7 A0 United States General Accounting Office 1 Washington, D.C. 20548 Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division B-277024 July 21, 1997 The Honorable Duncan Hunter Chairman, Subcommittee on Military Procurement Committee on National Security House of Representatives Subject: Denartment of Energv: FiscaI Year 1998 Budget Reauest As agreed with your office, we are providing you with information on our review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) j&al year 1998 budget request.l This report provides information on (1) fiscal year 1998 budget requests for funds that may not be needed and (2) funding balances remaining from prior years-carryover balances-that may be available to reduce the fiscal year 1998 funding requests. Our review of DOE’s fiscal year 1998 budget request focused on requests to support two programs-Environmenti Management (EM) and Defense Programs (DP)-which together account for over one-half of the Department’s budget. Specifically, we examined requests for funds to support EM’s “privatization” initiative,2 specific projects at EM’s Sava;nnah River and RocQ Flats sites, and EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative. We also examined DP’s requests for specific projects managed by its Nevada Operations Office. Our review of carryover balances focused on operating and capital equipment funding for DOE’s six major program areas-Environmental Management, Defense Programs, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Energy Research, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear Energy. We also examined potential carryover balances in EM construction projects and additional prior- year savings loom DOE’s overall Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative. ‘We previously provided this information to your office in briefings during Apr. 1997. 2This approach does not involve the transfer (sale) of government-owned assets or functions to the private sector. Rather, it relies on the use of a competitively awarded fixed-price performance contract, through which DOE purchases waste cleanup services through a private contractor. GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 SUMMARY As discussed in enclosure I, we questioned about $400 million in funding requested for fiscal year 1998 that may not be needed or is based on questionable justifications. SpecifmalIy, EM’s fiscal year 1998 privatization request included $47.4 million in funding for five projects that is not needed. In addition, the justification for funding other privatization projects was questionable because (1) eight projects worth $225.1 million had projected cost savings based on very preliminary assumptions and (2).three projects worth $44.5 million were not required by any existing compliance agreements and could be postponed. 3 We also identified $34.1 million in fiscal year 1998 requests for individual EM and DP projects that may not be needed. Finally, EM’s $50 million Technology Deployment Initiative request for fiscal year 1998 is not based on any detailed study of project needs. I In addition, our review found that DOE’s major program areas may have $1.1 billion in potentially available carryover balances for operating and capital equipment funding at the beginning of fiscal year 1998. Also, EM has $19 million in potentially available carryover balances from construction line item funding. It is important to stress that the $1.1 billion represents only a starting point from which to identify the amount that could actually be used to offset DOE’s budget. Potentially available carryover balances in fiscal year 1998 may, in part, be a result of DOE’s Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative, which realized about $223 million of additional savings above its planned savings for fiscal year 1996. BACKGROUND DOE’s fiscal year 1998 budget request totals $19.2 billion, of which EM’s request ($7.2 billion) and DP’s request ($5.1 billion) represent 64 percent of the total. EM is responsible for managing and addressing the environmental problems resulting from the production of nuclear weapons, nuclear energy activities, and 3EM is responsible for complying with numerous federal and state environmental requirements, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and Clean Water Act. DOE has signed agreements with federal and state regulators to correct violations at its sites. These agreements identify activities-generally called milestones-and schedules for achieving compliance, many of which are legally binding and enforceable. About 65 percent of EM’s budget is driven by schedules for completing milestones. 2 GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 energy research activities. EM’s fiscal year 1998 request includes $1.006 billion for the Privatization Initiative, $2.2 billion for the Savannah River and Rocky Flats sites, and $50 million for the Technology Deployment Initiative. EM’s Privatization Initiative seeks to identify and fund discrete cleanup projects through which DOE can share the risk with p&ate-sector companies to reduce costs and accelerate project completion. EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative is designed to increase the use of innovative technologies that will reduce the costs, time, and risks associated with cleanup projects, DP’s mission is to maintain the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. DP’s fiscal year 1998 request includes about $226 million for activities at its Nevada Operations Office. Carryover balances represent funding from prior years’ budgets and consist of both unobligated balances and uncosted obligations. Each fiscal year, DOE requests obligational authority from the Congress to meet the costs of running its programs.4 Once DOE receives this authority, it obligates funds by placing orders or awarding contracts for goods and services that will require payment during the same fiscal year or in the future. Unobligated balances represent the portion of its authority that the Department has not obligated. Uncosted obligations represent the portion of its authority that the Department has obligated for goods and services but for which it has not yet incurred costs. The carryover balances are distributed among operating activities, capital equipment procurement, and construction projects. Over the last several years, the Congress has reduced DOE’s budget request and recommended that the agency use carryover balances in lieu of new funding. In April 1996, we reported on DOE’s efforts to analyze its carryover balances in developing its annual budget.5 DOE’s Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative is part of a broader set of efforts the agency uses to reduce its budget. In fiscal year 1996, DOE introduced five strategies to achieve savings of $1.7 billion over 5 years-reduce federal stafiing levels, travel budgets, and support service contracts, as well as improve information management and streamline the National Environmental Policy Act process. For fiscal year 1996--f&e most recently completed fiscal 4Some appropriations do not restrict the time in which the funds must be obligated but state that the funds are “to remain available until expended.” This is generally referred to as “no-year” authority. DOE receives no-year authority for most of its activities. “DOE Management: DOE Needs to Imnrove Its Analvsis of Carrvover Balances (GAORCED-96-57, Apr. 12, 1996). , 3 GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 year-DOE planned to save $206 million using these strategies and adjusted its budget request accordingly.6 EM’S PRIVATIZATION REQUEST RAISES CONCERNS We identified several concerns with EM’s Privatization Initiative and fiscal year 1998 request for $1.006 billion. First, EM’s request for this initiative included funding for five projects that is not needed. In addition, the justification for funding other privatization projects was questionable because (1) some projects proposed to be funded under privatization had projected cost savings based on very preliminary assumptions and (2) other projects were not required to be done by any existing compliance agreements and could be postponed.7 Finally, EM’s request does not include the total capital costs for some of the projects and does not include any operating costs for the projects. As a result, it is d3l5cult to measure the full impact of the requested funding on the overall federal budget. 8 We identified five privatization projects for which $47.4 million in requested funding was not needed. For example, DOE officials told us that since the budget request had been prepared, they had reduced the scope of the Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Transfer and Storage project at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) and that they would need $21 million less for the construction of this project in fiscal year 1998. Table 1 identifies the five projects, the amount of funding not needed, and the reasons the funds are not needed. %Vhile DOE planned for savings of $206 million, DOE actually reduced its budget request by $208 million. Additional savings may be realized through the sale of DOE assets, but these savings will not be used to reduce the budget because any proceeds from selling assets will be returned to the Treasury. 7Some privatization projects fit in more than one category. For example, we found that the Power Burst Facility funding request was not needed in fiscal year 1998 and that the project was supported only by very preliminary cost savings estimates. ‘After we raised questions about the lack of information on total costs for privatization in DOE’s fiscal year 1998 budget request, DOE prepared detailed Project Data Sheets containing total cost information. These sheets were distributed to congressional staff in Apr. 1997. 