oversight

Results Act: Observations on the Department of Energy's Draft Strategic Plan

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-07-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                     United States
GAO                  General Accounting Office
                     Washington, D.C. 20548

                     Resources, Community, and
                     Economic Development Division

                     B-277381

                     July 11, 1997

                     The Honorable Richard K. Armey
                     Majority Leader
                     House of Representatives

                     The Honorable John Kasich
                     Chairman, Committee on the Budget
                     House of Representatives

                     The Honorable Dan Burton
                     Chairman, Committee on Government Reform
                       and Oversight
                     House of Representatives

                     The Honorable Bob Livingston
                     Chairman, Committee on Appropriations
                     House of Representatives

                     Subject: Results Act: Observations on the Department of Energy’s Draft
                     Strategic Plan

                     On June 12, 1997, you asked us to review the draft strategic plans
                     submitted by the cabinet departments and selected major agencies for
                     consultation with the Congress as required by the Government
                     Performance and Results Act of 1993 (the Results Act). This report is our
                     response to that request concerning the Department of Energy (DOE). DOE
                     is at a critical juncture in its history. The Department’s original core
                     missions—to develop and test nuclear weapons, conduct basic energy
                     research, and set national energy policy—are being replaced in emphasis
                     by major new challenges in environmental cleanup and leadership in
                     science and technology.


                     We agreed to review DOE’s draft plan and (1) assess whether it fulfills the
Objectives, Scope,   requirements of the Results Act and provide our views on its overall
and Methodology      quality; (2) determine whether DOE’s key statutory authorities are reflected
                     in the draft plan and, if so, how they relate to the missions and goals in the
                     draft plan; (3) assess whether it reflects interagency coordination for
                     crosscutting programs, activities, or functions that are similar or
                     complementary to those of other federal agencies; (4) assess whether it
                     addresses major management challenges that we had previously identified;




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and (5) assess the adequacy of DOE’s data and information systems for
providing reliable information for measuring results.

We reviewed the most recent draft strategic plan—dated June 16,
1997—that DOE provided to congressional committees. Our overall
assessment was generally based on our knowledge of DOE’s programs and
operations; our numerous reviews of the Department; our discussions with
DOE’s Acting Director, Office of Strategic Planning, Budget and Program
Evaluation; and other information available at the time of our assessment.

Specifically, we used the Results Act, supplemented by Office of
Management and Budget’s (OMB) guidance on developing the plans
(Circular A-11, Part 2), as the criteria for determining whether DOE’s draft
strategic plan complies with the requirements of the Results Act. To make
judgments about the overall quality of the plan, we used our May 1997
guidance for congressional review of the plans (GAO/GGD-10.1.16) as a tool.
To determine whether the plan contains information on interagency
coordination and addresses management problems we previously
identified, we relied on our general knowledge of DOE’s operations and
programs and on the results of our previous reports. In determining
whether DOE’s draft plan reflects the Department’s major statutory
responsibilities, we consulted with DOE’s Office of General Counsel and, as
you requested, coordinated our review with the Congressional Research
Service. To determine whether DOE has adequate systems in place to
provide reliable information on performance, we relied on the results of
our previous reports and those of the Department’s Office of Inspector
General.

It is also important to recognize that DOE’s final strategic plan is not due to
the Congress and OMB until September 1997. Furthermore, the Results Act
anticipated that it may take several planning cycles to perfect the process
and that the final plan would be continually refined as future planning
cycles occur. Thus, our findings reflect a snapshot of the draft plan at this
time. We recognize that developing a strategic plan is a dynamic process
and that DOE is continuing to revise the draft with input from OMB,
congressional staff, and other stakeholders.

Our work was performed in June and July 1997 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards. We obtained
comments on a draft of this report from DOE. Its comments are enclosed.




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                   Created in 1977 from several diverse agencies, DOE manages the nation’s
Background         nuclear weapons production complex and conducts research and
                   development on both energy and basic science. DOE operates an elaborate
                   network of facilities, its core being the nuclear weapons complex—a
                   collection of 17 major facilities in 13 states that design, develop, test,
                   produce, and now dismantle the nation’s vast nuclear arsenal. About half
                   of DOE’s $16.5 billion fiscal year 1997 budget is devoted to the nuclear
                   weapons complex, an allocation that reflects both the buildup of these
                   weapons through the 1980s and, more recently, the rapidly escalating cost
                   of nuclear waste management and environmental restoration. DOE also
                   maintains one of the world’s largest networks of scientific laboratories,
                   comprising nearly 30 sophisticated laboratories valued at over $100 billion.
                   Highly dependent on contractors, DOE has about 110,000 contract workers
                   and about 18,600 federal employees.

