Department of Energy:

Management Problems Require a Long-Term Commitment to Change

RCED-93-72: Published: Aug 31, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the changes the Department of Energy (DOE) has made to address management problems.

GAO found that: (1) DOE has significant management problems that include unsafe procedures, noncompliance with environmental laws, weak internal controls, accountability and oversight, and unsatisfactory contract and financial management; (2) DOE has reorganized its headquarters structure and strengthened contract management to address management weaknesses; (3) barriers to successful management at DOE include serious communication and coordination problems, deficient staffing, and inadequate management support systems; (4) DOE contract management reforms are imperiled by inadequate management support systems that do not provide adequate information on contractors' activities; and (5) DOE has approved a 5-year plan to improve its workforce through better recruitment, training, and professional development, but it still lacks a comprehensive strategy to identify opportunities for improvement and set priorities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOE Secretary instructed the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Program Evaluation to create an integrated strategic planning capability. DOE issued its first "Strategic Plan" in April 1994 (DOE/S-0108). The Plan integrates for the first time in DOE's history the five missions of Energy Resources, Environmental Quality, National Security, Industrial Competitiveness, and Science and Technology.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should develop and implement a "management action strategy" to address the obstacles that GAO has identified as preventing management change from succeeding in DOE. This strategy would: (1) articulate key areas of management change, such as enhancing internal communication and strengthening the work force; (2) contain milestones as a basis for monitoring and evaluating progress; and (3) serve both as an agenda for change and as a vehicle for communicating the Department's highest management priorities to the staff.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy


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