [Problem]) many people at MSFC did not get timely reimbursements for government travel. As a result, some travelers had their Bank of America (BoA) government cards cancelled when they were late with payments. I personally didn't receive a reimbursement (just under $1,000) until 1/3/03 for a trip I took at the end of 9/02. According to the 12/19/02 edition of the "Marshall Star", 300 NASA team members were honored with awards for their work on the IFMP and O'Keefe and Mulville attended the ceremony."

Here we go ....

31 December 2002: Notice to Ames Research Center Vendors

"The following letter was distributed on December 12, 2002 Dear NASA Vendor: Ames Research Center will be shutting down its financial systems in early January to cut over to a new integrated financial management system. The shut down may result in some payment delays."

NASA Watch reader comment from GRC: "GRC is one of the "pilot" centers initiating the IFMS. The system is so fouled up that our purchase account at Bank of America has been suspended (No credit card purchases are being allowed by BofA) since the new system has so many bugs in it that payment can't be made (so far GRC is more than 90 days in arrears)."

Another NASA Watch reader comment from GRC: "The travel manager package was not issuing reimbursement checks for a couple of months, especially to those people who made changes from their
original plans. There was a problem with getting the P-card software to authorize the
SAP software to make a payment to the Bank of America for our Mastercards that we use to make purchases. Bank of America recently "cancelled" our bankcards. We can't buy anything since shortly before Christmas. They were trying to correct the problem, but as of Tuesday morning, no word was given on success. Management meetings have not been occurring since no one can download the financial data."



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