Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Implementation Plan: An Assessment   [open pdf - 1MB]

Congress passed a substantial reorganization of the Department of Energy (DOE) in Title 32 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (P.L. 106-65). The legislation creates a new semi-autonomous agency within DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), with responsibility for the nation's nuclear weapons, non-proliferation, and naval reactors programs. Congress took this action in response to a major espionage scandal, decades of documented mismanagement at the Department, and numerous reports and studies that detailed weak management, confused lines of authority, and lack of mission focus within the Department's military nuclear programs. A Special Oversight Panel on DOE Reorganization was created to work with the NNSA on the timely and effective implementation of the DOE reorganization mandated by the new law. The Panel has a number of concerns with the implementation plan. Key among them is that the plan overemphasizes DOE control over the NNSA, undermines the semi-autonomy of the NNSA, and would violate key provisions of Title 32. It would place DOE personnel and officers in key NNSA positions by "dual-hatting" them. The plan would also retain DOE management and budget processes, organizational structures, and lines of authority that the Panel believes to be flawed and that Title 32 was intended to reform. The plan also suffers from a disappointing lack of detail. Further, the implementation plan provides no guidance concerning budget reforms required by Title 32 or use of tools provided in Title 32 to the NNSA and DOE to restructure the workforce.

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