U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Was this page helpful?

Performance management handbook (recognition) - chapter 15

Chapter 15. External Awards


Each year, the Department participates in award programs sponsored by external organizations, associations, or foundations. Awards run the gamut from those which recognize financial management to awards for women in science and engineering. Employees who meet the award programs' specific criteria may be nominated. Due dates vary by each award.

Department and Bureau Roles

The Department is not involved in the review or vetting of external award nominations. The bureaus may submit nominations directly to the sponsoring organizations under the conditions listed below. Previously, the Department solicited nominations from the bureaus for a variety of awards, vetted those nominations, and the Department’s Incentive Awards Board reviewed and recommended which nominations should be forwarded to the sponsoring organization. The Department has reviewed this practice and has determined there is no value added by its role in this process. A key role of the Department in this process was the vetting of the nominations by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Office of Security (OSY), and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to ensure there was no adverse information that would preclude an employee from being nominated for a specific award. It is critical that nominees still be vetted. Therefore, under this new policy, the bureaus will be responsible for conducting clearances on all nominees prior to submission to the external organization. Listed below are the Department and the bureaus’ roles in the External Award Program.

Department Role:

  • Send out a notice to the bureaus that an organization is requesting nominations, if the Department receives such a request. (Bureaus may also submit nominations for other awards not advertised by the Department.)

Bureau Role:

  • Notify the Department of the following:
    • Names of Employees/Organizations nominated for a specific award 
    • Notification that all nominees were vetted with HR, OCR, OGC, OSY and OIG
    • Notification that the Secretarial Officer or Head of the Operating Unit approved the submission of the nomination

Please contact the Department’s Incentive Awards Officer for an e-mail template and the contact information for individuals in OCR, OGC, OSY, and OIG responsible for conducting clearances.

NOTE: Externals Awards recipients will no longer be featured in the Honor Awards Program Booklet or Ceremony.