                   DOE  began its strategic planning process in summer 1993, the same year
                   that the Results Act was passed. Although the first strategic plan under the
                   act was not due until September 1997, DOE issued a plan in April 1994.
                   Since that time, DOE has been actively pursuing the objectives of the act by
                   completing several planning and reporting documents before the act
                   required them. For example, DOE has issued an annual performance report
                   for fiscal years 1994 and 1995 and a performance-based budget plan for
                   fiscal year 1998. In addition, the Secretary of Energy entered into annual
                   performance agreements with the President for fiscal years 1995 and 1996.
                   These agreements committed the Department to the achievement of its
                   goals and objectives for those years. Along with early Results Act
                   accomplishments, DOE also began preparing annual audited financial
                   statements, as required by the Chief Financial Officers Act in fiscal year
                   1995, and received an unqualified opinion from its Office of Inspector
                   General on the fiscal year 1996 statements.


                   To its credit, DOE has been actively pursuing the objectives of the Results
Results in Brief   Act since 1993. Its draft plan provides a mission statement that is generally
                   complete, results-oriented, and fulfills public needs. However, the draft
                   plan does not meet all the requirements of the Results Act. The draft plan
                   fully addresses two of the six required elements of the Results Act—the
                   mission statement and goals and objectives—partially addresses a third,
                   and acknowledges that three others need to be completed for the final
                   plan. Because the draft plan does not contain all six elements, the
                   Congress is missing critical pieces of information for its consultation with
                   DOE.




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The draft plan does not expressly link its mission, goals and objectives,
and strategies with DOE’s relevant major statutory responsibilities. The
Results Act does not require agencies’ strategic plans to contain a
statement of statutory authorities. However, we believe that including
such linkages may permit a better understanding of the diversity and
complexity of DOE’s overall mission and goals and objectives. On the basis
of our review of relevant legislation, we believe that (1) the missions and
activities defined in DOE’s draft plan are generally supported by broad
legislation and (2) the draft plan accurately reflects all of DOE’s major
legislative requirements. However, these current missions have evolved
from those that the Congress envisioned when it created DOE in 1977. The
Results Act process provides a forum through which the Congress can
ensure that DOE’s missions and priorities are complementary, are
appropriate in scope, do not duplicate those of other agencies
unnecessarily, and are in line with congressional priorities.

DOE is sharing its draft plan with other federal agencies for coordination
but believes its functions are unique. Its draft plan therefore does not
identify programs and activities that are crosscutting or similar to those of
other federal agencies. However, DOE’s mission does involve or overlap
those of other agencies. For example, basic research is also performed by
the National Science Foundation; environmental and energy resources
issues are also addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency and
other agencies; and nuclear weapons production is done to fulfill
requirements of the Department of Defense.

Our previous work has highlighted serious problems with DOE’s
management of contracts and major projects. DOE’s plan, under a section
called corporate management, includes objectives and strategies that
focus on these management challenges. However, the specific measures in
the draft plan to address these challenges appear limited in scope or are
unclear. For example, while DOE is making progress in addressing the
high-risk issue of contract management, the draft plan does not discuss the
need to increase competition in DOE’s management and operating
contracts, a fundamental problem that we have identified in previous
reports.

Our review of the information system DOE uses to track performance
measures and to identify management problems noted several
weaknesses. The system will require modification to track performance
measures evolving from the draft plan. In addition, the system depends on




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                         information from other systems, some of which have had problems with
                         data accuracy and completeness.


