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Observations on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

RCED-99-213R: Published: Jul 20, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, which was submitted to Congress in response to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on: (1) assessing the usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) identifying the degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) NRC's FY 2000 annual performance plan should be useful to decisionmakers in that it provides a general discussion of intended performance across the agency and of strategies and resources NRC will use to achieve its goals; (2) however, the plan focuses on strategies, not outcomes, and provides limited confidence to judge the credibility of performance information because it is incomplete and lacks specificity; (3) NRC's FY 2000 performance plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree of progress in addressing the weaknesses that GAO identified in its assessment of the earlier plan; (4) in reviewing the FY 1999 plan, GAO observed that NRC could have provided a clearer picture of the agency's intended performance overall as well as the strategies and resources it would use to achieve its performance goals; (5) GAO also noted that the FY 1999 performance plan did not provide confidence that the agency's performance information would be credible; (6) in its FY 2000 plan, NRC: (a) better discusses how its strategies and resources will help achieve its goals; (b) links its strategies to programs; and (c) better discusses crosscutting functions with other agencies and external factors that could affect achieving the goals established; and (7) however, NRC focuses on strategies, not outcomes, has not related the outputs to its performance goals, and provides limited details to determine whether its performance information is credible.

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