Department of Energy:

Views on the Progress of the National Nuclear Security Administration in Implementing Title 32

GAO-01-602T: Published: Apr 4, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 2001.

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David L. McClure
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GAO discusses the progress the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has made in implementing title 32 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000. Title 32 established NNSA as a semiautonomous agency within the Department of Energy (DOE) with responsibility for the nation's nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, and naval reactors programs. GAO found that the agency is making progress in implementing changes to its organization; planning, programming, and budgeting functions; and use of personnel authority. However, it will be several months before real, tangible evidence of these changes will be seen. And it may be several years before these changes are fully implemented and can be definitively assessed. Important work remains to be done in (1) establishing an organization that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of headquarters and field staff, moves program management officials as close to the action as possible, and establishes clear lines of authority between NNSA and its contractors; (2) implementing an integrated planning, programming, and budgeting system that can deliver information to decision makers and Congress in time for the 2003 budget deliberations; and (3) overcoming obstacles to using NNSA's Expected Service authority so that it can attract and retain the technical personnel needed to effectively oversee its diverse operations. NNSA's performance in addressing these three sets of challenges will go a long way toward determining whether it will be successful in correcting DOE's long-standing management problems.

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