During the decades before its dissolution, the Soviet Union produced a cadre of scientists and engineers whose knowledge and expertise could be invaluable to countries or terrorist groups trying to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD). After the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, many of these scientists suffered significant cuts in pay or lost their government-supported work. To address concerns about unemployed or underemployed Soviet-era weapons scientists, the Department of Energy (DOE) established the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program in 1994 to engage former Soviet weapons scientists in nonmilitary work in the short term and create private sector jobs for these scientists in the long term. GAO was asked to assess (1) DOE's reported accomplishments for the IPP program, (2) DOE's exit strategy for the program, and (3) the extent to which the program has experienced annual carryovers of unspent funds and the reasons for any such carryovers. In December 2007, GAO issued a report--Nuclear Nonproliferation: DOE's Program to Assist Weapons Scientists in Russia and Other Countries Needs to Be Reassessed, (GAO-08-189)--that addressed these matters. To carry out its work, GAO, among other things, analyzed DOE policies, plans, and budgets and interviewed key program officials and representatives from 22 Russian and Ukrainian institutes.
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