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Before the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Senate Armed Services 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 2:30 p.m. EST:
Wednesday, March 3, 2010: 

Nuclear Security: 

DOE Needs to Fully Address Issues Affecting Protective Forces' 
Personnel Systems: 

Statement of Gene Aloise, Director:
Natural Resources and Environment: 


GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-10-485T, a testimony before the Strategic Forces 
Subcommittee, Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks raised concerns about the 
security of Department of Energy (DOE) sites with weapons-grade 
nuclear material, known as Category I special nuclear material (SNM). 
To better protect these sites against attacks, DOE has sought to 
transform its protective forces protecting SNM into a Tactical 
Response Force (TRF) with training and capabilities similar to the 
U.S. military. 

This testimony is based on prior work and has been updated with 
additional information provided by protective forces’ union officials. 
In a prior GAO report, Nuclear Security: DOE Needs to Address 
Protective Forces’ Personnel System Issues (GAO-10-275), GAO (1) 
analyzed information on the management, organization, staffing, 
training, and compensation of protective forces at DOE sites with 
Category I SNM; (2) examined the implementation of TRF; and (3) 
assessed DOE’s two options to more uniformly manage protective forces; 
and (4) reported on DOE’s progress in addressing protective force 
issues. DOE generally agreed with the recommendations in GAO’s prior 
report that called for the agency to fully assess and implement, where 
feasible, measures identified by DOE’s 2009 protective forces study 
group to enhance protective forces’ career longevity and retirement 

What GAO Found: 

Over 2,300 contractor protective forces provide armed security for DOE 
and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at six sites 
that have long-term missions to store and process Category I SNM. DOE 
protective forces at each of these sites are covered under separate 
contracts and collective bargaining agreements between contractors and 
protective force unions. As a result, the management, organization, 
staffing, training and compensation-—in terms of pay and benefits—-of 
protective forces vary. 

Protective force contractors, unions, and DOE security officials are 
concerned that the implementation of TRF’s more rigorous requirements 
and the current protective forces’ personnel systems threaten the 
ability of protective forces—especially older members—to continue 
their careers until retirement age. These concerns, heightened by 
broader DOE efforts to manage postretirement and pension liabilities 
for its contractors that might have a negative impact on retirement 
eligibility and benefits for protective forces, contributed to a 44-
day protective force strike at an important NNSA site in 2007. 
According to protective force union officials, the issues surrounding 
TRF implementation and retirement benefits are still unresolved and 
could lead to strikes at three sites with large numbers of protective 
forces when their collective bargaining agreements expire in 2012. 

Efforts to more uniformly manage protective forces have focused on 
either reforming the current contracting approach or creating a 
federal protective force (federalization). Either approach might 
provide for managing protective forces more uniformly and could result 
in effective security if well-managed. However, if protective forces 
were to be federalized under existing law, the current forces probably 
would not be eligible for enhanced retirement benefits and might face 
a loss of pay or even their jobs. 

Although DOE rejected federalization as an option in 2009, it 
recognized that the current contracting approach could be improved by 
greater standardization and by addressing personnel system issues. As 
a result, NNSA began a standardization initiative to centralize 
procurement of equipment, uniforms, and weapons to achieve cost 
savings. Under a separate initiative, a DOE study group developed a 
number of recommendations to enhance protective forces’ career 
longevity and retirement options, but DOE has made limited progress to 
date in implementing these recommendations. 

Figure: DOE Protective Force Members in Tactical Training: 

[Refer to PDF for image: photograph] 

[End of figure] 

View [hyperlink,] or key 
components. For more information, contact Gene Aloise at (202) 512-
3281 or 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I am pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of Energy's 
(DOE) contractor guards, also known as protective forces. My testimony 
is based on our recently released report Nuclear Security: DOE Needs 
to Address Protective Forces' Personnel System Issues[Footnote 1] and 
recent discussions with protective force union officials. 