                         The draft plan does not provide the Congress with complete information
Draft Strategic Plan     for its consultation with DOE. The draft plan includes two of the six critical
Reflects Few of the      elements—(1) mission and (2) goals and objectives. While DOE partially
Key Elements             included a third element by defining its strategies, it has not identified the
                         associated resources needed to achieve its strategies. Furthermore, three
Required by the          other elements have not been included—the relationship between the
Results Act              long-term goals and the annual performance goals, the key factors external
                         to the agency, and the impact of program evaluations on the development
                         of strategic goals. In issuing its draft plan, DOE acknowledged that it does
                         not yet fully meet the Results Act’s requirements but said that all of the
                         elements will be included in the final plan.


Mission Statement        DOE’s mission statement provides a short overarching statement, but the
Included in Draft Plan   substance of its mission is described by what it calls four business lines
                         (hereafter called missions). These are energy resources, national security,
                         environmental quality, and science and technology. DOE’s draft plan also
                         includes a section on corporate management, which cuts across the
                         missions.

                         DOE’s  descriptions of its four missions generally are complete, are
                         results-oriented, and address public needs. By complete, we mean that the
                         agency’s major activities appear to be covered. In addition, the
                         descriptions broadly focus on the expected outcomes. For example, a
                         broad outcome of one of the missions is to effectively support and
                         maintain a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile without
                         nuclear testing. Moreover, the descriptions focus on public needs, such as
                         the need to reduce the environmental, safety, and health risks from DOE
                         facilities.

                         As we have reported and testified before the Congress, DOE’s current
                         missions bear little resemblance to those envisioned when the agency was
                         created in 1977.1 DOE was created to deal primarily with the energy crisis
                         of the 1970s. By the early 1980s, its nuclear weapons production activities
                         had grown substantially. Following revelations about DOE’s environmental
                         problems in the mid- to late-1980s, the Department’s cleanup budget began

                         1
                           Department of Energy: Observations on the Future of the Department (GAO/T-RCED-96-224, Sept. 4,
                         1996) and Department of Energy: A Framework for Restructuring DOE and Its Missions
                         (GAO/RCED-95-197, Aug. 21, 1995).



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                        to expand and now overshadows the budget for all other activities. With
                        the Cold War’s end, DOE’s missions were expanded to include industrial
                        competitiveness; science education; environment, safety, and health; and
                        nuclear arms control and verification. The Results Act process provides a
                        forum for the Congress to examine DOE’s current missions to ensure that
                        Department’s priorities are in line with those of the Congress and that
                        DOE’s functions are complementary, appropriate in scope, and not
                        unnecessarily duplicative.


Goals and Objectives    The second element in DOE’s draft plan is the goals and objectives of its
Defined in Draft Plan   missions and corporate management. The goals and objectives cover the
                        agency’s major functions and operations, and the goals are generally
                        results-oriented. For example, one goal includes aggressively cleaning up
                        the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear research
                        and development programs, minimizing future waste generation, safely
                        managing nuclear materials, and permanently disposing of the nation’s
                        radioactive waste. Although some of the terms are vague, the goal focuses
                        on results.

                        For each goal, DOE has multiple objectives. Our review identified several
                        objectives that are stated in ways that will make it difficult to measure
                        whether they are being achieved. One example of an objective that is not
                        measurable as written is under DOE’s national security mission: to maintain
                        confidence in the safety, reliability, and performance of the nuclear
                        weapons stockpile without nuclear testing. But we recently reported that
                        DOE had not defined a minimum acceptable level of confidence for its
                        stockpile surveillance testing.2 We noted that DOE had not performed
                        stockpile surveillance tests as scheduled and was not able to measure the
                        resulting decrease in confidence. For this objective to be measurable, it
                        should include a specific, measurable definition of confidence.

                        Another objective, listed under the environmental quality mission, is to
                        reduce the most serious risks first. Although a valid and important
                        objective, it cannot be achieved because DOE has not identified priorities
                        across its various sites. As we reported in 1995, DOE’s cleanup strategy has
                        been shaped by site-specific environmental agreements without
                        consideration of other agreements or available resources.3 To enable DOE

                        2
                         Nuclear Weapons: Improvements Needed to DOE’s Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Surveillance Program
                        (GAO/RCED-96-216, July 31, 1996).
                        3
                         Department of Energy: National Priorities Needed for Meeting Environmental Agreements
                        (GAO/RCED-95-1, Mar. 3, 1995).



