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    Subject Term: "Energy and water development"

    7 publications with a total of 11 open recommendations
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in future NNSA budget materials so that they are more useful for congressional decision makers, the Administrator of NNSA should, in instances where NNSA's internal cost estimates for a life extension program suggest that additional funding may be needed beyond what is included in the 5-year budget estimates to align with the program's plan, identify the amount of the shortfall in its budget materials and, what, if any, effect the shortfall may have on the program's cost and schedule or the risk of achieving program objectives.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agreed with this recommendation and outlined planned actions to incorporate the recommendation into the agency's fiscal year 2017 budget materials. However, the level of additional transparency for life extension programs in NNSA's fiscal year 2017 budget materials appears mixed. GAO will conduct additional follow-up with NNSA in 2017 following release of the fiscal year 2018 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan to clarify and assess prospects for further transparency with respect to funding shortfalls for life extension programs.
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in future NNSA budget materials so that they are more useful for congressional decision makers, the Administrator of NNSA should, in instances where budget estimates do not achieve DOE benchmarks for maintenance and recapitalization investment over the 5-year budget estimates, identify in the budget materials the amount of the shortfall and the effects, if any, on the deferred maintenance backlog.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) agreed with this recommendation and outlined planned actions to incorporate the recommendation into the agency's fiscal year 2017 budget materials. However, the fiscal year 2017 NNSA budget materials do not support the benchmarked levels of funding needed to address maintenance and recapitalization, and there was no apparent discussion of the shortfall and likely effects on the deferred maintenance backlog in those materials. GAO will follow up on this recommendation in 2017 and 2018 to assess adequacy of funding in NNSA's fiscal year 2018 and 2019 budget materials and any applicable explanations of shortfalls.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide greater assurance that DOE is effectively monitoring its loans, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office to fully develop its organizational structure by staffing key monitoring positions.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, while the Loan Programs Office (LPO)had made some progress in filling key monitoring positions, several vacancies in the leadership of the Special Assets and Risk Management Divisions remained. LPO officials noted they were unlikely to fill any of these staffing vacancies given budget and program uncertainties.
    Director: Pendleton, John H
    Phone: 202) 512-3489

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD and DOE in synchronizing plans for modernizing the nuclear weapons enterprise and for assessing the feasibility of the interoperable warhead concept, and to ensure that DOD and NNSA are able to consider the possibilities of potentially designing and developing an interoperable warhead as directed by the Nuclear Weapons Council during the W78/88-1 life-extension program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to identify the long-term resources needed to implement the W78/88-1 life-extension program once the warhead feasibility study is completed, should the Nuclear Weapons Council approve of an interoperable warhead design.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation. In September 2014, agency officials stated that the Nuclear Weapons Council formally delayed the W78/88-1 Life Extension Program first production unit 5 years to Fiscal Year 2030. As a result, officials stated that the warhead feasibility study has been delayed. The recommendation remains open. As of September 2017, the status of this recommendation has not changed.
    Recommendation: To assist DOD and DOE in synchronizing plans for modernizing the nuclear weapons enterprise and for assessing the feasibility of the interoperable warhead concept, and to ensure that the services are able to support the consideration of interoperable warhead concepts during future life-extension programs, the Secretary of Defense should issue or revise existing guidance to require the services to align their programs and resources before beginning concept or feasibility studies jointly with another service.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation. In December 2015, DOD and DOE published the revised Guideline for the Phase 6.X Process and is in the process of updating the DOD implementing instructions. In August 2016, DOD officials told us that the updated instruction will include a provision to require the services to align their programs and resources before beginning concept or feasibility studies jointly with another service. Officials expect the revised instruction to be finalized and published in mid-2017. As of September 2017, the updated DOD manual (DODM 5030.55) is undergoing final coordination within the department. This recommendation remains open pending the approval and issuance of the revised instruction.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve its ability to oversee M&O contractor costs, including indirect costs, for its laboratories and make more effective use of DOE and contractor resources, the Secretary of Energy should take--or, as appropriate, direct the Administrator of NNSA to incorporate more specific benchmarking requirements into future laboratory contracts--similar to the benchmarking requirements used by DOE to assess and manage pension and post-retirement benefit costs--including which costs should be benchmarked, how frequently benchmarking should occur, and what process should be used to ensure corrective actions are taken, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Director of NNSA Office of Policy issued guidance to NNSA Laboratory Field Office Managers to update contracts to include a new clause requiring laboratory contractors to submit a strategic plan every year in accordance with guidance. Part of the annual plan requires contractors to discuss the costs of doing business and cost-increase factors at the sites, including overhead dollars. The annual strategic plan is due to the NNSA Office of Policy by August 15 each year. This plan is expected to allow NNSA to conduct the benchmarking activities recommended by our report, which can then be considered in current and future laboratory contracts.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As the Chair of the Committee on the Marine Transportation System, the Secretary of Transportation should ensure the review and update, as needed, of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System. In ensuring the review and update of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System, the Secretary should (1) establish accountability mechanisms--such as developing clear and desired results, specific milestones, and outcome-related performance measures--for the recommended actions of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System, and (2) establish and implement a schedule for regular reporting of progress made in addressing the recommended actions of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As July 2017, the CMTS coordinating board approved the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System and submitted to the Secretary of Transportation for approval.