As you know, protective forces are a key component of security at 
Department of Energy (DOE) sites with special nuclear material (SNM), 
which the department considers its highest security risk. This 
material--including plutonium and highly enriched uranium--is 
considered to be Category I when it is weapons grade and in specified 
forms (e.g., nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons components, metals, and 
oxides) and quantities. The risks associated with Category I SNM 
include theft and the potential for sabotage through the use of a 
radioactive dispersal device, also known as a "dirty bomb." Currently, 
DOE and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an agency 
within DOE responsible for the safety, security, and reliability of 
the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, have six contractor-operated sites 
that possess--and will possess for the foreseeable future--Category I 
SNM (sites with "enduring" missions).[Footnote 2] The six sites 
include four that NNSA is responsible for--the Los Alamos National 
Laboratory, in Los Alamos, New Mexico; the Y-12 National Security 
Complex (Y-12), in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the Pantex Plant, near 
Amarillo, Texas; and the Nevada Test Site, outside of Las Vegas, 
Nevada. In addition, DOE's Office of Environmental Management is 
responsible for the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina, 
and DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy is responsible for the Idaho 
National Laboratory, near Idaho Falls, Idaho.[Footnote 3] 

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, DOE 
embarked on a multifaceted effort to better secure its sites with 
Category I SNM against a larger and more sophisticated terrorist 
threat by changing policies, such as its Design Basis Threat (DBT)--a 
classified document that specifies the potential size and capabilities 
of adversary forces that the sites must defend against.[Footnote 4] 
Protective forces, which accounted for slightly more than 50 percent 
of DOE's $862 million for field security funding in fiscal year 2008, 
also have been an important focus of DOE security improvements. DOE 
has sought to improve the effectiveness of its protective forces by 
deploying security technologies, such as sensors capable of detecting 
adversaries at long ranges, and through the use of advanced weaponry, 
such as belt-fed machine guns and grenade launchers. In addition, DOE 
has sought to enhance protective forces' tactical skills--the ability 
to move, shoot, and communicate in a combat environment--through its 
Tactical Response Force (TRF) initiative.[Footnote 5] Among other 
things, TRF revised the application of DOE's existing protective force 
categories to emphasize tactical skills and instituted more rigorous 
weapons and physical fitness qualifications for many of DOE's 
protective forces. 

However, protective force unions have been concerned that the planned 
implementation of TRF--with its potentially more demanding 
requirements--threatens the ability of protective forces to work until 
retirement age. These concerns contributed to a 44-day protective 
force strike at the Pantex Plant in 2007. The strike raised broader 
issues in DOE and Congress about the continued suitability of DOE's 
model for managing its protective forces. Unionized protective forces 
can strike when their collective bargaining agreements end, and 
strikes may create security vulnerabilities at DOE's sites with 
Category I SNM. In addition, DOE's practice of managing its protective 
forces through separate contracts at each site could create 
disparities in protective force performance, pay, and benefits. In 
2009, a DOE protective forces study group, composed of DOE and union 
representatives, made a number of recommendations that, while 
maintaining contractor protective forces, may better balance 
protective forces' concerns over their careers with DOE's need to 
provide effective security and control costs. 

In this context, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 2008 directed us to report on the management of DOE's protective 
forces at its sites with Category I SNM.[Footnote 6] Among other 
things, we (1) analyzed information on the management, organization, 
staffing, training and compensation of protective forces; (2) examined 
the implementation of TRF; (3) assessed DOE's two options to more 
uniformly manage DOE protective forces; and (4) reported on DOE's 
progress in addressing protective force issues. Our recent report 
Nuclear Security: DOE Needs to Address Protective Forces' Personnel 
System Issues presents the full findings of our work and includes two 
recommendations to DOE to fully assess and implement, where feasible, 
recommendations made by DOE's 2009 protective forces study group. DOE 
generally agreed with these recommendations. 

