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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) extent to which foreign nationals participated in activities at the Department of Energy's (DOE) weapons laboratories; and (2) effectiveness of DOE controls for identifying those that pose a security or proliferation risk.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. In order to prevent security breaches concerning nuclear-weapons-related information, DOE needs to improve its management of foreign visits and assignments to its weapons laboratories. The Secretary of Energy should revise the order controlling foreign visits and assignments to: (1) require that indices checks are completed prior to admitting a foreign national to a weapons laboratory; (2) require the use of additional criteria, such as the watch list, to identify potentially sensitive visitors that require additional scrutiny; and (3) expand the sensitive subjects list to include additional areas that could be useful to adversary or proliferant nations.
Closed - Implemented
DOE concurred in part with this recommendation. For example, DOE: (1) requires that indices checks be completed for some foreign visits and assignments; (2) has provided the watch list to field offices and weapons laboratories to evaluate sensitive country visits; and (3) has expanded the sensitive subject list and will train personnel to identify these subjects.
Department of Energy 2. In order to prevent security breaches concerning nuclear-weapons-related information, DOE needs to improve its management of foreign visits and assignments to its weapons laboratories. The Secretary of Energy should establish an integrated data collection and dissemination system to provide DOE and the laboratories timely and pertinent information to use when approving foreign visits.
Closed - Implemented
DOE concurred with this recommendation and has actions underway to develop an integrated data collection and dissemination system.
Department of Energy 3. In order to prevent security breaches concerning nuclear-weapons-related information, DOE needs to improve its management of foreign visits and assignments to its weapons laboratories. The Secretary of Energy should require periodic evaluations of field office and laboratory compliance with the requirements of the DOE foreign visit and assignment order.
Closed - Implemented
DOE concurred with this recommendation and tasked the Office of Security Evaluations to review foreign visit controls and plans to have its field offices conduct periodic assessments to ensure compliance with DOE Order 1240.2A.

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