Conference and Group Travel Policies and Procedures

August 4, 2015


NOAA Implementation of Policies and Procedures in Conferences and Group Travel Policy Memorandum 14-01

This Acquisition Alert is being transmitted to the Acquisition Management Advisory Council (AMAC), and all NOAA Heads of Contracting Offices (HCOs) for dissemination within their respective Acquisition Divisions.

Purpose: The purpose of this Acquisition Alert is to implement the policies and procedures set forth in attached NOAA Chief Financial Officer Policy Memorandum (PM) 14-01 when seeking approval for conference expenses. 

Background: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Memorandum 11-35, dated September 21, 2011, instructing all agencies β€œto conduct a thorough review of the policies and controls associated with conference-related activities and expenses.” OMB further expanded these efforts by issuing Memorandum 12-12, dated May 11, 2012, which outlined a series of new policies and practices for conference sponsorship, hosting, and attendance to ensure that Federal funds are used appropriately on these activities, and that agencies continue to reduce spending on conferences where practicable. In addition, for FY 2012, the Department of Commerce (DOC) received an appropriation provision requiring the Department to submit quarterly reports to the Inspector General on the costs and contracting procedures relating to conferences held by the agency during FY 2012 for which the cost to the Government was more than $20,000.

Applicability: On July 7, 2014, the Chief Financial Officer issued PM 14-01 to provide guidance to all Line and Staff Offices (L/SOs) on conferences and to establish conference approval levels and reporting requirements. Therefore, the guidance established in PM 14-01, and hereby implemented by issuance of this Alert, shall be applied to all purchase requests submitted for conference expenses. 

Guidance: Effective immediately, all purchase requests for conference expenses submitted to an Acquisition Division or Field Delegate must be accompanied by the proper approval documentation set forth in the NOAA Chief Financial Officer PM 14-01. Any purchase request that does not contain the proper approval documentation will be returned to the Line or Staff Office without action. These changes will be incorporated into a more formal AGO policy in the near future.

Point of Contact: Questions concerning this Acquisition Alert should be directed to Dale Henderson, Acquisition and Grants Office (AGO), Policy and Oversight Division (POD), at or by telephone at 816-823-3836.


  1. NOAA Chief Financial Officer PM 14-01
  2. Finance Policy Memorandum – Conferences, issued October 2, 2014
  3. OMB Memorandum 12-12
  4. OMB Memorandum 11-35
  5. Finance Conference Approval Process – July 2014