recommended reading

Audit: NASA not doing enough to combat fraud in business program

The NASA Inspector General's office released a report Wednesday detailing more than $2 million of waste and fraud involving NASA research grants provided in conjunction with the Small Business Administration's Small Business Innovation Research program.

The audit was initiated after an investigation found unscrupulous applicants collected payments multiple times. The SBIR program works with other federal agencies such as NASA to direct federal research dollars to qualified small businesses.

The review found that "while NASA's initial choice of SBIR award recipients appeared objective and merit-based, its oversight and monitoring of awards was deficient," with the result that about 25 percent of the awards included improper payments totaling $2.7 million.

In response to the IG report, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., urged NASA to quickly implement the inspector general's recommendations. They included calling on the agency to implement 24 internal controls aimed at helping to prevent and detect SBIR fraud and abuse such as better training for SBIR evaluators and enhanced cooperation with SBA on combating waste and fraud.

"Government-supported scientific research and innovation is one of the keys to our country's future economic growth. We can't afford to lose any of our precious research and development dollars to waste, fraud or abuse," Rockefeller said in a statement.

The Senate passed legislation in the last Congress to reauthorize SBIR and the SBA's Small Business Technology Transfer program that included language added by Rockefeller and Senate Small Business ranking member Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, aimed at addressing concerns about fraud and abuse, Rockefeller said. The bill, however, died in the House.

Snowe said the IG's report "highlights the need for Congress to pass comprehensive legislation reauthorizing the SBIR program and providing agencies with the necessary tools to improve their oversight efforts."

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.