To obtain information on DOE's contractor protective forces, we 
visited three of the sites with enduring Category I SNM missions--
Pantex, the Savannah River Site, and Los Alamos National Laboratory--
because each site represented one of the three different types of 
protective force contracts currently in place. We also met with 
protective force contractors, federal site office officials, and 
protective force union representatives at these sites. We also 
distributed a data collection instrument to protective force 
contractors and federal site office officials at each of these sites 
and at the other three sites with enduring Category I SNM missions--Y-
12, the Nevada Test Site, and the Idaho National Laboratory. From this 
instrument, we received site information about the protective forces, 
the status of TRF and DBT implementations, views on DOE options for 
managing the protective forces, and the reliability of site data. 
Prior to this testimony, protective force union officials provided us 
with updated information. 

We conducted our work from April 2008 to March 2010 in accordance with 
generally accepted government auditing standards, which require us to 
plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence 
to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based 
on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained 
provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on 
our audit objectives. 

Protective Forces Are Not Uniformly Managed, Organized, Staffed, 
Trained, or Compensated: 

Contractor protective forces--including 2,339 unionized officers and 
their 376 nonunionized supervisors--are not uniformly managed, 
organized, staffed, trained, or compensated across the six DOE sites 
we reviewed. For example, we found the following: 

* Three different types of protective force contracts are in use. 
These contract types influence how protective force operations are 
overseen by federal officials and how protective force operations are 
coordinated with other site operations.[Footnote 7] 

* The size of sites' protective forces ranges from 233 to 533 
uniformed, unionized officers, and the composition of these forces and 
their associated duties and responsibilities vary based on their 
categorization. Protective forces are divided into four categories: 
[Footnote 8] 

- Security Officer (SO): Responsible for unarmed security duties such 
as checking for valid security badges. SOs represent about 5 percent 
of total unionized protective forces. 

- Security Police Officer-I (SPO-I): Primarily responsible for 
protecting fixed posts during combat. SPO-Is represent about 34 
percent of total unionized protective forces. 

- SPO-II: Primarily responsible for mobile combat to prevent 
terrorists from reaching their target but can also be assigned to 
fixed posts. SPO-IIs represent about 39 percent of total unionized 
protective forces. 

- SPO-III: Primarily responsible for mobile combat and special 
response skills, such as those needed to recapture SNM (on site) and 
recover SNM (off site) if terrorists succeed in acquiring it. SPO-IIIs 
are usually organized into special response teams, and SPO-IIIs 
represent about 19 percent of total unionized protective forces. 

* Each protective force has uniformed, nonunionized supervisors, but 
the duties, responsibilities, and ranks of these supervisors are 
generally site specific and not detailed in DOE's protective force 

* DOE policy mandates certain protective force training but allows 
sites some flexibility in implementation. For example, newly hired 
protective forces must complete DOE's Basic Security Police Officer 
Training class, but these courses, offered by each of the sites we 
reviewed, range in length from 9 to 16 weeks. In addition, we found 
that one site had largely completed the implementation of most aspects 
of the TRF initiative, but others are not expecting to do so until the 
end of fiscal year 2011. 

* Pay, based on the site and the category of protective forces, ranges 
from nearly $19 per hour to over $26 per hour.[Footnote 9] Overtime 
pay, accrued in different ways at the sites, and other premium pay, 
such as additional pay for night shifts and holidays, may 
significantly increase protective force pay. 

* While all employers contributed to active protective force members' 
medical, dental, and life insurance benefits, they differed in the 
amount of their contributions and in the retirement benefits they 
offered. In general, new hires were offered defined contribution 
plans, such as a 401(k) plan, that provides eventual retirement 
benefits that depend on the amount of contributions by the employer or 
employee, as appropriate, as well as the earnings and losses of the 
invested funds. At the time of our review, two sites offered new hires 
defined benefit plans that promised retirees a certain monthly payment 
at retirement. Two other sites had defined benefit plans that covered 
protective force members hired before a particular date but were not 
open to new hires. 

