Skip to Highlights
Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined: (1) the adequacy of security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and other Department of Energy (DOE) facilities; (2) DOE oversight of contractor security forces; and (3) the feasibility of establishing federal security forces at DOE facilities.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. The Secretary of Energy should expeditiously develop specific contingency plan criteria for strikes and require all contractors to prepare plans that meet the criteria.
Closed - Implemented
DOE developed a standardized guideline for contingency planning in January 1991 and will review implementation of the guideline during its safeguards and security program reviews.
Department of Energy 2. The Secretary of Energy should establish standardized qualification and skill requirements for all protective forces and ensure that strike replacements meet the requirements.
Closed - Implemented
DOE completed a "Basic Security Inspector Training Program" and 14 training modules as part of its curriculum for standard weapons training and qualification. DOE began training, according to the standardized program, around July 31, 1991.
Department of Energy 3. The Secretary of Energy should ensure that security force members receive all required training and institute a mechanism to ensure that contractors document and retain this information.
Closed - Implemented
On August 31, 1993, DOE published in the Federal Register regulations to specify mandatory initial and periodic training requirements. DOE revised its security orders to specify the minimum training records required to be maintained by job task area.
Department of Energy 4. The Secretary of Energy should conduct unannounced inspections and performance tests, particularly immediately upon the initiation of an unusual event, such as a strike, to obtain more realistic indications of security force competencies.
Closed - Implemented
DOE conducted two limited inspections and performance tests of its security programs, but the tests were announced 1 week in advance.
Department of Energy 5. To ensure consistency among inspection ratings and provide an incentive for security forces' contractors to correct inspection deficiencies, the Secretary of Energy should develop specific criteria to eliminate any inconsistency for rating facility security as either satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory.
Closed - Implemented
DOE believes the inconsistent ratings are due to both the DOE field offices and headquarters inconsistently applying existing standards and criteria and ineffective oversight. DOE is looking at ways to improve consistency of application and oversight because it believes it already has specific criteria for evaluating DOE security programs.
Department of Energy 6. To ensure consistency among inspection ratings and provide an incentive for security forces' contractors to correct inspection deficiencies, the Secretary of Energy should withhold a portion of award fees when contractors do not take timely corrective actions on security inspection weaknesses.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOE agreed with the recommendation and stated it will consider timeliness in correcting identified security weaknesses in determining the amount of the award fee.
Department of Energy 7. Because significant savings may be realized by having federal rather than contract employees provide security services, the Secretary of Energy should conduct an in-depth analysis of the relative costs of federal and contract security services across the nuclear weapons complex and convert to federal forces at locations where it is cost-effective to do so.
Closed - Implemented
DOE has conducted an analysis of federal versus contract security services across its nuclear weapons complex. DOE finalized its analysis and issued a report regarding this matter around May 1992. The report, recommending no further action, was reviewed by the DOE Office of Safeguards and Security, which also concurred that no further action should be taken to federalize the DOE complex.

Full Report