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                         to allocate its resources to reducing the greatest environmental risks, we
                         recommended that DOE set national priorities and initiate discussions with
                         regulators to renegotiate milestones in agreements according to those
                         national priorities. Without overall priorities for the risks to be addressed,
                         the Congress will not be able to determine whether this objective is being
                         achieved, nor will DOE be able to target its resources to ensure that this
                         objective is achieved.


Strategies Included in   DOE’s draft plan includes strategies and, to the Department’s credit, about
Draft Plan               220 performance measures, which DOE calls success measures, for
                         evaluating the results of the strategies. However, although DOE
                         acknowledges that it has not yet included the resource information the
                         Results Act requires, other information under this element is also missing.
                         The missing information includes linkages to day-to-day activities; the
                         historical resource trends; and the extent to which managers have the
                         knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement the strategies. Without this
                         information, it is difficult to judge DOE’s likelihood of success in achieving
                         the goals or the appropriateness of the strategies.

                         According to DOE’s Acting Director, Office of Strategic Planning, Budget
                         and Program Evaluation, the Secretary is looking for several
                         improvements in the draft plan. The Acting Director said that many of the
                         objectives were supported with process-oriented measures as opposed to
                         expected results and that both the strategies and the measures need to be
                         more action oriented. We concur.


Three Elements Not       In addition to the missing components of the strategy and resources
Included in Draft Plan   element, three other elements have not been included. They are the
                         relationship between the long-term goals and annual performance goals,
                         the key factors external to the agency, and the impact of program
                         evaluations on the development of strategic goals. Without these elements,
                         we cannot assess the overall draft plan, nor can the Congress have an
                         effective consultation with DOE because the elements required by the
                         Results Act are interdependent. For example, key external factors are
                         important in evaluating the likelihood of achieving the strategic goals and
                         the actions needed to better meet these goals. Furthermore, program
                         evaluation can be a potentially critical source of information for the
                         Congress and others in ensuring the validity and reasonableness of the
                         goals and strategies as well as in identifying factors likely to affect
                         performance.



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                          According to the Acting Director, DOE’s Office of Strategic Planning,
                          Budget and Program Evaluation, these elements, while not included in the
                          draft plan, are being finalized and were considered in preparing the
                          elements included in the draft plan. He stated that these missing elements
                          will be included in the final plan.


                          The Results Act does not require a statement of major statutory
Legislative Authorities   responsibilities to be included with the agency’s plan.4 Thus, DOE’s draft
Considered but Not        plan does not include references to its major statutory authorities nor does
Included                  it expressly link the missions, goals and objectives, and strategies with its
                          relevant major statutory responsibilities. Nevertheless, we believe that
                          including such linkages in the plan may permit a better understanding of
                          the diversity and complexity of DOE’s overall mission and goals and
                          objectives. According to DOE’s Acting Director, Office of Strategic
                          Planning, Budget and Program Evaluation, these references were
                          considered and will be provided as part of the plan when it is issued in
                          final form in September.

                          On the basis of our review of relevant legislation, we believe that (1) the
                          activities defined in DOE’s draft plan are broadly supported by legislation
                          and (2) the draft plan accurately reflects all of DOE’s major legislative
                          requirements. We noted that in addition to its statutory authority, DOE has
                          taken into consideration implementation of relevant international treaties
                          or agreements, such as the Agreed Framework executed with North Korea.
                          However, we question the reference in the national security objective to
                          reducing the danger from nuclear and “other weapons of mass
                          destruction.” In our view, DOE’s role with respect to weapons of mass
                          destruction other than nuclear is peripheral to its other responsibilities.

                          Although DOE’s missions are broadly supported by legislation, they have
                          evolved from those that the Congress envisioned when it created DOE in
                          1977. As discussed earlier, the Results Act process provides a forum
                          through which the Congress can ensure that DOE’s missions and priorities
                          are complementary, are appropriate in scope, do not duplicate those of
                          other agencies unnecessarily, and are in line with congressional priorities.




                          4
                           OMB Circular A-11 suggests that an agency’s mission statement may include a brief discussion of the
                          agency’s enabling or authorizing legislation. This suggestion, however, does not extend to the
                          statement of goals and objectives.