We found two primary reasons for these differences. First, protective 
forces at all six of the sites we reviewed operate under separate 
contracts and collective bargaining agreements. Second, DOE has a long-
standing contracting approach of defining desired results and outcomes-
-such as effective security--instead of detailed, prescriptive 
guidance on how to achieve those outcomes.[Footnote 10] While creating 
some of the differences noted, this approach, as we have previously 
reported, allows security to be closely tailored to site-and mission-
specific needs.[Footnote 11] 

Tactical Response Force Implementation Has Raised Concerns about the 
Longevity of Protective Forces Careers: 

Since its inception in 2005, TRF has raised concerns in DOE security 
organizations, among protective force contractors, and in protective 
force unions about the ability of protective forces--especially older 
individuals serving in protective forces--to continue meeting DOE's 
weapons, physical fitness, and medical qualifications. As we reported 
in 2005,[Footnote 12] some site security officials recognized they 
would have to carefully craft career transition plans for protective 
force officers who may not be able to meet TRF standards. Adding to 
these concerns are DOE's broader efforts to manage its long-term 
postretirement and pension liabilities for its contractors, which 
could have a negative impact on retirement eligibility and benefits 
for protective forces. In 2006, DOE issued its Contractor Pension and 
Medical Benefits Policy (Notice 351.1), which was designed to limit 
DOE's long-term pension and postretirement liabilities. A coalition of 
protective force unions stated that this policy moved them in the 
opposite direction from their desire for early and enhanced retirement 

Concerns over TRF implementation and DOE's efforts to limit long-term 
pension and postretirement liabilities contributed to a 44-day 
protective force strike at the Pantex Plant in 2007. Initially, Pantex 
contractor security officials designated all of the plant's protective 
force positions as having to meet a more demanding DOE combatant 
standard,[Footnote 13] a move that could have disqualified a 
potentially sizable number of protective forces from duty. Under the 
collective bargaining agreement that was eventually negotiated in 
2007, some protective forces were allowed to meet a less demanding 
combatant standard. DOE has also rescinded its 2006 Contractor Pension 
and Medical Benefits Policy. However, according to protective force 
union officials, failure to resolve issues surrounding TRF 
implementation and retirement benefits could lead to strikes at three 
sites with large numbers of protective forces--Pantex, the Savannah 
River Site, and Y-12--when their collective bargaining agreements 
expire in 2012. 

Either Improving the Existing Contractor Forces System or Creating a 
Federal Force Could Result in More Uniform Management of Protective 

To manage its protective forces more effectively and uniformly, over 
the past decades DOE has considered two principal options--improving 
elements of the existing contractor system or creating a federal 
protective force. We identified five major criteria that DOE 
officials, protective force contractors, and union officials have used 
to assess the advantages and disadvantages of these options.[Footnote 
14] Overall, in comparing these criteria against the two principal 
options, we found that neither contractor nor federal forces seems 
overwhelmingly superior, but each has offsetting advantages and 
disadvantages. Either option could result in effective and more 
uniform security if well-managed. However, we identified transitional 
problems with converting the current protective force to a federalized 

When assessing whether to improve the existing contractor system or 
federalize protective forces, DOE, protective force contractors, and 
union officials have used the following five criteria: 

* A personnel system that supports force resizing and ensures high- 
quality protective force members. 

* Greater standardization of protective forces across sites to more 
consistently support high performance and ready transfer of personnel 
between sites. 

* Better DOE management and oversight to ensure effective security. 

* Prevention or better management of protective force strikes. 

* Containment of the forces' costs within expected budgets. 

Evaluating the two principal options--maintaining the current security 
force structure or federalizing the security force--against these 
criteria, we found that if the forces are well-managed, either 
contractor or federal forces could result in effective and more 
uniform security for several reasons: 

* First, both options have offsetting advantages and disadvantages, 
with neither option emerging as clearly superior. When compared with a 
possible federalized protective force, a perceived advantage of a 
contractor force is greater flexibility for hiring or terminating an 
employee to resize the forces; a disadvantage is that a contractor 
force can strike. In contrast, federalization could better allow 
protective forces to advance or laterally transfer to other DOE sites 
to meet protective force members' needs or DOE's need to resize 
particular forces, something that is difficult to do under the current 
contractor system. 

* Second, a key disadvantage of the current contractor system, such as 
potential strikes for contractor forces, does not preclude effective 
operations if the security force is well-managed. For instance, a 2009 
memo signed by the NNSA administrator stated that NNSA had 
demonstrated that it can effectively manage strikes through the use of 
replacement protective forces. 

