Comments on Selected Aspects of the Draft Strategic Plans of the Departments of Energy and the Interior
T-RCED-97-213: Published: Jul 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1997.
GAO discussed the overall quality of the draft strategic plans of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Interior, focusing on: (1) DOE's draft plan as it relates to Power Marketing Administrations (PMA), specifically whether it addresses the cross-cutting nature of their activities; and (2) the Bureau of Reclamation's mission statement, the coordination of cross-cutting program activities in Reclamation and Geological Survey, and concerns about the data and information management systems in both of these Interior subagencies.
GAO noted that: (1) while DOE has made progress in developing its draft strategic plan, the draft plan is still incomplete and does not fully meet the requirements of the Results Act; (2) DOE has developed a draft strategic plan that is appropriately focused on a Department-wide mission that transcends the interests of individual programs; (3) the document barely mentions PMAs specifically; (4) of particular concern to this Subcommittee, it does not identify programs and activities, such as those of PMAs, that are crosscutting or similar to those of other agencies; (5) the function of the PMAs to market electricity relates to the functions of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which produce the electricity that the PMAs market; (6) the draft plan does not recognize that the achievement of DOE's strategic goals will depend, in part, upon its coordination with these agencies; (7) to assure that the PMAs, Reclamation, and the Corps of Engineers are all moving toward mutually reinforcing goals and objectives, GAO believes it is important for DOE to address the coordination issue in its plan; (8) a significant amount of work still needs to be done before Interior's draft strategic plan can fulfill the requirements of the Results Act; (9) since programs within Interior are carried out primarily through eight major autonomous subagencies, the Department chose to implement the Act by developing a draft plan overview for the Department as a whole and requiring each of the subagencies to develop its own plans; (10) GAO focused on three key areas of Interior's draft plan; (11) although Reclamation's mission statement is comprehensive and covers its major responsibilities, this Subcommittee and Reclamation disagree about its basic mission--which is the foundation of the draft plan; (12) the consultation process provides an ideal opportunity to address such issues; (13) as with Energy, Interior's plan generally does not identify programs and activities that are crosscutting or similar to those of other subagencies nor does it indicate that coordination has occurred; (14) both Reclamation and Geological Survey, as well as other agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, address environmental water quality issues; (15) however, the indication of any coordination of these plans to address the issues of duplication and overlap; and (16) management of the information needed to track and measure performance against goals is in need of attention.