    Director: Gaffigan, Mark E
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that EM more effectively manages all its projects, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Senior Advisor for Environmental Management and the Director of the Office of Management, as appropriate, to provide the Office of Acquisition and Project Management with information on EM's project classification decisions to ensure that all capital asset projects have been appropriately classified and are managed in accordance with DOE Order 413.3B.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When commenting on our report, DOE agreed with our recommendation. According to agency information provided in March 2017, DOE has ongoing internal discussions to develop and document a policy addressing EM capital asset project and operations activity classifications. However, DOE has not yet established and approved such a policy.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide Congress with better information on the status and progress of DNN program performance and to address clarity, reliability, and balance issues in the performance measures for specific programs, the Administrator of NNSA should develop clearer measures, especially for the Nonproliferation and Verification Research and Development (R&D) program and Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A) programs, so the requirements and scope of program efforts can be more easily understood. For the MPC&A program in particular, reconsider the practice under its performance measure of counting buildings and facilities as having "completed" MPC&A upgrades, where there is additional or ongoing security work under way or planned.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to NNSA officials, neither the Nonproliferation and Verification R&D performance measure nor the MPC&A program performance measure were changed in response to our recommendation to provide further clarity it NNSA's performance reporting. Regarding the Nonproliferation and Verification R&D program performance measures, NNSA officials stated the measures as written provide sufficient information to program management to assess progress; regarding the MPC&A program performance measure, NNSA officials said that the measure, while unchanged, was being phased out as a performance measure due to the discontinuation of program work in Russia. GAO raised similar concerns regarding the clarity of the performance measures for the DNN R&D program -- the successor program to the Nonproliferation and Verification R&D program -- in a February 2017 report (GAO-17-210). GAO will will follow up with NNSA in fiscal year 2018 on both GAO-12-71 and GAO-17-210, including reviewing NNSA's fiscal year 2019 budget request, to assess any actions taken by the agency to clarify its publicly reported R&D performance measure.
    Recommendation: To streamline and eliminate potential for fragmentation and overlap among U.S. government programs involved in preventing and detecting smuggling of nuclear materials, equipment, and technologies overseas, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs should undertake--or direct and delegate an appropriate agency or agencies to undertake--a comprehensive review of the structure, scope, and composition of agencies and programs across the federal government involved in such efforts. Such a review should assess several issues, including: (1) the level of overlap and duplication among agencies and programs, especially in the provision of nuclear detection equipment and in training provided to foreign border security, customs, and law enforcement officials; (2) potential for consolidation of these functions to fewer programs and agencies; (3) the feasibility, costs, and benefits of establishing a special coordinator to preside over the allocation of U.S. counter-nuclear-smuggling assistance to foreign nations and be responsible for directing the interagency process of development, funding, and implementation of all U.S. government programs related to combating nuclear smuggling overseas; and (4) any U.S. laws that would need to be amended by Congress in order to facilitate consolidation, elimination, or other changes to existing programs.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs has not demonstrated progress on comprehensively reviewing the structure, scope, and composition of agencies and programs across the federal government involved in efforts to combat nuclear smuggling overseas, as GAO recommended in December 2011. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs did not comment on the December 2011 recommendation. The National Security Council Staff (NSCS), who assist the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, informed GAO in November 2012 that the recommendation had been provided to the appropriate NSCS directorate for consideration in the NSCS-led interagency policy committee process. However, the NSCS did not provide further information, except for stating that the issue was being addressed within the interagency process. GAO most recently contacted the NSCS for additional information in August 2016 on the actions the NSCS had taken or intended to take, if any, to implement the recommendation. In November 2016, NSCS informed GAO that they had no comments on the recommendation. In the absence of more specific information from NSCS, GAO was unable to conclude that this recommendation has been addressed.
    Recommendation: Following this review, to ensure remaining programs are being coordinated and implemented effectively, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs should issue new guidance that incorporates the elements of effective strategic plans, including clearly delineating the roles and missions of relevant programs, specific priorities and objectives, performance measures and targets, overall program cost estimates, and projected time frames for program completion.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs has not demonstrated progress on issuing new guidance for federal programs combating nuclear smuggling overseas that includes the elements of effective strategic plans, as GAO recommended in December 2011. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs did not comment on the December 2011 recommendation. The National Security Council Staff (NSCS), who assist the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, informed GAO in November 2012 that the recommendation had been provided to the appropriate NSCS directorate for consideration in the NSCS-led interagency policy committee process. However, NSCS did not provide further information, except for stating that the issue was being addressed within the interagency process. GAO most recently contacted the NSCS in August 2016 to request additional information on the actions the NSCS had taken or intended to take, if any, to implement the recommendation. In November 2016, NSCS informed GAO that they had no comments on the recommendation. In the absence of more specific information from NSCS, GAO was unable to conclude that this recommendation has been addressed.