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    Subject Term: "Nuclear proliferation"

    6 publications with a total of 21 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop a schedule for deciding whether the volumes of "potential waste" identified in the annual TRU waste inventory report can be disposed of at WIPP.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop guidance that helps sites produce a more comprehensive estimate for the volumes of TRU waste that may be generated in the future from cleanup operations, including estimates of buried waste, waste that may be generated from decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and waste that may be generated past WIPP's expected closure date of 2050.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop a long-term plan for disposing of DOE's TRU waste that includes the need for excavating additional disposal space at WIPP and an integrated schedule that describes how DOE will complete the regulatory approval process and construction of new space before WIPP's existing space is full.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOE has a full understanding of the department's long-term TRU waste disposal requirements and the capability of WIPP to meet those requirements, the Secretary of Energy should develop a long-term plan for disposing of DOE's TRU waste that includes a timeline to help determine whether DOE can change its method of counting waste volumes to meet NNSA's 2020 milestone for resolving potential disposal space constraints at WIPP.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Shelby S. Oakley
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The NNSA Administrator should direct the DNN R&D program to track and document the transitioned and deployed technologies that result from its research and technology development projects, to the extent practicable.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken, we will update.
    Recommendation: The NNSA Administrator should direct the DNN R&D and NPAC programs to document, using a common template or other means, their assessment that compares the final results of each project against the baseline targets established in each project's initial project plan.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken, we will update.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    8 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to collaborate with each other in defining and identifying programs that contribute to common outcomes.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to provide a time frame for what constitutes "persistent over time" that agencies can use as a decision rule for whether to include short-term efforts as programs.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, define plans for when additional agencies will be required to develop program inventories.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by designating tax expenditure as a program type in relevant guidance.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB?s guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In June 2016, OMB staff said they continue to determine how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act; OMB staff said there was no update as of March 2017. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by developing, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, a tax expenditure inventory that identifies each tax expenditure and provides a description of how the tax expenditure is defined, its purpose, and related performance and budget information.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB?s guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In June 2016, OMB staff said they continue to determine how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act; OMB staff said there was no update as of March 2017. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to consult with relevant congressional committees and stakeholders on their program definition approach and identified programs when developing or updating their inventories.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to identify in their inventories the performance goal(s) to which each program contributes.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, ensure, during OMB reviews of inventories, that agencies consistently identify, as applicable, the strategic goals, strategic objectives, agency priority goals, and cross-agency priority goals each program supports.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    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.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen NNSA's oversight practices and current and future facility modernization efforts, and to improve the transparency and usefulness of cost analyses prepared for future NNSA nuclear facilities modernization projects, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Administrator of NNSA to ensure that life cycle cost analyses include a thorough and balanced evaluation of short- and long-term construction and financing alternatives. Such analyses should consider the full useful life of the facility rather than the 20-year requirement for GSA leases or any predetermined length of time that might produce results that favor one option over another.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: NNSA provided evidence that it requires life cycle cost analyses for projects greater than $20 million. However, this is not fully responsive to GAO's recommendation. For example, the recommendation stated that each life cycle cost analysis performed includes short- and long-term construction and financing alternatives and that these analyses should consider the full life of the facility rather than the 20-year requirements for GSA leases or any predetermined length of time. NNSA's actions do not address this aspect of the life cycle cost analysis. Our work found that facility's life cycle cost analysis only covered 20 years and it failed to reflect cost savings over a longer useful life (possibly over 50 years) that could have been realized if the facility were purchased instead of leased. Nothing in the draft Order addresses how the life cycle cost period to be analyzed should be established (e.g., 20 years or 50 plus years). Our review of NNSA's additional responses have not provided sufficient evidence to close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen NNSA's oversight practices and current and future facility modernization efforts, and because of the importance of mitigating the risks of outsourcing nuclear weapons components and other information that if exported, might allow potential adversaries to develop or advance their nuclear capabilities, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Administrator of NNSA to take immediate action to assess the effectiveness of NNSA's oversight of KCP's current export control and nonproliferation practices and, if appropriate, initiate corrective actions to strengthen that oversight.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: While NNSA/contractor actions are commendable and appear to be beneficial, such as adding performance-based incentives, training 950 employees, and including new contract clauses in its supplier purchase orders, these actions do not fully satisfy the recommendation. GAO's recommendation was specifically directed at the effectiveness of NNSA's oversight of the KCP contractor's export control and nonproliferation practices and to initiate corrective actions to strengthen that NNSA oversight. While the Kansas City Site Office's addition of a performance based incentive seems to be a good improvement, NNSA has not demonstrated its own oversight effectiveness. Our review of NNSA's response provided in March 2014 was not persuasive. In addition, GAO-16-710 found that as of May 2016, the Secretary of Energy had not used the enhanced procurement authority to ensure supply chain integrity, and the Department of Energy (DOE) had not developed processes for using the authority, as it had not fully assessed the circumstances under which the authority might be useful.
    Director: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA functions as a separately organized agency, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, should clearly define NNSA's status as a separately organized agency within the department.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In his 31 USC Section 720 response to our report, the Deputy Secretary of Energy stated that he did not concur with this recommendation. He stated that elements of the Department and the NNSA had executed memoranda of understanding specifying how certain Department-wide functions would be performed while respecting the statutory insulation of NNSA personnel. He also stated that the Department will consider issuing circumstance-specific guidance where required to correct misperceptions about the effect of the NNSA's act limitations. NNSA's relationship with DOE continues to evolve. NNSA asserted its independence aggressively through July 2012 when an important security incident took place at the Y-12 plant. Since that time, NNSA has been less independent.
    Recommendation: To ensure that NNSA functions as a separately organized agency, the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator, NNSA, should clearly define NNSA's status as a separately organized agency within the department.

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

    Comments: In his 31 USC Section 720 response to our report, the Deputy Secretary of Energy stated that he did not concur with this recommendation. He stated that elements of the Department and the NNSA had executed memoranda of understanding specifying how certain Department-wide functions would be performed while respecting the statutory insulation of NNSA personnel. He also stated that the Department will consider issuing circumstance-specific guidance where required to correct misperceptions about the effect of the NNSA's act limitations. Since we received the letter, there have been instances where the DOE/NNSA relationship has become less clear.