Nuclear Security:

Property Control Problems at DOE's Livermore Laboratory Continue

RCED-91-141: Published: May 16, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) claim that it found approximately 99 percent of the inventory it previously reported as missing, focusing on: (1) the accuracy of LLNL claims; (2) whether controls over government-owned property at the laboratory were strengthened; and (3) the adequacy of DOE property control oversight.

GAO found that: (1) the LLNL claim was inaccurate, since it excluded missing non-capital equipment purchased prior to 1985 from its analysis and it used a different basis than GAO did for calculating and reporting missing item percentages; (2) taking the differences into consideration, LLNL actually located only 3 percent of the inventoried equipment, acquired at a cost of $26.8 million, and 13 percent of the inventoried equipment, acquired at a cost of $18.6 million, remained missing; (3) the LLNL property management policy manual lacked property accountability controls over all non-capital equipment; (4) DOE oversight of changes in laboratory property controls was inadequate; and (5) the DOE San Francisco Operations Office approved the LLNL property management policy manual without ensuring that it complied with federal and departmental regulations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE concurred with the report recommendation. The DOE San Francisco field office and the Livermore Laboratory have reached agreement on a mutually acceptable property management policies and procedures manual in October 1991, which, based on a line-by-line analysis, is consistent with federal and departmental requirements.

    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with the recommendation GAO made in its April 1990 report, the Secretary of Energy should direct the San Francisco Operations Office Manager to perform a detailed written analysis of the laboratory's property management policies and compare the levels of control provided by them with the levels of control inherent in federal and departmental property management regulations. This analysis should then be used as a basis for making changes to the laboratory's proposed property management system, consistent with the federal and departmental requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The laboratory performed an in-depth comprehensive study of the property which was dropped from the accountability system and moved appropriate items to the attractive item category, a category for which there is accountability. Further, controls such as etching, trend analysis, purchases and losses, restrictions on acquisition, property passes, and gate searches were put in place.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the San Francisco Operations Office Manager to demonstrate, through a risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis, the appropriateness of eliminating accountability controls over the non-capital equipment previously accounted for in the laboratory's property management database. To the extent that this analysis identifies non-capital equipment that should be accounted for and controlled, then the Operations Office should work with the laboratory to ensure proper accountability, such as setting an appropriate dollar threshold and adding the appropriate items to the laboratory's property management database.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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