* Third, distinctions between the two options can be overstated by 
comparing worst-and best-case scenarios, when similar conditions might 
be realized under either option. For example, a union coalition 
advocates federalization to get early and enhanced retirement 
benefits, which are available for law enforcement officers and some 
other federal positions, to ensure a young and vigorous workforce. 
However, such benefits might also be provided to contractor protective 

Reliably estimating the costs to compare protective force options 
proved difficult and precluded our detailed reporting on it. Since 
contractor and federal forces could each have many possible 
permutations, choosing any particular option to assess would be 
arbitrary. For example, a 2008 NNSA-sponsored study identified wide- 
ranging federalization options, such as federalizing all or some SPO 
positions at some or all facilities or reorganizing them under an 
existing or a new agency. In addition, DOE would have to decide on the 
hypothetical options' key cost factors before it could reasonably 
compare costs. For example, when asked about some key cost factors for 
federalization, an NNSA Service Center official said that a detailed 
workforce analysis would be needed to decide whether DOE would either 
continue to use the same number of SPOs with high amounts of scheduled 
overtime or hire a larger number of SPOs who would work fewer overtime 
hours. Also, the official said that until management directs a 
particular work schedule for federalized protective forces, there is 
no definitive answer to the applicable overtime rules, such as whether 
overtime begins after 8 hours in a day. The amount of overtime and the 
factors affecting it are crucial to a sound cost estimate because 
overtime pay can now account for up to about 50 percent of pay for 
worked hours. 

Federalizing Protective Forces Could Create Difficulties Either under 
Current Laws or with Special Provisions for Enhanced Retirement 

If protective forces were to be federalized under existing law, the 
current forces probably would not be eligible for early and enhanced 
retirement benefits and might face a loss of pay or even their jobs. 
For example: 

* According to officials at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) 
[Footnote 15] and NNSA's Service Center,[Footnote 16] if contractor 
SPOs were federalized under existing law, they would likely be placed 
into the federal security guard (GS-0085) job series. Although a 
coalition of unions has sought federalization to allow members to have 
early and enhanced retirement benefits, which allows employees in 
certain federal jobs to retire at age 50 with 20 years of service, 
federal security guards are not eligible for these benefits. 

* Our analysis indicated transitioning protective force members may 
receive lower pay rates as federal security guards. Contractor force 
members receive top pay rates that could not generally be matched 
under the likely General Schedule pay grades. 

* If protective forces were federalized, OPM officials told us that 
current members would not be guaranteed a federal job and would have 
to compete for the new federal positions; thus, they risk not being 
hired. Nonveteran protective force members are particularly at risk 
because competition for federal security guard positions is restricted 
to those with veterans' preference, if they are available. 

According to OPM officials, legislation would be required to provide 
federal protective forces with early and enhanced retirement benefits 
because their positions do not fit the current definition of law 
enforcement officers that would trigger such benefits. However, if 
such legislation were enacted, these benefits' usual provisions could 
create hiring and retirement difficulties for older force members. 
Older members might not be rehired because agencies are typically 
authorized to set a maximum age, often age 37, for entry into federal 
positions with early retirement. In addition, even if there were a 
waiver from the maximum age of hire, older protective forces members 
could not retire at age 50 because they would have had to work 20 
years to meet the federal service requirement for "early" retirement 
benefits. These forces could retire earlier if they were granted 
credit for their prior years of service under DOE and NNSA contracts. 
However, OPM officials told us OPM would strongly oppose federal 
retirement benefits being granted for previous years of contractor 
service (retroactive benefits). According to these officials, these 
retroactive benefits would be without precedent and would violate the 
basic concept that service credit for retirement benefits is only 
available for eligible employment at the time it was performed. 
Moreover, retroactive benefits would create an unfunded liability for 
federal retirement funds. 