4 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 Table 1: EM Privatization Project Reauests Not Needed Dollars in millions Fiscal year 1998 Privatization project requested funds that are not needed Reason funding is not needed TRU Waste $7.7 Error was made in calculating funds Transportation needed. Low Activity Waste 2.6 Regulatory approval is not likely to be granted until fiscal year 1999. Power Burst 7.9 Facility will not be ready for Facility deactivation until fiscal year 1999. Silo 3 8.2 Site will not be ready to award contract until late in fiscal year 1998. Spent Nuclear Fuel 21 .O Project’s scope was reduced. Dry Transfer and Storage Total $47.4 While EM has justified its request for privatization funding on the basis that privatization will lead to significant costs savings, we identified eight projects representing $225.1 million in requested funding whose projected cost savings were based on very preliminary assumptions. For example, for the Low Activity Waste Treatment project at INEEL, DOE simply reduced the cost estimate for the project prepared by the Management and Integration (M&I) contractor by 20 percent and assumed that this new estimate would represent the cost of the privatized contract. No detailed studies or market analyses have been performed to validate this estimate. Similar approaches were used for the other seven projects9 Another important reason justifying the funding for privatization projects is to help ensure that DOE meets the milestones in its compliance agreements. However, we identified three projects-Buildings 886 and 779 at Rocky Flats and the Power Burst Facility at INEEL-representing $44.5 rniUion in requested funding that are not required by existing compliance agreements and, therefore, could be postponed. !Tn commenting on our report, DOE said that it is continuing to refine its cost estimates to improve their accuracy. 5 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 In evaluating EM’s fiscal year 1998 privatization request, it is important to recognize that EM’s request does not include funding for the total capital costs for some of the projects over their lifetime. For example, EM is requesting $427 million in fiscal year 1998 for its Tank Waste Remediation System (TW’RS) project, but an additional $853 million will be needed to complete the construction of the project. Furthermore, the privatization funding request does not include any of the long-term operating costs of these projects, which will be paid annually once the projects begin operations. The long-term impact of the operating costs, estimated at $5.8 billion, will be significant, since they exceed the capital costs, estimated at $2.8 billion. As a result, assessing the long-term impact of EM’s privatization projects on the overall federal budget is difficult because the full cost of the projects is not included in the budget request. SPECIFIC EM AND DP PROJECT REQUESTS MAY NOT BE NEEDED Our review of EM’s fiscal year 1998 request for specific projects at its Savannah River and Rocky Flats sites identified $23.4 million for three projects that may not be needed. This amount includes $4.9 million of a $9.8 million request for well sampling at Savannah River that may not be needed, $2.4 million for the conceptual design of a new interim plutonium storage vault at Rocky Flats that is not scheduled to be constructed, and $16.1 million for lower-risk cleanup activities at Rocky Flats that could be postponed. In addition, our review of DP’s fiscal year 1998 request for projects managed by its Nevada Operations Office identified $10.7 million for two projects that may not be needed. This amount includes $0.7 million for educational initiatives and $10 million for operating and maintaining the Device Assembly Facility, which lacks a mission because the ending of the cold war reduced testing activities. In addition, up to $40 million requested for four subcritical experiments at Nevada may not be needed because the need for these experiments is uncertain.1o All fiscal year 1996 subcritical experiments were canceled, and none of the fiscal year 1997 experiments have been conducted to date. As a result, it is not clear how much, if any, of the fiscal year 1998 request is needed. EM’S TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT INITlATlVE HAS UNRESOLVED IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES “A subcritical experiment involves high explosives and nuclear materials such as plutonium. High explosives are detonated to create high pressures similar to those achieved in the early nonnuclear stages of a nuclear weapon. 6 GAO/RCED-97-17lR DOE’s Fisca.l Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 The goal of EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative is to move innovative technologies into more widespread use across DOE. These technologies are expected to reduce costs, speed cleanup, or reduce risks. To achieve this goal, EM has requested $50 million to provide to sites for the first deployment of an innovative technology that has been tested and demonstrated. EM plans to use a competitive process to review and select proposals from sites. However, EM did not base its $50 million request on any detailed study of project needs, and it is uncertain that additional sites beyond the first deployment will use the technologies selected for funding. In addition, under this program, sites may receive additional funding for doing what they should be doing anyway- selecting the best technologies for the job. SOME CARRYOVER BALANCES MAY BE AVAILABLE On the basis of DOE’s program cost estimates for fiscal year 1997, we project that DOE will have about $2.4 billion in carryover balances at the beginning of fiscal year 1998 for operating activities and capital equipment procurement in its six major programs.11 Using the minimum goals for carryover balances discussed in our April 1996 report,12 we estimate that DOE will need a minimum of $1.3 billion to pay for commitments made in prior years that have not yet been completed-leaving a total of $1.1 billion in potentially available carryover balances at the beginning of fiscal year 1998. DOE has proposed using $53.5 million in carryover balances to offset its fiscal year 1998 budget request for its six major programs. ?Five of DOE’s six major programs-DP, EM, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear Energy-were able to provide cost estimates for fiscal year 1997. The sixth program, Energy Research, accepted our cost estimates, which were based on actual costs through the tist 4 months of fiscal year 1997. Also, because the cost estimate for DP was higher than the actual costs for fiscal year 1996, we used our cost estimate for this program. 12Asdiscussed in enc. II, to develop goals for the minimum level of carryover balances needed to meet program requirements, we adopted goals that are based on an approach first developed by EM. For example, for operating funding, these goals assume a minimum of a l-month lag between a commitment of funding and the actual expenditure of funding for that commitment. Thus, for a year’s operating funding, a carryover balance goa of 1 month’s funding (or 8 percent of the total obligational authority) would represent the minimum carryover balance needed to meet program requirements. 7 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 It is important to stress that the $1.1 billion represents only potentially available balances-the amount of projected carryover balances that exceed the minimum goal for balances needed to meet program commitments. As we noted in our April 1996 report, this balance represents a starting point from which to identify the amount that could actually be used to offset DOE’s budget. DOE should be able to quantify the unique program characteristics that determine the need for balances over the goal in order to determine the amount of the available balances. In addition to analyzing the carryover balances in DOE’s operating and capital equipment funding, we identified $19 million in carryover balances available in EM construction projects at its Savannah River and Rocky Flats sites. (See table 2.) The balances included $17.9 million from various projects at Savannah River. For example, from the F&H Canyon Exhaust project, we found $6.4 million in funding that will be available at the completion of the project due to cost under-runs. At Rocky eats, we identified another $1.1 million in existing funding for design work to support construction of a interim plutonium storage vault which, under current plans, will not be constructed. 8 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 Table 2: EM Construction Proiects With Available Carrvover Balances Dollars in millions Construction project Available canyover description /site balances Reason balances are available Tritium Loading Line $0.831 Cost underrun. Modification (SRI I Domestic Water 0.8 Excess contingency funds. Upgrade (SR) I Radio Trunking System 1.1 Cost underrun. I (SW F&H Canyon Exhaust 6.4 Cost underrun. (SR) Productivity Retention 0.068 Project completed. Program (SR) Additional Separations 1.129 Cost underrun. WV Plantwide Fire 5.882 Cost underrun. Protection (SR) I Disassembly Basin 0.6 Cost underrun. Upgrade (SR) I Tank Farm Services 1 .I 12 Cost underrun. Upgrade (SR) Interim Plutonium 7.1 Project not planned to be Storage Vault (RF) continued. Total $19.022 Note: Savannah River (SR); Rocky Flats (RF). STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT AND DOWNSIZING INITIATIVE’S SAVINGS WERE GREATER THAN PLANNED In fiscal year 1996, DOE reduced its budget request by $208 million to reflect anticipated savings of $206 million under the first year of its Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative. At the end of fiscal year 1996, DOE reported that actual savings under the Initiative were $373 9 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 million. However, our calculation of actual savings for fiscal. year 1996 is $429 million. This amount represents an increase of $223 million in savings above the original DOE-planned savings of $206 million, which the fiscal year 1996 budget request was based upon. These additional prior year savings may, in part, contribute to potentially available carryover balances in fiscal year 1998. Unanticipated savings from this program may be an important consideration as the fiscal year 1998 budget and future budgets are developed over the 5-year life of this cost-savings program. AGENCY COMMENTS We provided a draft of this report to DOE for its review and comment. DOE said that there were no policy disagreements between us; however, DOE had some detailed concerns about five areas discussed in our report- EM’s Privatization Initiative, specific DP projects, EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative, carryover