NAO 202-451: NOAA Incentive Awards Program


Issued 03/20/99; Effective 03/10/09;
Reviewed Last: In Process

NAO 202-451: NOAA Incentive Awards Program PDF




.01 This Order establishes NOAA’s policies regarding its Incentive Awards Program. Incentive Awards are used to provide recognition to employees for significant achievements that benefit NOAA, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the federal government.

.02 This Order is a revision and retitling of the previously issued Order. The revision addresses formatting issues and updates terminology that is no longer in use. Specific awards originally detailed in the previously issued Order are now described in the NOAA Incentive Awards Program Handbook.


This Order applies to all incentive awards granted by NOAA with the exception of those awards unique to the Senior Executive Service and NOAA Corps Officers.

.01 Information on awards unique to members of the Senior Executive Service can be found in the DOC Executive Personnel Policy Manual and its associated Appendix.

.02 For awards unique to NOAA Corps Officers, please refer to the NOAA Commissioned Corps Directives, Chapter 12. Uniforms and Awards.


.01 The NOAA Incentive Awards Program provides a method to recognize employees' significant achievements and ideas that benefit DOC, NOAA, and the federal government. As a management tool, it provides a visible and effective way to communicate and reinforce those objectives most important to organizational success and retention of a highly-motivated workforce.

.02 The NOAA Incentive Awards Program is composed of a wide variety of awards in the following categories: External, Honorary, Monetary, and Non-Monetary. Descriptions of the awards available can be found in the NOAA Incentive Awards Program Handbook.

.03 NOAA utilizes DOC’s Honor Awards Program, as well as many of its monetary and non-monetary authorities.

04. NOAA has also established awards programs unique to the bureau.

05. The awards established by this Order are available to all NOAA federal employees as defined by 5 USC §2105 except when specifically excluded by programs detailed in the NOAA Incentive Awards Program Handbook. Employees who do not meet the definition found in 5 USC §2105 are only eligible for certain non-monetary awards.


.01 Rating Officials.

a. Rating Officials have the major responsibility for ensuring the effective use of incentive awards and preserving the program's credibility. Effective use means:

  1. Encouraging better performance and employee ideas for improvement;
  2. Rewarding superior achievements promptly;
  3. Being fair and objective in granting awards; and
  4. Publicizing what awards are granted to whom and why.

b. Rating Officials must retain an approved copy of each award form in an Employee Performance File (EPF) for a minimum of three years.

.02 Line and Staff Offices.

a. Line and Staff Offices must maintain records, including the authorization document, of established awards programs unique to their organizations.

b. Line and Staff Offices must maintain records of nominations submitted to the Workforce Management Office to be considered by the NOAA Incentive Awards Board.

c. Line and Staff Offices are responsible for developing incentive award implementation plans and making the plans available to all covered employees.

.03 NOAA Incentive Awards Board (NIAB).

a. The NIAB consists of representatives from each Line Office and at least one member representing all of the Staff Offices. Board members are appointed by represented organization.

b. The NIAB acts as an advisory body on incentive awards policies and procedures, when requested, and considers specific actions at the request of the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere.


01. 5 USC Chapter 45

02. 5 CFR Part 451

03. Department of Commerce Performance Management System Handbook

04. Department of Commerce Alternative Personnel System Operating Procedures

05. DAO 202-452, Incentive Awards for Federal Inventors

06. DAO 202-454, Suggestion Program

07. NOAA Commissioned Corps Directives, Chapter 12, Uniforms and Awards


Further information on the awards programs mentioned in this NAO can be found in the NOAA Incentive Awards Program Handbook


This Order supersedes NAO 202-451, NOAA Incentive Awards Program, dated May 20, 1998.

Recent additions, revisions, or amendments to the NAO series will be identified and highlighted on the NAO website to draw the attention of website visitor. Revocation Notices will be posted for a brief period and also will be highlighted.


Mary Glackin
Deputy Under Secretary

Office of Primary Interest:
Workforce Management Office