Department of Energy:

A Framework for Restructuring DOE and Its Missions

RCED-95-197: Published: Aug 21, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 21, 1995.

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Based on a series of earlier reports, GAO presented its overall view of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its missions.

GAO found that: (1) in response to changing national priorities, DOE is restructuring its organization and processes to meet its new responsibilities ranging from environmental cleanup to industrial competitiveness, but these reforms do not resolve fundamental issues of its core missions; (2) DOE has assumed that its existing missions are still valid and are best managed by DOE, but many critics and policymakers are considering alternatives to DOE management of certain missions; (3) each mission should be assessed to see if it fulfills an inherently governmental role and what federal or private sector alternatives exist that could accomplish the mission more effectively; (4) reevaluation of DOE should be considered as part of an overall governmentwide restructuring effort, since DOE restructuring will affect other federal agencies; (5) a practical set of evaluation criteria can be used to evaluate the best organizational structure for each DOE mission according to such factors as cost-effectiveness, flexibility, responsiveness, and accountability; and (6) most of the experts consulted believed that DOE should be streamlined around fewer missions, while other experts believed it should be eliminated as a Cabinet department and its responsibilities transferred to other federal agencies and the private sector.

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