balances, and the Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative. Where appropriate, we made changes to the report in response to specific agency comments. (See enc. III for DOE’s comments.) With respect to EM’s Privatization Initiative, while DOE agreed that it did not need $39.2 miLlion for the TRU Waste Transportation, Low Activity Waste, Power Burst Facility, and Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Transfer and Storage privatization projects in fiscal year 1998, it disagreed with our conclusion that $8.2 million in funding for the Silo 3 project was not needed in fiscal year 1998. DOE noted that the Silo 3 funds were needed to provide full up-front funding prior to the contract award to comply with the Office of Management and Budget’s policy for capital leases. However, in offering this comment, we do not believe DOE is being consistent. Specifically, as we note in our report, DOE is not requesting full funding for its largest privatization project-the TWRS project. DOE officials told us that they did not request full funding for TWRS because they did not think their budget request could absorb the full amount of $1.445 billion. The officials also expressed concerns about our statement that assessing the long-term impact of EM’s privatization projects on the overall federal budget is difficult because the f&l cost of these projects is not included in the budget request or in agency budget jusmcations. DOE noted that it has distributed detailed Project Data Sheets which include the total costs, to congressional staff. We note that the Project Data Sheets were prepared at the request of congressional staff after we raised questions about the total cost of these projects and that the sheets were not distributed until April 10 GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fisca.l Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 1997. However, we have made changes to the report to reflect the fact that the agency’s justifications-the Project Data Sheets-do include the total cost. Regarding the specific DP projects, in general, DOE’s comments reflect corrective actions taken since we completed our work and clarifications on why questionable funds are needed. Specifically, regarding educational initiatives, at the time of our review DOE had $670,326 in uncosted obligations and had requested an additional $700,000 for fiscal year 1998 for educational initiatives. After our review, DOE said that it has committed these uncosted obligations and has reduced its fiscal year 1998 budget request to $315,000. We agree that, if appropriately committed, the uncosted obligations are no longer available for funding DOE’s fiscal year 1998 budget request and that the reduced request should be considered on its own merits. Regarding the Device Assembly Facility, we recognize that DOE is proposing various possible future missions for the facility once it becomes operational. However, the facility is not yet operational and currently lacks authorized, defined missions with specific time frames. Furthermore, DOE has not considered the alternative of temporarily closing the facility since its original mission is no longer viable.12We believe that the absence of a mission for the facility raises questions about whether all of the $10 million requested for fiscal year 1998 may be needed. Finally, although none of the six subcritical experiments planned for fiscal year 1996 or 1997 have been conducted to date, DOE says that two experiments are still planned for fiscal year 1997. Furthermore, DOE claims that significant funding is required to plan for these experiments even if they are not actually conducted. However, since all of these postponed experiments were fully funded in fiscal years 1996 and 1997, we believe that it is appropriate to question whether some funding may remain that may reduce the need for all of the $40 million requested for fiscal year 1998. Regarding EM’s proposed Technology Deployment Initiative, DOE acknowledged that a formal detailed study was not performed to arrive at its funding request. According to DOE, the $50 million figure was based on past experience and the agency’s belief that a sufkient number of proposals should be funded to represent a majority of EM’s cleanup problems. DOE provided updated information on the- anticipated number of projects, which we have incorporated. Regarding the possibility that 12Thefacility’s original mission was to assemble nuclear test devices. This mission is no longer viable because underground testing was banned with the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1992. 11 GAO/WED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 additional sites beyond the first deployment might not use the innovative technologies, DOE commented that the initiative requires the identikation of additional deployment opportunities; however, as noted in our May 1997 testimony,‘3 additional sites are required to submit only letters of interest. Regarding carryover balances, DOE noted that there are significant methodological differences in how we and the Department analyze carryover balances that could yield substantially different results. In particular, DOE cited (1) our application of the goal fcr operating and capital funding to the total obligational authority, versus its preference for applying the goal to the total resources that can be costed, and (2) its use of a 50-percent goal for operating funds associated with management and operating contractor’s subcontracts and nonmanagement and operating prime contracts. DOE also said that the analysis of carryover balances only identifies areas where the balances should receive greater scrutiny and does not mean that the balances could actua3ly be used to offset DOE’s budget. We recognized and discussed our views on the first difference in our April 1996 report on carryover balances. We noted that DOE’s approach assumed that a percentage of the uncosted balances existing at the beginning of the year would again be carried over for an additional fiscal year. We stated that this assumption was inconsistent with the assumption made in developing the goal in the first place, that is, that uncosted obligations would be needed for only a certain amount of time. We continue to hold this view. Regarding the issue of the 50-percent goal for certain types of contracts, we found that DOE did not have data available to quant@ how much its balances were affected by this issue. Therefore, we did not make an adjustment to our analysis to reflect this issue. We did make adjustments to reflect other unique program requirements, such as an adjustment to the capital equipment carryover balance goal for the Energy Research program that removes the funding for major items of equipment that have the characteristics of construction projects. (See table II.1 for a discussion of the adjustments we did make in our analysis.) Finally, we agree that the analysis of carryover balances is a tool for focusing on balances that should receive greater scrutiny and does not necessarily mean that all balances are available to offset DOE’s budget. We have included wording in the report to emphasize that this analysis represents only a starting pointing from which to analyze carryover balances. 13Cleanun Technoloerv: DOE’s Program to Develon New Technologies for Environmental Cleanun (GAO/T’-RCED-97-161,May 7, 1997). 12 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request B-277024 Regarding our finding that DOE exceeded its Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative’s savings goal, DOE noted that it had taken a conservative approach in reporting these savings. It also noted that the actual higher saving estimates were known to its offices and taken into account when preparing budget submissions. However, we reported these additional amounts as potentially available because DOE could not document the extent to which they were considered during its budget preparation process. We performed this work from October 1996 through June 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We did not, however, verify the accuracy of the information contained in DOE’s Financial Information System, which we used to analyze the carryover balances. We did not verify the accuracy of this information because of the limited time available to effectively review the system while still achieving our primary objectives of reviewing DOE’s fiscal year 1998 bqdget. Enclosure II describes our objectives, scope, and methodology. As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce it contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 10 days after the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies of the report to the appropriate congressional committees and the Secretary of Energy. We will also make copies of this report available to others upon request. Please contact me on (202) 512-3841if you or your staff have any questions, Major contributors to this report included Chris Abraham, Gene Barnes, Linda Chu, Jim Crigler, Mark Gaffigan, Ron Guthrie, Jeffery He& Rachel Hesselink, John Hunt, Anne McCaf&ey, James Noel, Tom Perry, Ilene Pollack, Robert Sanchez, Bill Swick, and Charles Sylvis. Enclosures - 3 13 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAO Department of Energy’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request 14 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request .. ,: .. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAO Objectives l identify Department of Energy (DOE) fiscal year 1998 requests for funds that may not be needed. l identify carryover balances that are potentially available. 15 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . .(.’.. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOS‘LTRE1 GAo Scope l Environmental Management (EM) program, including l Privatization Initiative l Projects at Savannah River and Rocky Flats sites l Technology Deployment Initiative l Defense Programs (DP)--Nevada Operations Office 16 GAO/BCED-95171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . .; 1 ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GA0 Scope, Continued 0 Carryover balances in DOE’s major programs l Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative (SAI) GAWRCED-97-171R DOE’s F&xl Year 1998 Budget Request . ..,.’ .. ENCLOSURE I ’ ENCLOSURE I G&3 Summary l EM’s fiscal year 1998 privatization request contains at least l five projects that do not need the $47.4 million requested for fiscal year 1998, l -eight projects worth $225.1 million that have very preliminary cost savings assumptions, and l three projects worth $44.5 million not reauired by comPliance agreements. 18 .. GAWKED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request .,: ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GM Summary, Continued l EM and DP have requested $34.1 million for specific projects that may not be needed. l EM’s $50 million Technology Deployment Initiative has unresolved implementation issues. 0 $1 .I billion in potentially available carryover balances exist in DOE. 0 SAI produced more savings than ted. 19 GAOIRCED-97-17lR DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GACI EM’s Privatization Request Some projects do not need requested funds Dollars in millions Project Amount not needed TRU Waste $7.7 Transportation Low Activity Waste 2.6 Power Burst Facility Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Transfer and Storage 20 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ::: ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAL) EM’s Privatization Request, Cdntinued Some projects’ cost savings are based on very preliminary assumptions. l TRU Waste Transportation, Low Activity Waste Treatment, -Power Burst Facility, Spent Fuel Dry Transfer and Storage, Waste Pits Remedial Action, Silo 3, and Buildings 886 and 779. l Total requested--$2251 million. 21 GAWRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . c I .. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSUREI GAD EM’s Privatization Request, Continued Some projects are not required by existing comr>liance aareements l Buildings 886 and 779 and the Power Burst Facility. . Total requested--$445 million. 22 GAOIRCED-97-17lR DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ,,. .. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I Gtv-) EM’s Privatization Request, Continued Scoring issues l EM is requesting $1.006 billion for 11 new projects and 1 existing project-. l EM is not requesting budget authority for the total capital costs for some projects, e.g., the Tank Waste Remediation System (TW RS). l DOE’s capital funding request is not always related to a useful segment of a project, e.g., TWRS. 23 GAO/RCED-97-17l.R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAo EM’s Privatization Request, Continued Scoring issues l DOE’s privatization projects do not fit the scoring approach in the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-1 I very well. l Because budget authority is requested for only the capital portion of projects, operating costs are not addressed in the budget request. 24 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s l?iscal Year 1998 Budget Request . ..’ ENCLOSURE1 ENCLOSURE1 GAD EM’s Privatization Request, Continued Scoring issues l Operating costs exceed capital costs--$58 billion vs. $2.8 billion. l The long-term impact of operating costs on outlays will be significant. 25 GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s F’iscaI Year 1998 Budget Request . . . . ... .. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAO EM’s Privatization Request, Continued Budget Outlays by Fiscal Year Dollars in millions 1,400 1 1,000 800 600 400 200 0 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Fiscal year q Capital reimbursement q Operating costs 26 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . ... . ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I a0 EM’s Specific Requests l EM has requested fiscal year 1998 funds for specific projects that may not be needed. l $4.9 inillion for well sampling at Savannah River. l $2.4 million for the interim storage vault at Rocky Flats. l $16.1 million for lower-risk cleanups at Rocky Flats. 27 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ...% . ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I w DP’s Specific Requests l DP has requested funds for specific projects that may not be needed. l $0.7 million for educational initiatives at the Nevada Operations Office. l $10 million for operating and maintaining the Device Assembly Facility, which lacks a mission. 28 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . . ‘...’ ENCLOSIJRE I ENCLOSURE I GA!O DP’s Specific Requests, Continued l $40 million was requested for four subcritical experiments in fiscal year 1998 at Nevada. l All fiscal year 1996 experiments were canceled. l Nbne of the fiscal year 1997 experiments have been conducted. l All of the $40 million requested may not be needed. 29 ;;AO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . ..; .. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GAO EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative l initiative’s goals: l To move innovative environmental technologies into more widespread use across DOE. 9 To use innovative technologies to reduce costs, speed cleanups, or reduce risks. 30 GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I MO EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative, Continued l Process for achieving goals: The Technology Deployment Initiative would provide $50 million to sites for the first deployment of an innovative technology that has been tested and demonstrated. The Technology Deployment Initiative will use a competitive process to review and select proposals from sites. 31 ‘( GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Bequest ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I G&I EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative, Continued l Sites will issue a request for proposal for each project. l The Army Corps of Engineers will help develop data on cost savings from the use of innovative technologies. l Projects may run from 1 to several years. l Sites may retain any cost savings from the first deployment. . 32 .. GAO/RCED-97-l?lR DOE’s m Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSJJ-fiEI ENCLOSURE I WCJ EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative, Continued l Issues: l Sites will receive additional funds to do what they should do anyway--select the best technology for the job. 0 EM did not arrive at its $50 million request through a detailed study. 33 GAOLRCED-97-17lR DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . .. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GA* EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative, Continued l It is uncertain whether additional sites (beyond the first deployment) will use the innovative technologks. l The number of projects that should be funded is uncertain. l - EM recently selected 16 projects to ’ fund in FY 1998, pending appropriations decisions. 34 .’ GAO/RCED-97-17lR DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Bad&t Reqmst . :_ .’ ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GA* Status of Carryover Balances for Operating and Capital Equipment Funding Proposed use Projected of carryover Fiscal year fiscal year Carryover balances in 1997 1998 balance goal Potentially DOE’s fiscal beginning beginning for fiscal year available year 1998 DE program balances balances 1998 balance request ?ergy and 2itei welopment ?fense $597,705,435 $376,514,966 $330,670,692 $45,844,274 0 ograms Et-lvironmental 960,455,457 659,666,594 529,810,518 129,856,076 0 fvltlnagement Nrlclear Energy 112,768,365 t&964,365 28,478,831 27,485,534 $3,535,000 El?lergy 474,617,166 487,189,315 242,390,688 244,798,627 15,000,ooo REsearch lergy 237,054,288 146,305,094 21,855,174 124,449,920 -i5,OQQ,OoO kiency and RE?newable Enlergy To tal $2,382,600,711 $1,725,640,334 $1 ,X3,205,903 $572,434,431 $33,535,000 35 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s FSscal Year 1998 Budget Request .. . ... ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GA* Status of Carryover Balances for Operating and Capital Equipment Funding, Continued Proposed use Projected of carryover Fiscal year fiscal year Carryover balances in 1997 1998 balance goal Potentially DOE’s fiscal beginning beginning for fiscal year available year 1998 DOE program balances balances 1998 balance request Interior Fossil Energy $598,577,883 $515,681,575 $67,493,760 $448,187,815 0 Energy 356,823,127 1T/,847,063 48,370,042 129,477,021 $20,000,000 Efficiency and Renewable Emrgy Total $955,401 ,010 $693,528,638 $115,863,802 $577,664,836 $2o,ooo,ooa 36 GANRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . ‘... ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I GA!! Status of Carryover Balances for Operating and Capital Equipment Funding, Continued Proposed use Projected of carryover Fiscal year fiscal year Carryover balances in 1997 1998 balance goal Potentially DOE’s fiscal beginning beginning for fiscal year available year 1998 balances balances 1998 balance request $2,382,600,711 $1,725,640,334 $1,153,205,903 $572,434,431 $33,535,000 955,401 ,010 693,528,638 115,863,802 577,664,836 20,000,000 ; $1,269,069,705 $1 ,150,099,267 $53,535,000 37 GAO/RCED-97-17lE DOE’s F’iscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE1 ENCLOSURE1 GKJ DOE’s Carryover Balances l Carryover balances from line item funding are’ also potentially available. l $17.9 million in various line items at Savannah River. l $1 .I million for the interim storage vault at Rocky Flats. 38 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE‘s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request _: .. ENCLOSUREI ENCLOSURE1 G&I SAl’s Savings Greater Than Planned l DOE reduced its fiscal year 1996 budget request to deal with an anticipated savings of $206 million under SAL l We calculated the savings for fiscal year 1996 at $429 million. 0 Therefore, about $223 million of additional savings have resulted. 39 GAWRCED-97-171R DOE’s F3sc.d Year 1998 Budget Request . . . :,.. ENCLOSURE I ENCLOSURE I mo Sources of SAl’s Savings Dollars in millions DOE DOE GAO Total planned reported calculated additional Area savings savings savings savings Support Service $90 $184 $208 Contracts Staff information Resources - 45 30 y-4 Management Travel 35 40 56 National 6 6 6 Environmental I Policy Act Total _. $206 40 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . ..i . ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY Our objectives in this review were to identify (1) the Department of Energy’s (DOE) fiscal year 1998 budget requests for funds that may not be needed and 12) funding balances remaining from prior years--carryover bahnces-that may be available to reduce the agency’s fiscal year 1998 funding requests. To identify fiscal year 1998 budget requests for funds that may not be needed, we focused on DOE’s requests for funding to support the Environmental Management (EM) program’s Privatization Initiative, specific EM projects at DOE’s Savannah River and Rocky Flats sites, EM’s Technology Deployment Initiative, and Defense Programs’ (DP) requests for speci.& projects managed by its Nevada Operations Office. In keviewing privatization, we interviewed officials in EM’s Privatization Initiative office at headquarters as well as the managers of specific projects slated for privatization at various facilities in the field. We obtained and reviewed program guidelines, budget request justifications, project plans and cost estimates, and other pertinent documents related to privatization. For OUTreview of specific EM projects at Savannah River and Rocky Flats and DP projects managed by the Nevada Operations Office, we reviewed supporting documentation that justi3ied speciEic project requests for funding. We also interviewed local DOE field office staff and management and operating (M&O) corkactors wifh responsibility for managing these projects and developing the fxxal year 1998 budget request For the Technology Deployment Initiative, we interviewed program managers at headquarters and reviewed the fiscal year 1998 budget justification. We also reviewed the implementing program guidance and policy that describe the initiative’s process. for deploy$g technologies at different sites. To ident@ carryover .balances that’tiay be available to reduce fiscal year 1998 funding requests, we estimated potentially available c-over balances for operating 41 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSUREII ENCLOSURE II activities and capital equipment procurements for DOE’s six major program areas-EM, DP, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Energy Research, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear Energy. We also examined potentiai carryover balances in EM construction projects and additional prior year savings from DOE’s overall Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Jnitiative. To estimate potentially available carryover balances for operating activities and capital equipment procurements at the beginning of fiscal year 1998 for DOE’s six major program areas, we (1) projected the six major programs’ carryover balances at the beginning of tical year 1998, (2) set carryover balance goals for each program, and (3) analyzed the difference between the goals and the projections to identify potentially excess balances. We developed our projected total carryover balances for DOE’s six major programs by adding carryover balances at the beginning of fiscal year 1997 and new funding in fiscal year 1997 to calculate the total resources available for operating and capital equipment activities. We then developed fiscal year 1997 cost estimates based on the actual costing rate for the first 4 months of fiscal year 1997 as compared with the costing rate for fiscal year 1996. We then subtracted fiscal year 1997 cost estimates from the total resources available to arrive at projected carryover balances for the beginning of fiscal year 1998. We then provided these cost estimates and the resulting carryover balances to DOE program officials. Five of the program offices provided their fiscal year 1997 cost estimates-EM, DP, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear Energy. Energy Research accepted our projected fiscal year 1997 costs. For EM, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear Energy, we used their costs to arrive at the Enal projected carryover balance for the b@nning of liscal year 1998. Because DP’s fiscal year 1997 cost estimates were higher than actual fr.scal year 1996 costs, we used our fiscal year 42 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year I.998 Bndget Request ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSUREII 1997 cost estimates to arrive at its projected carryover balance for the beginnkg of fiscal year 1998. To develop goals for the minimum level of carryover balances needed io meet program requirements, we adopted goals based on an approach first developed by EM that we discussed in our April 1996 report on DOE’s carryover balances. Specifically, for operating funding, these goals assumed a minimum of a l-month lag between a commitment of funding and the actual expenditure of funding for that commitment. Thus, for a year’s operating funding, a carryover balance goal of l-month’s funding (or 8 percent of the total obligational authori@) would represent the minirnum carryover balance needed to meet progrq requirements. For capital equipment, these goals assumed a minimum of a 6-month lag between a commitment of capital equipment funding and the actual expenditure of funding for that commitment. Thus, for a year’s capital equipment funding, a carryover balance goal of 6-month’s funding (or 50 percent of the total obligational authority) would represent the minimum carryover balance needed to meet program requirements. However, in fiscal year 1997, operating and capital equipment activities are no longer funded as separate categories. Thus, we used the fiscal year 1996 ratios of funding for operating and capital equipment activities for each program to estimate the type of funding it received in fiscal year 1997. This allowed us to determine carryover balance goals that were consistent with this approach. We then compared projected fiscal year 1998 beginning balances to a goal for the minimum level of carryover balances needed to meet program requirements for iiscal year 1998. The differen& between the projected balances and the carryover balance goal represents the pool of potentially available -over balances for fiscal year 1998. In analyzing the,@fferences, we adjusted the goals, where possible, to account for individual programs’ characteristics that would afYect the amount of the 43 GAOiRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II carryover balances needed to meet unique program requirements. Table II.1 summarizes the areas where we made adjustments to DOE’s programs. Table ii.1: Adiustments to Carrvover Balance Goals for DOE Programs DOE program Specific program adjustment Environmental EM privatization funding: Not included in the analysis because it Management consists of unique financing for long-term, construction-reiated projects. Energy Research All programs: The carryover balance goal for capital equipment procurement was adjusted to remove funding for major items of equipment that have the characteristics of construction projects. Energy Research Small Business innovative Research program: Not included in the carryover balance analysis because it is not funded by a specific appropriation but by an assessment on all government research and development funding. Nuclear Energy Naval Reactors program: Excluded because these activities are not controlled by Nuclear Energy. Nuclear Energy International Nuclear Safety program: Not included in the analysis because funding is for construction-related projects in the former Soviet Union. Nuclear Energy Isotope Production and Distribution fund: Fiscal year 1997 beginning uncosted obligations were reduced to reflect revenues and reimbursements. The fiscal year 1997 new obligational authority was adjusted to reflect the net appropriation and cash collected from the sale of isotopes. Fossil Energy Clean Coal Technology program: Not included in the analysis because funding is primarily for long-term, construction-related projects. Defense Programs Weapons Activities and Other Defense Activities appropriations: Adjusted to subtract funds for nuclear nonproliferation, worker training, and inventory because these funds are not managed by DP. We did not develop -over balance projections and goals to identify potential excess funding for DOE’s constiction projects. As we noted in k-u- April 1996 report, there is no need to establish a goal for carryover balances for construction projects because each one is unique, and its level of -over balances can be easily measured 44 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE II ENCLOSURE II against the remaining scope of work, milestones, and specific budget request. Therefore, we reviewed line item funding for specific EM construction projects at Savannah River and Rocky Flats to identify any carryover balances that may be available. We examined project cost and budget plans, actual cost data, scope information, and scheduled milestones for completion. We interviewed DOE and contractor officials at the site to determine if any projects have carryover balances that are in excess of project needs. Independently of our analysis of carryover balances for DOE’s major programs, we also examined DOE’s Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative to identify any savings above planned budget reductions that may have been realized in prior years. To measure the savings under DOE’s initiative, we reviewed the areas designated for savings and DOE’s fiscal year 1996 amended budget request. We checked the status of each of the 45 implementation plans, including the six key strategies for achieving cost savings, and calculated actual fiscal year 1996 savings under the initiative. We discussed procedures for claiming and reporting savings with officials at the Offices of the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Information Officer. 