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Highlights

The attacks of September 11, 2001, intensified long-standing concerns about the adequacy of safeguards and security at DOE and NNSA that facilities store plutonium and uranium in a variety of forms. These contractor-operated facilities can become targets for such actions as sabotage or theft. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)--a separately organized agency within DOE--are responsible for these facilities. GAO reviewed how effectively NNSA manages its safeguards and security program, including how it oversees contractor security operations. GAO also reviewed DOE and NNSA's response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In this regard, GAO examined (1) DOE and NNSA's immediate response to September 11, (2) DOE's efforts to develop a new design basis threat, a classified document that identifies the potential size and capabilities of the terrorist forces that DOE and NNSA sites must be prepared to defend against, and (3) the challenges DOE and NNSA face in meeting the requirements of the new design basis threat.