Compliance with Cost Limits
GAO-05-492R: Published: Apr 8, 2005. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 2005.
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Section 202 of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-391, 202, 114 Stat. 1577, 1587 (Oct. 30, 2000) requires that GAO verify NASA's accounting for amounts obligated against established limits for the space station and related space shuttle support. Under the act, obligations are limited to $25 billion for the International Space Station's (ISS) development and $17.7 billion for shuttle launches in connection with the space station's assembly. In the past, we have advised Congressional committees that NASA was unable to provide detailed support for the amounts obligated against the limits. Thus, we could not verify the amounts that NASA reported in its budget requests to Congress.
As part of its fiscal year 2006 budget request, NASA reported that of the $23.7 billion that had been appropriated for ISS and related activities from fiscal year 1994 through fiscal year 2004, approximately $23.5 billion was obligated as of September 30, 2004. NASA did not report the amounts obligated for shuttle launch costs. Furthermore, NASA is still unable to provide detailed support for the amounts obligated against the limits. Thus, we could not verify the amounts NASA reported to Congress in its budget requests for fiscal years 2002 through 2006. NASA has acknowledged the financial reporting challenges it faces and recently implemented a new integrated financial management system. Although NASA is still working through some significant systems implementation issues, the goal of the new system is to improve the availability and reliability of NASA's financial data.