45 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III COMMENTS FROM THE DEPAR’IMENT OF ENERGY Department of Energy Washington. DC 20585 June 18, 1997 Mr. Victor S. Rezendes Director, Energy, Resources, and Science Issues Resources, Community and Economic Development Division U. S. General Accounting Office Washingtoq DC. 20548 Re: GAO draft report “Department of Energy: Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request,“.June 1997, .GAO/RCED-97- 17 1R Thank you for the opportunity to provide agency comments on the referenced draft report. We have reviewed the subject report and held discussions with General Accounting Of&e (GAO) representatives. We believe that there are no policy disagreements between us, but onIy questions of timing and execution. The Department’s detailed comments are provided in the enclosure to this letter. A summary of the major issues is provided as follows: . We believe that the characterization of the Department’s carryover balances by GAO as “‘potentialIy available” (based on GAO’s goals for carryover balances) may be misleading. We request that GAO further highlight its finding that these “potentially available” balances merely represent a starting point by which to identify amounts of balances that might be available to offset DOE’s budget. Additionahy, there are significant methodological d&rences between the Department and GAO in the analysis of carryover balances which may yield SubstantiaUy difkent resuits. . GAO has indicated that the Department has exceeded its Strategic Alignment Inhiative (SAT) savings goals and should take fkh advantkge of these savings in fiture budget - requests. We agree with that conchtsion, and it is our planning objective. The Department does consider a variety of costing changes/reductions to on-going programs, includin&4I, and expects its budgets to reflect such savings. : . . GAO has characterized requested tiding for the Devi&Assembly kaoility (DAR) and selected subcritical expknents as potentially surphts to the needs of the Department. While .t$e end of the Cold Wai and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty have reduced some testing.a&ities, DAF remains i vakble fidity with seyerd planned missions. Additionally, two subcritical tests are planned for fiscal year 1997with more planned for 46 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request, ENCLOSUREIII ENCLOSUREIII the future. These tests serve as a critical component of our Science Based StockpiJe Stewardship program and will re&force and demonstrate our readiness to wnduct a nuclear test if required. Therefore, these funds wntinue to be required to meet the Department’s evolving missions. Additionally, subcritical tests are planned in fiscal year I998 and, as a critical component of our Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship program, serve to reinforce and demonstrate our read-in-s to conduct a nuclear t&f if required. Therefore, these fimds continue to be required to meet the Department’s evolving missions. . GAO suggests that the Environmental Management Technology Development budget request was not based on a detailed study of project ne+ds. While a detaiied study was not performed, a reasonable estimate was developed based on past experience and anticipated future technoIogical requirements. The projects that we plan to select will have to meet these requirements and demonstrate mu!&application potential. . The GAO report has concluded that a sma.Upercentage of the privatization.fimds requested in fiscal year 1998 will no longer be needed in fiscal year 1998 for those projects because of project deferraIs which have arisen since the time the fiscal year 1998 budget was formulated, reductions in project scope or cost reestimates. The Department will keep the Congress informed of developments in our budget request, and when significant changes are warranted, the Department will propose budget amendments, supplement&, or reprogrammings to recognize these changes. . We share GAO’S view that privatization cost savings estimates are important and we are committed to making available detailed cost estimates prior to c&t-act award. This information wilI supplement other wntractual information which the Secretary has wmmitted to provide to key Congressional wmmitiees prior to contract award. We are available to discuss these matters with you at your convenience. If you have any questions, please call me or have your staff contact Mr. Richard Sweeney (30 1) 903-255 1. J.kbeth E. Smedley Acting ChiefFtnanciaI 03icer : Enclosures 47 . , GAOLRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request :. ..: . ENCLOSURE III _ ENCLOSURE III Enclosure 1 The following comments are prepared to assist GAO in understanding the Department’s detailed concerns or explanations related to the various issues which GAO hasraised in its report: I. Carrvover Balances a. The Depamnent believes that the GAO report should make clear that the GAO model for uncosted balances identifies areas where balances should receive greater scrutiny; that does not mean that the balances could aetuahy be used to offset DOE’s budget. b. The Department does not agree with the methodology applied by the GAO in its development of “potentially available” uncosred balances. GAO’S projected numbers were based on percentages of totaI obligational authority (TOA). The Department currently uses actual cost as a basis for anaieng unwsted balances rather than TOA We believe GAO should recognize “actual costs incurred” as the basis for the development of their “potentially availabIe” uncosted baiakes because cost (i.e., past performance) is more indicative of future performance in ongoing program execution than total obhgational availability. c. There are significant methodologic.aI diierenees between the Department &d the GAO in the analysis of carryover balances which may yield substantially different results. In response to the April 1996 GAO Report, the Department initiated a new systematic approach for the analysis of uncosted balances. This approach differs from the GAO approach as follows: GAO applies a flat 8% goal to operating funds, while the Department applies i 50% goal (threshold) to those operating funds associated with M&O/lMC subcontract (external) costs and non-M&O @rime) contracts, The Department’s threshold of 50% is based on the current operationaI procurement prackes of the Department and its M&O/IMC contractors. The normal execution of prime contracts and subcontracts of M&Os/IhJCs is to award them throughout the fiscal year. The even distribution of awards throughout the fiscal year supports the expectation that approximately 50% of the costs will occur in the next fiscal year: The GAO threshold of 8% of total obligational authority suggests that awards for a.lI annual contracts would occur in the first month of the fiscal year, thereby generating an unwsted balance of about one month (8%) at year end. Under current operations, neither the Department nor its M.&OAMC conkactots could award ah contracts in such a short period. d. We believe the GAO. approach may foster th$ false perception that the Department’s unwsted balances are not being managed effxtively. In fit& the Department’s uncosted lxdances are at the lowest point in over 15 years, dropping $4.2 billion since IT 1993. We believe the Depar&u$ has been working diiigedy with GAO to develop a methodology for analy%g miwsted l@anceswhicb will yield results in the form of reduced uncoskxl balances. As the Depaztment’s ~ormance over the last three years has shown, we are moving in the . right direction, We believe ,the DOE approach is more consistent with the realistic expe&tions forprogkm exeu.rtion, +rd more closely refkcts the Department’s perfannarice _ in reduking tnx.o&d balances over the last several years. 48 .GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . . -. . ., I. : _. ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III 2. Strategic Alirmment Initiative We are pieased that the GAO has reported that the Department has exceeded its Strategic Alignment initiative (SAI) target goals. In order to avoid charges that savings were not real, theDepzftmenthastaconsenatk e approach to reporting these savings. However, any actual higher savings estimates were known to field and HQ offices long before the publication of year-end savings reports, and these ofkes routinely take all such actual execution infbrmation into &count when preparing budget submissions such as the FY 1998 submission There is no way of knowing whether or not these additional savings contributed to FY 1996 year-end unwsted amounts. . 1GAO/RCBD-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Pear 1998 Budget Requat 49 . .. _. .” ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III 3. Defense Pro&rns a. Defense Promams Education Tnitiatives - Paee 8 (1) The FY 1998 budget request for the Education program for Nevada is $3 15,000, not $700,000 as stated in the GAO report. The unwsted balan- as of March 3 I, 1997, were $670,326, of which !i479,124 has since been costed. The remaining unwsted balance, as of May 3 1, 1997, is $191,202, which has been wmmirted and wilI be costed once the grants are closed out. (2) The FY 1998 budget requirement of $3 15,000 is needed to continue support to the HistoricaIly Black CoIIeges and Universities (HECU), l5spanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and educational partnerships. Specifically, the fimding requested for the HBCU wiLl provide support to the Fort Valley State Co#ege 3+2 program through which students are recruited into Fort Valley State College for three years and then transfer to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for two years and earn dual degrees in health physi&nathernatics or environmental enginee-ringImath~cs. The HBCU fimding will also fund an ongoing research and development project at Fisk University. The HACU funding also will provide support to a Hispanic serving institution in support tif the Department’s Hispanic OutreachInitiative. The requirements &ndiig till also provide support to dontinue our ongoing education activities in local communities. The& educational partnership activities include the Science Bowl, Science Now, and Spanish 30~1. b. Device Assemblv Faciiitv t’DAF) - Page 8 (1) Although the end of the CoId War and the nuclear test moratorium that led to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty have reduced some testing activities, the Nevada Test Site remains a key experimental faciIity for Stockpile Stewardship. Defense Programs plans the - following missions for the Device AssembIy Facility (DAF), once it becomes operational: 1) Subcritical Experiments - the assembly of subcritical experiments; 2) Test Readiness - maintainthe capabilityto assemblephysics packagesfor a series of one to three nuclear tests in the event the President de&es a “Supreme N&o&l Interest” test; 