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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) progress in making needed management reforms in its national laboratories, focusing on: (1) the recommendations made by various advisory groups for addressing management weaknesses at DOE and the laboratories; and (2) how DOE and its laboratories have responded to these recommendations.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. To ensure the timely and effective implementation of recommendations from the many past laboratory advisory groups, the Secretary of Energy should develop a comprehensive strategy with objectives, milestones, DOE offices and laboratories responsible for implementation actions, performance measures that will be used to assess success in meeting implementation objectives, a tracking system to monitor progress, and regular progress reports on the status of implementation.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOE disagreed with this recommendation when the report was issued, maintaining that the department had undertaken several initiatives to improve management of its laboratories. These initiatives incorporated many of the ideas and recommendations from the past laboratory advisory groups. In addition, DOE implemented a new management system which ties to the department's strategic plan. This system includes the Laboratory Operations Board, efforts to correlate basic research and technology development to its strategic objectives, reorganization to clarify lines of authority and accountability, and performance-based contracting. DOE believes that these and other steps accomplish the same objectives as the GAO recommendation and plans no further action.

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