National Nuclear Security Administration: Security and Management Improvements Can Enhance Implementation of the NNSA Act Page: 4 of 15
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planning, programming, and budgeting process in order to ensure that the
administration operated under sound financial management principles.
Since its inception, however, NNSA has continued to experience both
security and management problems. For example, with respect to security,
in 2003 we found that NNSA had not fully defined the roles and
responsibilities of officials in its security program and that NNSA had
shortfalls in security staff at the site offices that oversee its contractors. In
addition, two NNSA studies commissioned in July 2003 found ongoing
problems with NNSA's security program, including weaknesses in its
security culture, organization, and staffing and training. Finally, DOE's
Office of Inspector General found security problems with NNSA's
contractors, including improprieties in the testing of the officers who
protect NNSA's sites and weaknesses in NNSA's cyber security program.
With respect to the management of major projects, the National Ignition
Facility and the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility-two
major facilities needed to support NNSA's nuclear weapons programs-
experienced major delays and cost overruns because of problems with
project management and are still not complete.
In this context, you asked us to evaluate the extent to which NNSA has
taken steps to (1) improve security at its laboratories and plants and (2)
improve its management practices and revise its organizational structure.
To carry out our objectives, we reviewed the NNSA Act; and NNSA and
DOE policies, plans and budgets; and interviewed current and former
NNSA and DOE officials. We also used reports on NNSA's security efforts
prepared by GAO, the DOE Inspector General, and outside groups, such as
a 2005 report on security commissioned by NNSA. Finally, we collected
and analyzed security performance ratings developed by DOE's Office of
Health, Safety and Security and NNSA site offices, from fiscal years 1996
through 2005. We used these performance ratings because there was wide
agreement among NNSA and DOE security officials that these ratings
represented the best available information on the overall performance of
NNSA's safeguards and security program. We conducted the work for our
report from March 2005 through January 2007 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards, which included an
assessment of data reliability and internal controls.
Producing a well-organized and effective agency out of what was widely
considered a dysfunctional enterprise has been a considerable challenge.
In some areas, NNSA can be viewed as a success. Most notably, through its
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United States. Government Accountability Office. National Nuclear Security Administration: Security and Management Improvements Can Enhance Implementation of the NNSA Act, text, January 31, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292220/m1/4/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.