3) Damaged Nuclear weapons - maimin the capabiity to accept and disable a damagednuclear weapon (assume one exercise every other year to maintain skills, capabilities, fkilities, and to main&in and develop proceszs and procedures); 4) Replacemeat of AbIe Site, A-27 - the assexnbly/staging of High Explosives (HE) and radioactive materials in support of LLNLL&K activiiies previously performed iri Able Site, (emmpks in Fy 1996 & Fy 1997 included Raincoat, _ Rainwit ICI.,Nellie IO, l&12,1?; J&saw and Monarch). . (2., Possible fbturi missions for DAF include: I) . T&g 1 ingelleral,thisarea &o$d include la6 hands-on practice on m+ar weaponsIr&xrs, and “off$ne”. work by . laboratory personnel with one df a kind components or assemblies. The mdst developed of _ these initiatives is the Joint Nuclear Explosives Training Facility, a.Los Alamos sponsor@ initiative to provide form&xl, structured training to laboratory personnel in a realistic 50 GAOIRCED-97-17IR DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request _ .. .: ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE In: setting. This initiative is currently structured to use either Area 27, or DAF when it is available, as an extension oftraining facilities at Los Alamos; ii) Enhanced Surveilkme - the DAF could be used for field testing and demonstration of advanced techniques for the surveillance program; iii) Advanced Manufacturing, Design and Production Techniques (adapt) - the DAF could be used for field testing and demonstration of these techniques prior to full implementation; iv) Weapons Modifications/Life Extension Programs - the DAF is well suited to weapon modifications and life extension programs which, if conducted at Pantex, couId significantly disrupt the ongoing assembly and disassembiy operations being conducted there. DO33NV developed a mode! for DAF contribution to a life extension program which c&Id be adapted to a variety of weapon systems needs. The activities associated with getting DAF operational by the end of fiscal year 1997 are estimated to cost $14 mihion. Beginning in fiscal year 1998, operational costs of the facility wiIl be approximately $1 I r&lion per year for maintenance and operation, excluding project activity C0St.S. c. Subcritical Exueriments - Pace 8 (1) The Department of Energy is planning to conduct two “subcriticaI” high explosive experiments underground at the Nevada Test Site in fkcal year 1997. These scientific experiments will involve subcritical configurations of high explosives and nuclear weapon materials, such as plutonium, and will provide te&nical information important for the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. These will be the first in a continuing series planned for the titure at the Nevada Test Site. (2) Even though no subcritical experiments have been conducted to date, significant finds have been required to prepare for their execution. When the Secretary determined that it was mxxsary to postpone these experiments in fiscal year 1996, actions were taken to put the first two planned experiments in a semi-operational state so they couid be restarted and compieted when the go-ahead was given without sign&ant additional te&nical delay, or rebuild and restart costs. Rather than abandoning the experimental site, the diagnostic and other schtific equipm for the experimentswaspreservedin a v&y that damagewould not result from the hiatus, andthe undergroundcomplexwas also maintained. In addition, in this time pea-id the Departmentconductedtwo over#l omonal exercisesfor the experimental teams and several other “dry-runs” and trials have taken place to assure that sbff and equipment are in good condition. Not only will these activities benefit future experimental e.Sorts at the NTS, but they have also served to reinforce and demonstrate our readiness to conduct a nuclear test ifthat were required by the President: Fiiy, planning work and diagnostic development was b&m on the tech&al aspects of futuze experiments to optiinize their value in expectation that the go-ahead for them would be forthcoming.. 51 GAOIRCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . ..,: .’ ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III 4. Environmental Management a. $50 Million Technolozv Dedovment Initiative I. The GAO draft report has suggested that “sites will receive additional funds to do what they should do anyway-select the best technology for thejob.” However, we believe additional factors need to be considered. There’are regulatory barriers and perceive business risks associated with the use of new technology. Ofkn an exkting, albeit less efficient, technology is proposed to the regulator since it represents the surest opportunity for acceptance. The proposed Technology Depioyment Initiative (TDI) wouId eliminate the business risks by helping fund the first implementation of competitively selected alternative technology projects that meet a multi-site pet5ormancespecScation This approach is intended to spur widespread application of alternative technologies, thereby accelerating cleanup schedules and ultiitely reducing costs. ii. The GAO draft report also states that: ‘Zh4 did not arrive at its $50 million request through a detailed zxudy.” While a formal detaiIed study was not performed, the $50 million figure is based on our past experience and the belief that s&&ant funding to support proposals that represent a majority of the EM probIem set should be supported in order to demonstrate the viability of the multi-application model. We believe that IO to 20 projects annua.Uy,resulting in an estimated 50 TDI projects over a four-year period of this prograq would be sufficient to institutionalize the concept in EM. iii. GAO’s briefing charts include a statement that, “The number of projects that should be or will be funded is uncertain.” The TDI approach cahs for DOE Operations Offices to compete for funding of prospective projects. We have selected 16.projects for tinding through the TDI in fiscai year 1998, subject to available appropriations. iv. Finally, the GAO dr& report states that, ‘It is uncertain that additional sites (beyond the first deployment) wiIl use the innovative technologies.” Participation in the TDI q&-es identitication of specificdeploymentopportunities beyond the initial application prior to selectionof a project for i$nding, Field Office Managerswill be requiredto submit letters of commitmeJ&that cite the .site!oper&.ionalfimding to be &cat& to the proposed deployment. The TDI-process will requk all participating sites to wo& coopekively during the qualification and implementation stagesto ensurethat barriers to deployment are defined and resolved.’ The initiative enables earlyresolutionto theseharriers, includiq$regulat&y, stakeholder,and/or operational . concerns.,. v. The Department’s environmental management technology development program has sponsored over 700 alternative te+kologies since its inception Over 200 are alreadycommerciaIlyavailable., O&r 100 new technoIogiesha4 been implemented- 52 GAO/RCED-97-171RDOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . . : . . _. _,:i ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III or have been selected for implementation. Half of these have occurred since jun 1995; but it is .onIy through widespread deployment that the full potential of our investment in new technologies can be realized. We are confident that the TDI wit1 spur multipIe applications of ahemative technologies that reduce risks to peopIe and the environment and reduce cieanup costs. 53 . GAOBCED-97-171R DOE’s FiscaI Year 1998 Budget Request . . ..: ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III b. Privatization GAO s@ficahy addressedfunds requested in the fiscal year 1998 budget for projects EM is targeting for privatization. Environmental Management has work4 very do&y with the GAO on the privatization issues during the last seve~akmontbs with a focus on explaining the compIexities and opportunities of this new program and to improve our own efforts. ’ In an effort to foster this continuing dialogue, we recommend the following changes in your report. Fist, we suggest a modification of page 2 (and supporting pages 5 and 6) relating to fiscal year 1998 funding requirements. We agree with your - conclusion that X39.2 &lion in f&ding relating to four projects is not needed in fiscal year 1998. These funds will not be needqdfor these projects because of project deferrals which have arisen since the time the fkal year 1998 budget was formulated, reductions in project scope, or reestimat es ofcost. These projects will require $10.5 million of the X39.2 m&on in funding in fiscaI year 1999. However, we disagree with your conclusion &at the $8.2 miliion in fhclmg foi the Fernaid, Ohio Silo 3 project is not required in fiscal year 1998. We believe these funds are needed to comply with the O&e of h4anagementand Budget’s policy for budgeting of capital leases, which requires t%Il up-front funding for the project at contract award,.and to avoid the risk that Congress might not follow through in f&iii a project in 1999 if the project was partially funded in 1998. Second, we share the view that cost savings estimates are very important and plan to make available detailed cost estimates prior to wntract award. This information would supplement contractual information which the Secretary has wmmitted to provide to key Congressional Committees thirty days prior to contract execution. (See enclosure 2) At the same the, it should be noted that the use of fixed-price, competitive wntracts that shift performance risk to the contractor have been found in many cases worldwide to offer sign&ant cost savings potential over traditional cost and upgraded to be mu& more accurate. For cxautple,.one of the eight projects cited by GAO is the Fernal% Ohio Waste Pits pro&& DOE has developed an independent government estimate and has obtained Severat tied price competitive bids for this . project which are currently being evaluated Although the detailed i&ormation is procurement se&&q these bids support DOE’s savings estimate for this project. In additiop., for theLow Adivity Waste project at Idaho, a w&act wig awarded in April 1997’with Fluor-Dar@ (for completion in &to&r) to study the project and to . prepare detailed life-cycle wst and schedule estimates. ,;- Third, t&G&~ rqicrifails to e&in that there were important reasons(apart Corn 54 .GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request .. .. . . .