NNSA Management:

Progress in the Implementation of Title 32

GAO-02-93R: Published: Dec 12, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2001.

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GAO reviewed the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) progress in implementing key components of Title 32 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 including NNSA's reorganization efforts; integrated planning, programming, and budgeting improvements; use of its excepted service personnel authority; and efforts to improve its procurement practices. GAO found that although NNSA announced a new headquarters organization in May 2001, the reorganization did not clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the headquarters organizational units and did not address NNSA's field organization at all. More importantly, NNSA still lacks an overall organizational structure that clearly addresses long-standing issues such as the division of roles and responsibilities among headquarters offices and between headquarters and field staff. NNSA lost some momentum during the summer of 2001 as it reevaluated its efforts to develop a new planning, programming, budgeting, and evaluation process. NNSA now has established a conceptual process and begun to develop the necessary implementation plans and procedures. However, because of the broad scope of the work needed to develop these plans and procedures, it will be difficult to fully implement NNSA's process in time for the fiscal year 2001 budget cycle. Although it has developed an interim excepted service personnel policy, NNSA has firm plans to use only one-third of the 300 excepted service positions authorized by Title 32. Finally, NNSA believes that there is no need for an NNSA-specific procurement regulation, and it has begun to improve contractor oversight and performance evaluation.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure that any remaining vestiges of dual-hatting are eliminated, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, need to develop formal relationships so that the managers of the Department of Energy Savannah River and Oak Ridge Operations Offices do not have to continue providing formal approval for NNSA actions, as they have had to do since the Savannah River and Y-12 Area Offices were established in October 2000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the NNSA's Director of Policy and Internal Controls Management, the positions of Manager of the NNSA Area Office, Savannah River Site, and Manager, Y-12 Site Office, have been formally established and encumbered. Guidelines are in place to assist the working relationships between the Area Offices and their respective Operations Offices and/or NNSA headquarters.

    Recommendation: To ensure that any remaining vestiges of dual-hatting are eliminated, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, need to develop formal relationships so that the managers of the Department of Energy Savannah River and Oak Ridge Operations Offices do not have to continue providing formal approval for NNSA actions, as they have had to do since the Savannah River and Y-12 Area Offices were established in October 2000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to NNSA's Director of Policy and Internal Controls Management, the positions of Manager of the NNSA Area Office, Savannah River Site, and Manager of the Y-12 Area Office have been formally established. Guidelines are in place to assist the working relationships between the Area Offices and their respective Operations Offices and/or NNSA headquarters.

    Recommendation: To ensure effective use of the excepted service positions created by Title 32, the Administrator, NNSA, should not allocate any additional positions until thorough human capital and workforce planning strategies have been developed that reflect NNSA's final organizational alignment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: According to NNSA's Director of Policy and Internal Controls Management, NNSA does not intend to hold in abeyance the use of its excepted service authority until it completed a workforce plan. It did promise to use its excepted service authority effectively and judiciously while it is completing its workforce planning.

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