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Financial Data Transparency
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Financial Data Transparency

From Transparency Breeds Accountability


this signifies a fact sheet with 'transparency.'
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This signifies a fact sheet with 'collaboration'.

Transparency and Accountability are two hallmarks of a 21st Century government. As we lean forward into becoming more transparent, we must follow current legislation and Administration policies. NASA maintains transparency on financial data including what is budgeted for our programs; what we achieve for the annual spending on these same programs; how much they are estimated to cost across their life cycle; and how the funds were spent in the various procurements and awards to recipients, that support these programs.

In the past, there were three major pieces of legislation that provided a basis for NASA's financial data reporting. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 required NASA to issue plans on how we will spend our budget and the results we intended to achieve. The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 required the agency to provide life cycle cost estimates for our largest programs, and annual updates to these estimates, with the annual budget request to the Congress. This data has been made public since that time. And finally, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 required NASA to make its awards of the funds transparent to the public. NASA complied with these laws and continues to work to make it easier for the public to access our financial data.

NASA latest efforts around financial data transparency involve the more recently enacted American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. The implementation of the Recovery Act, builds on the foundation laid by GPRA, the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 and FFATA, with the addition of direct reporting by the recipients of NASA's funds on progress toward these expenditures into the FederalReporting.gov system. NASA also maintains compliance with the Recovery Act, and has used the ensuing processes to better understand the elements required for increased transparency.

Fiscal Year 2009 Extent of Competition

Image of Sample Graph Example of USAspending.gov service, NASA's 2009 Extent of Competition

Total dollars: $14,867,479,006
Total number of contractors: 4,140
Total number of transactions: 31,134

Available for everyone for competition$5,506,210,082
Everyone could compete, but only one bid or offer was received$881,384,217
Competition within a limited pool$1,471,861,649
Actions necessary to continue existing competitive contracts for continuity (until the next one could be competed)$1,544,086,236
Available only for groups such as disabled persons, prisoners, and regulated utilities$340,170,271
Not competed for an allowable reason$5,123,550,850
Not identified, soon to be addressed$215,700

NASA Recovery Awards Map
www.nasa.gov/recovery/maps/ recovery_awards.html

Image of Map Example of USAspending.gov service, NASA's 2009 Extent of Competition

Clicking on each state pulls up the Recovery Award information for each state. The information can then be drilled down to Congressional District, Type of Business, and individual contract information.


The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires Federal agencies to issue plans for how they plan to spend budgeted resources and what they intend to achieve with the investments. This process starts with a strategic plan that sets the mission and outlines an Agency's goals, outcomes, and objectives for at least five years. Our annual performance plan then describes the performance indicators and program outputs needed to achieve their goals, outcomes, and objectives. In addition to financial data, we outline the long-term strategic goals, multi-year outcomes, and annual performance goals (APGs) in the NASA Congressional Budget Justification and how we tracked toward these in the Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). This latter report includes performance information and financial statements, as well as our management challenges, and plans and efforts to overcome them.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2005, Section 103: Baselines and Cost Controls, was enacted to assure better management of our major programs. This important legislation provided a basis for transparency to the public, of the full life cycle investment that a program would require for achieving its goals. Per the legislation, a baseline report is to be provided in the next budget submission once a program has been approved to begin development. This is applicable to any project with an estimated lifecycle cost greater than $250M. The ensuing Major Program Annual Report (MPAR) is required with the yearly budget request, to provide an update to the baseline report with adjustments to key program information such as life cycle cost, milestones, and deliverables.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006 empowers every American to hold the government accountable for each spending decision and help reduce wasteful spending. The FFATA legislation requires information on Federal awards be made available to the public via a single, searchable Web site. The searchable Web site the government has created is USAspending.gov. The data is largely from two sources:

  • The Federal Procurement Data System, which contains information about Federal contracts.
  • The Federal Assistance Award Data System, which contains information about Federal financial assistance such as grants, loans, insurance, and direct subsidies.

The latest attempts to ensure financial transparency involve The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), which was signed into law law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 in an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy. We are fully implementing the requirements for the Recovery Act, as provided by Congress, to it to invest in the American public and assure transparency and accountability. Recipients of Recovery Act funding are required to submit data quarterly for any grants, loans, and Federally awarded contracts through federalreporting.gov.

Currently, the annual NASA Congressional Budget Justification, with the its enclosed MPAR, the annual PAR and information on the agency's awards, both Recovery Act and non-Recovery Act funded, are available to the public. Collectively, these provide key financial information, and are found on the World Wide Web, as outlined below.

How This Fits into Open Government

Financial transparency and accountability efforts provide the public with information about how their tax dollars are spent. Citizens have a right and need to understand where tax dollars are spent. Collecting data about the various types of contracts, grants, loans, and other types of spending in our government will provide a broader picture of to the Federal spending processes. The ability to look at contracts, grants, loans, and other types of spending across many agencies, in greater detail, is a key ingredient to building public trust in government and credibility in the professionals who use these agreements. Unprecedented transparency through new reporting requirements along with unprecedented accountability through new multiple controls and IG audits, to include high-level attention from OMB, GAO, Congress, and the White House.

Open Government Goals

  • Three months
    • Update the Recovery Act Program Plans to provide the public with the most current snapshot of NASA's activities to enact this initiative.
      v1.5 Status Update: The Recovery Act Program Plans have been updated to provide a current snapshot of NASA Activites. More information is available at http://www.nasa.gov/recovery
    • Publish the FY 2010 Annual Performance Plan Update to reflect changes to commitments due to budget actions.
      v1.5 Status Update: The FY2010 Annual Performance Plan will be published by the deadline of November 15, 2010.
    • Modify internal guidance and processes to account for recent and upcoming Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) requirements, as well as, lessons-learned regarding the recipient reporting data review process.
      v1.5 Status Update: Action has been completed.
  • Six months
    • Complete proposed FY 2011 Annual Performance Plan.
    • Utilize lessons-learned from NASA's implementation of the Recovery Act transparency elements in the development of the processes for Open.gov initiative.
  • One year
    • Submit annual Performance and Accountability Report.
    • Deliver the Major Program Baseline and Annual Reports.
    • Closeout Recovery Act activities, and provide a final summary of the implementation to the public, on NASA's website.
  • Two years
    • Submit annual Performance and Accountability Report.

Useful Links

  1. Executive Office of the President Office of Management and Budget, Circular No. A-11-Preparation, Submission and Execution of the Budget
  2. NASA Annual Budget Request and Performance and Accountability Reports
  3. Guidance on Data Submission under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA)
  4. NASA's Award Information on the web
  5. Overview of the NASA's Implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)
  6. Federal-wide Information on the Implementation of the Recovery Act
  7. Recovery Act Funded Recipient Reporting