-.: . ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III wmpfiance) to include three decontamination and decommissioning projects in its privatization request. DOE agrees that these three projects worth $44.5 mihion were not required by any existing wmpliance agreements and could be postponed” (page 2). However, we b&eve that this language should be cIarified (as well as supporting page 7) because GAO’s conclusion implies that EnviromnentaI Management should 0nIy rtxxive privatization fimding for compliancedriven activities. These three projects, for which $44.5 miIIion in fiscal year 1998 funds were requested,were chosen for their mortgage reduction potential; that is, by completing the early decommissioning of these facilities, the life-q&e cat-tying costs for theso facilities couid be reduced significantly. Fourth, the GAO repott states that “EM’s privatization request does not include the total capital costs for some of the projects and does not in&de any operating costs for the pro&z&s. As a result, it is difkult to measurethe fidi impact of the requested i%ndiig on the overall federal budget” (page 5). Also, on page 7, the statement was made that-“assessing the long-term impact of EM’s privatization projects on the overall federal budget is dif&uIt because the I11 cost of these projects is not included in the budget request or in agency budget justifications.” The Department has widely distributed, i3Iy and openly a detaikd accounting-of a.costs related to the proposed privatization projects. Briefings on numerous .occasioti by the Assistknt Secretary for Environmental Management to Members of the Congressand their st.&s, which commenced in February, provided detailed capital, operating and support costs. Further, detailed Project Data Sheets for each of the twelve fiscaI year I998 Privatization Projects were given wide distribution, including the House and Senate authorizing and appropriations wmmittw staffs and the GAO staff These same Project Data Sheets, which provide a l%II accounting of & project costs on a year-by- year basis, were formally provided to the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in April. Fii we do not agree with GAO’s conclusion on page 6 that “EM.... did not review savings estimates for these projects.- In fact, the cost savings estimates and cost effectiveness anaIyses were subject to detailed reviews at both the field and Headquarters IeveI. The management review process for the fiscal year 1998 projects started in SeptemkerI!396 and wntinues to the present TheXscal year 1998 projects were subjected to a fortnaI “murderboard” cost review process. Intensive interaction between Headquarters and the field of&es resulted in nurnqo~ improvementsto the cost estimates and cost effkctiveness analyxs. At the same time, we intend to continue strengthetig this process. GAO should make clear @at there is sqme double counting of projects among the three fqding amouib cited in the report ($47.4 millioq $+I.5 million, and $225.1 million). . - 55 .GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request . . .. .. 5 .. ENCLOSURE In. ENCLOSURE III The EM program is irnpkknenting numerous measures to improve our accountability and effectiveness in managing the Privatization Program These include: The establishment of regular reviews of the Tank Waste Remediation System and Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment projects, the Department’s two largest privatization projects. These reviews are being conducted by the Assistant Secretary for Environmenta Management and’other Headquarters officials. - The review, and evaIuation during source selections, of contractor project managers’ qualifications and experience in large, fixed-price environmental work. The review, by DOE Headquarters, of privatization Requests For Proposals and contracts and the inclusion of DOE Headquarters privatization team members on Source Evaluation Boards. The development of the Privatization Program Management Plan and the Privatization Handbook to describe organizational roles and responsibilities and to promuIgate lessons-Ieamed in managing the fiscal years 1997/1998 privatization projects. The independent review of privatization project team qualifications .and staffing by the Department’s Office of Field Management. The issuance of guidance in March 1997 for EM-wide use in developing privatization cost estimates and conducting cost-effectiveness analyses. In addition, Secretary Peiia has directed the appointment of a senior official to head the Office of Contract Reform and Privatization and report to the Deputy Secretary. That Office will coordinate the implementation of privatization policies and oversee the overall privatization &ort across the Department, including the I34 privatization program. .GAO/RCED-97-17lR DOE’s F’iscal Year 1998 Budget Request 56 : : . . .. I ‘.. 1 ENCLOSURE III ENCLOSURE III Enclosure 2 The Secretary of Energy Washington, DC 20585 June 6, 1997 The Honorable Bob Livingston Chairman Committee on Appropriations U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing to express the Department ofEnergy’s (DOE) concern about possible large reductions in the funding level included in the President’s budget request for Defense Environmental Management Privatization projects for fiscal year 1998. The Department is particularly concerned .tfiat fimdii for these projects may be totally eliminated in fiscal year 1998. At the same time, we recognize that Congress has raised some serious issues about the implementation of our privatization program. This letter outlines the impkance of our fiscal year 1998 budget request for privatization and several major steps that the Department is taking to address issues raised by the Congress. Insufficient funding for privatization in fiscal year 1998 would increase both the short- and long-term costs of the Environmental Management program, would disrupt the progress that has been made in accelerating the ckanup of many of the Department’s contaminated sites, and could subject the Department to significant fines and penalties for failure to meet milestones in compliance agreements and other legal requirements in 1998 and later years. Moreover, deferral of substantial funding for the Department3 privatization program from fiscal year 1998 would be expected to cause serious problems because of the difiiculty of obtaining major increases in outyear fundimg under the statutory caps on discretionary spending under the Bipartisan Budget Apxmem This situation will be exacerbated significantly if the Committee also rejects the Department’s request for @I up front funding for construction projects in the Defense Assets Account. The Federal Government is legally obligatedto conduct eight of the projects for which privatization funding is requested in fiscal year 1998. The Department must perform these activities, either as privatized projedts or through traditional contracting mechanisms. These projects are in various States, including Idaho, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington. The Departmeni does not have 57 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request ENCLOSUREIII ENCLOSURE IQ suf5cient funding in its base budget request to accommodate the compli&e- related privatization projects in addition to other required Environmental Management activities. Privatization will enabIe the Department to conduct the environmental cleanup program at our sites faster and at lower cost than under the Department’s traditional contracting approaches. Private sector firms, however. wili be unwilling to invest their capital without a commensurare commitment to privatization from the FederaI Government. At the same time, I recognize the need to strengthen~the management of the privatization program to assure that the Department delivers its important benefits. I also believe that the Department must increase its accountability to the Congress concerning its privatization projects. To advance both of these goals. I will: ( 1) Appoint a senior individual to guide and coordinate the implementation of the Department’s privatization initiatives. This individual wiIl direct’the Department’s Offtce of Contract Reform and Privatization and will report directly to the Deputy Secretary/Chief Operating Officer; (2) Support legislation providing a 3O-day waiting period for k&y Congressional Committees to review planned privatization contracts funded under the privatization account, as well as the next phase of the Har&ord Tank Waste Remediation System contract. The-Department will not sign these privatization contracts without providing ‘the opportunity for review under these legislative provisions; and (3) Direct the Office of Environmental Management, in coordination with other appropriate DOE offices, to strengthen training programs for DOE personnel involved in privatization initiatives, enhance DOE cost estimating capabilities for privatization projects, and expand and supplement DOE expertise in reviewing priyatization contract solicitations and contracts. The Department has made sigt$icant progress in recent years in improving the efficiency of Environmental Management projects, tid we are intensifying our efforts in this area. We believe that privat+ion is ,an important element of this strategy and is essential to assure implementation of our environmental compliance agreements. I strongly urge you to support this critical Environmental Management initiative. ’ Federico Peiia (302205)~ - 58 GAO/RCED-97-171R DOE’s Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request Ordering Information The f!rst copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 or visit: Room 1100 700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW) U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, DC Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000 or by using fax number (301) 258-4066, or TDD (301) 413-0006. Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and testimony. 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Department of Energy: Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-07-21.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)