DOE Seeks to Address Protective Force Issues by Reforming Contractor 
Forces, but Progress Has Been Limited to Date: 

In a joint January 2009 memorandum, senior officials from NNSA and DOE 
rejected the federalization of protective forces as an option and 
supported the continued use of contracted protective forces--but with 
improvements. They concluded that, among other things, the transition 
to a federal force would be costly and would be likely to provide 
little, if any, increase in security effectiveness. However, these 
officials recognized that the current contractor system could be 
improved by addressing some of the issues that federalization might 
have resolved. In particular, they announced the pursuit of an 
initiative to better standardize protective forces' training and 
equipment. According to these officials, more standardization serves 
to increase effectiveness, provide cost savings, and facilitate better 
responses to potential work stoppages. In addition, in March 2009, DOE 
commissioned a study group to recommend ways to overcome the personnel 
system problems that might prevent protective force members from 
working to a normal retirement age, such as 60 to 65, and building 
reasonable retirement benefits. 

In addition, NNSA established a Security Commodity Team to establish 
standardized procurement processes and to identify and test security 
equipment that can be used across sites. According to NNSA officials, 
NNSA established a common mechanism in December 2009 for sites to 
procure ammunition. In addition, to move toward more standardized 
operations and a more centrally managed protective force program, NNSA 
started a broad security review to identify possible improvements. As 
a result, according to NNSA officials in January 2010, NNSA has 
developed a draft standard for protective force operations, which is 
intended to clarify both policy expectations and a consistent security 
approach that is both effective and efficient. 

For the personnel system initiative to enhance career longevity and 
retirement options, in June 2009, the DOE-chartered study group made 
29 recommendations that were generally designed to enable members to 
reach a normal retirement age within the protective force, take 
another job within DOE, or transition to a non-DOE career. The study 
group identified 14 of its 29 career and retirement recommendations as 
involving low-or no-cost actions that could conceivably be implemented 
quickly. For example, some recommendations call for reviews to find 
ways to maximize the number of armed and unarmed positions that SPOs 
can fill when they can no longer meet their current combatant 
requirements. Other recommendations focus on providing training and 
planning assistance for retirement and job transitions. The study 
group also recognized that a majority (15 out of 29) of its personnel 
system recommendations, such as enhancing retirement plans to make 
them more equivalent and portable across sites, may be difficult to 
implement largely because of budget constraints. 

Progress on the 29 recommendations had been limited at the time of our 
review. When senior department officials were briefed on the personnel 
system recommendations in late June 2009, they took them under 
consideration for further action but immediately approved one 
recommendation--to extend the life of the study group by forming a 
standing committee. They directed the standing committee to develop 
implementation strategies for actions that can be done in the near 
term and, for recommendations requiring further analysis, additional 
funding, or other significant actions, to serve as an advisory panel 
for senior department officials. According to a DOE official in early 
December 2009, NNSA and DOE were in varying stages of reviews to 
advance the other 28 recommendations. Later that month, NNSA addressed 
an aspect of one recommendation about standardization, in part by 
formally standardizing protective force uniforms. In the Conference 
Report for the fiscal year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, 
the conferees directed the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator 
of the National Nuclear Security Administration to develop a 
comprehensive DOE-wide plan to identify and implement the 
recommendations of the study group. 

In closing, while making changes to reflect the post-9/11 security 
environment, DOE and its protective force contractors through their 
collective bargaining agreements have not successfully aligned 
protective force personnel systems--which affect career longevity, job 
transitions, and retirement--with the increased physical and other 
demands of a more paramilitary operation. Without better alignment, in 
our opinion, there is greater potential for a strike at a site, as 
well as potential risk to site security, when protective forces' 
collective bargaining agreements expire. In the event of a strike at 
one site, the differences in protective forces' training and equipment 
make it difficult to readily provide reinforcements from other sites. 
Even if strikes are avoided, the effectiveness of protective forces 
may be reduced if tensions exist between labor and management. These 
concerns have elevated the importance of finding the most effective 
approach to maintaining protective force readiness, including an 
approach that better aligns personnel systems and protective force 
requirements. At the same time, DOE must consider its options for 
managing protective forces in a period of budgetary constraints. With 
these considerations in mind, DOE and NNSA have recognized that the 
decentralized management of protective forces creates some 
inefficiencies and that some systemic career and longevity issues are 
not being resolved through actions at individual sites. NNSA's 
standardization initiatives and recommendations made by a DOE study 
group offer a step forward. However, the possibility in 2012 of 
strikes at three of its highest risk sites makes it imperative, as 
recommended by our report and directed by the fiscal year 2010 
National Defense Authorization Act, that DOE soon resolve the issues 
surrounding protective forces' personnel system. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy 
to respond to any questions that you or other Members of the 
Subcommittee have. 

