National Security Agency (NSA) - Prior Approval Guidelines

Foreign Travel - Whether Specifically Listed in Budget or Not Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Domestic Travel - Exceeding Budget by $500 or 25% (Greater Amount) Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Equipment Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Preaward Cost 90 Days or Less Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Extensions of Time w/o Additional Funds Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Change in Scope of Objectives Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Change in Key Personnel Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Land Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Consultants Sponsor - Grants Officer 
Printing Sponsor - Grants Officer 



I. NSA Approval Policy

An agency grant or cooperative agreement for the performance of research or other activities is consummated through an instrument signed by the Agency Grant/Contracting Officer and an authorized representative of the Performing Organization. The instrument will consist of a basic agreement, the proposal and any other technical documents agreed upon by the parties. The Instrument establishes the conditions of the grant or cooperative agreement incorporating the general provisions contained herein and including such other special provisions as may be required.

II. Definitions

A. Prior Approval

For purposes of this issuance "prior approval" is defined as the written permission by an authorized official in advance of an act that would result in the obligation or expenditure of grant funds for certain purposes not included in the approved budget as shown on the award document. All prior approval requests must be sent to SPS 30 days prior to the requested action.

B. Equipment

An article of nonexpendable tangible personnel property having a useful life of more than two years and an acquisition cost of $5000 or more per unit.

(1) General purpose equipment is equipment which is unusable for other than research, medical, scientific, or technical activities, whether or not special modifications are needed to make it suitable for a particular purpose. Examples are office equipment and furnishings, air conditioning equipment, reproduction and printing equipment, motor vehicles and automatic data processing equipment.

(2) Scientific equipment is equipment which is usable only for research, medical, scientific, or technical activities. Examples include microscopes, microfuges, incubators, and centrifuges. 

C. Travel Costs

Expenses for transportation, lodging, subsistence, and related items incurred by project personnel who are in travel status on business incident to the project.

(1) Foreign Travel

Travel outside the United States and its territories and possessions.

(2) Domestic Travel

Travel within the U.S. is domestic travel. the U.S. includes Guam, America Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Canal Zone, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

III. Prior Approval Process

No prior approval is needed for rebudget - The PI working within the policies of the Performing Organization is considered to be best qualified to determine the most effective use of the agreement funds in accomplishing the proposed project.

A. Prior Approvals Needed From Sponsor 

(1) Change in Scope or Objective - Performing Organizations in which scientific or other technical effort is sponsored by grants are encouraged to discontinue or modify unpromising lines of investigation, or to explore interesting leads which may appear during the development of the program. NSA must, however, be consulted prior to any changes that might lead to significant deviations from the objectives or overall program of the original effort.  Such changes should be proposed to the Program Manager by the PI in a written communication countersigned by the PI's Authorized Organization Representative.  If approved by the CO, the Agreement will be amended to reflect the change.

(2) Change in Key Personnel - the Performing Organization will immediately inform the CO when it appears that the PI will not be able to devote substantially the time proposed or otherwise fulfill the agreed commitment to the project.  Written approval of the CO will be required to change the PI or to continue the effort during a period of more than three months without the participation of an approved PI.

(3) Foreign travel - Must be specifically approved for each separate trip whether itemized in the budget or not.

(4) Domestic travel - When exceeding the amount allotted by $500 or 25% whichever is greater.

(5) Equipment - Purchase of general purpose equipment not itemized in the budget. Purchase of nonexpendable property not in the budget, and purchase of nonexpendable property costing $5,000 or more with a useful life of at least 2 years and not itemized in the approved budget, or which exceeds the allotted amount by 25 percent.

(6) Land - Expenditures for the acquisition of land or any interest therein.

(7) Consultants - Expenditures for the utilization of the services of consultants not previously provided for under the agreement or itemized in the budget.

(8) Printing - Expenditures for printing and binding unless otherwise specified in the agreement.

(9) No Cost Extension - Any request for extension of the agreement must be submitted in writing by the Performing Organization to the CO. Mutually agreeable time extensions will be effected by written modification to the agreement. Requests for extensions exceeding six months must be accompanied by a revised cost estimate indicating the planned use of unexpended funds during the extension period.

(10) Preaward Costs 90 Days or Less - All requests for preaward costs must be approved by the sponsor.

(11) Any approvals required by OMB Circular A-110

Sponsored Program Services may approve only prior to commitment and/or expenditure of funds. The grantee may ask the Grant Administrative Officer for approval in unusual circumstances.

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