[End of section] 


[1] GAO, Nuclear Security: DOE Needs to Address Protective Forces' 
Personnel System Issues, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 29, 

[2] We excluded three other DOE Category I SNM sites from our review 
because they are likely to downsize or downgrade their protective 
forces in the near future. These sites include the Office of 
Environmental Management's Hanford Site, near Richland, Washington, 
which recently transferred its highest value Category I SNM off site 
but will maintain lower value Category I SNM for the foreseeable 
future; NNSA's Lawrence Livermore's National Laboratory, in Livermore, 
California, which plans to transfer its Category I SNM off site by the 
end of fiscal year 2012; and the Office of Science's Oak Ridge 
National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which plans to dispose 
of its Category I SNM by the end of fiscal year 2015. 

[3] The Office of Environmental Management is responsible for cleaning 
up former nuclear weapons sites, and the Office of Nuclear Energy is 
primarily responsible for nuclear energy research. 

[4] In 2008, DOE changed the name of its DBT (DOE Order 470.3A) to the 
Graded Security Protection policy (DOE 470.3B). 

[5] DOE announced this initiative, originally known as "Elite Force" 
initiative in 2004, and began to formalize it into policy through the 
issuance of DOE Manual 470.4-3, Protective Force, in 2005. DOE revised 
this policy in 2006 with DOE Manual 470.4-3 Change 1, Protective 
Force. In 2008, DOE further revised this policy, which is now 
contained in DOE Manual 470.4-3A, Contractor Protective Force. 

[6] Pub. L. No. 110-181 § 3124 (2008). 

[7] These types of contracts include (1) direct contracts between 
protective force contractors and DOE or NNSA; (2) a component of 
management and operating (M&O) contracts between M&O contractors and 
DOE or NNSA; and (3) subcontracts between an M&O contractor and a 
protective force contractor. 

[8] Other positions, such as trainers and alarm operators, constitute 
the remaining 3 percent of protective force positions. At some sites, 
personnel in such positions may be SPO qualified, and their positions 
are counted in the appropriate SO categories. All protective force 
numbers were current as of September 30, 2008. 

[9] Pay rates were current as of September 30, 2008. 

[10] DOE Order 251.1C, Departmental Directives Program, specifies that 
DOE directives should focus on results by specifying the goals and 
requirements that must be met and, to the extent possible, refraining 
from mandating how to fulfill the goals and requirements. 

[11] Our recent review showed that DOE's policy for nuclear weapons 
security provides local officials with greater flexibility than the 
Department of Defense's policy for determining how to best meet 
security standards and has a greater emphasis on cost-benefit analysis 
as a part of the decision-making process. See GAO, Homeland Defense: 
Greater Focus on Analysis of Alternatives and Threats Needed to 
Improve DOD's Strategic Nuclear Weapons Security, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 18, 

[12] GAO, Nuclear Security: DOE's Office of the Under Secretary for 
Energy, Science, and Environment Needs to Take Prompt, Coordinated 
Action to Meet the New Design Basis Threat, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: July 15, 

[13] DOE's combatant standards are defined by specific physical 
fitness, firearms, and medical qualifications. SPO-Is must meet 
defensive combatant standards, while SPO-IIs and SPO-IIIs must meet 
more demanding offensive combatant standards. 

[14] We reviewed five DOE studies completed between 1992 and 2009, as 
well as responses to our data collection instrument, to identify these 

[15] OPM is the central human resources agency for the federal 

[16] NNSA's Service Center provides business, technical, financial, 
legal, human resources, and management support to NNSA site 

[End of section] 

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