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                           DOE’s draft plan does not identify programs and activities that are
Crosscutting Program       crosscutting or similar to those of other federal agencies, primarily
Activities Not             because DOE believes its functions are unique. Nonetheless, DOE is sharing
Identified, but            its draft plan with other federal agencies for coordination. On the basis of
                           our work, however, we believe that DOE’s four broad missions do involve
Coordination Is            or overlap those of other agencies. Because overlapping and fragmented
Occurring                  programs can waste scarce funds, confuse and frustrate program
                           customers, and limit the overall effectiveness of the federal effort, it is
                           important for DOE to address this issue in its plan.

                           In the science and technology area, for instance, where the federal
                           government spent $60 billion in fiscal year 1996 and the potential for
                           unnecessary overlap is particularly pronounced, close coordination is
                           essential. We have identified several examples of agencies with potentially
                           overlapping missions. According to draft strategic plans,

                       •   DOE’sscience mission is to maintain leadership in basic research and to
                           advance scientific knowledge;
                       •   the National Science Foundation’s mission includes promoting the
                           progress of science, and one of its overarching goals is to enable the
                           United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of
                           science, mathematics, and engineering; and
                       •   the Department of Commerce’s mission includes keeping the United States
                           competitive with cutting-edge science and technology.

                           Furthermore, DOE states that it will use its laboratories and the nation’s
                           universities to contribute to the nation’s science and mathematics
                           education. However, the National Science Foundation’s authorizing
                           legislation directs it to initiate and support science and engineering
                           education programs at all levels and in all the various fields of science and
                           engineering.

                           Unless DOE addresses crosscutting issues in its plan, the Congress cannot
                           be assured that federal programs are working effectively. As we have
                           reported previously, the effectiveness of DOE and a host of other science
                           agencies has been hampered by unfocused missions and unclear goals.5
                           For example, the DOE national laboratories, in which DOE estimates it has
                           invested over $100 billion in the last two decades, are a specific area in




                           5
                            Managing for Results: Key Steps and Challenges in Implementing GPRA in Science Agencies
                           (GAO/T-GGD/RCED-96-214, July 10, 1996).



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                       which our work, and that of others, has shown a long-standing need for
                       clarified missions.6

                       DOE’s other missions also involve or overlap those of other agencies. For
                       example, environmental and energy resources issues are addressed by DOE
                       as well as by the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.
                       Similarly, nuclear weapons production issues involve DOE and the
                       Department of Defense.


                       Under its corporate management goal and objectives, DOE’s draft plan
Draft Strategic Plan   addresses major management challenges that we have previously
Addresses Major        identified—management of contracts and major projects. However, the
Management             measures to address these challenges are unclear and do not address
                       issues that we consider to be significant.
Challenges
                       In discussing contracting approaches, the draft plan proposes strategies
                       that emphasize results, contractor accountability, and customer
                       satisfaction. We commend DOE for including a specific success measure for
                       converting its management and operating contracts to performance-based
                       contracts because we consider the Department’s contract management a
                       high-risk area that is vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and
                       mismanagement. But the draft plan does not address the need to increase
                       competition in DOE’s management and operating contracts, a fundamental
                       problem that we have identified in previous reports. As we reported in our
                       1997 high-risk report, DOE continues to award most of its management and
                       operating contracts noncompetitively.7 From July 5, 1994, through the end
                       of August 1996, DOE decided to extend 16 of 24 contracts on a
                       noncompetitive basis; it awarded the other 8 on a competitive basis. If this
                       pattern continues, DOE will not gain the full benefits of competition and
                       will remain in the same weak negotiating position it has maintained for
                       years.

                       Similarly, another strategy of DOE’s is to strengthen the management of
                       facilities, projects, and infrastructure to ensure cost-effective, safe, and
                       environmentally sound operations and the successful completion of new
                       projects. This strategy is important because DOE has had a dismal track
                       record for its major systems acquisitions—those costing at least
                       $100 million and required to fulfill the Department’s missions. Of the 80

                       6
                        Department of Energy: National Laboratories Need Clearer Mission and Better Management
                       (GAO/RCED-95-10, Jan. 27, 1995).
                       7
                        High-Risk Series: Department of Energy Contract Management (GAO/HR-97-13, Feb. 1997).



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                       major acquisitions that DOE initiated from 1980 through 1996, it has
                       completed 15.8 Most were finished behind schedule with cost overruns.
                       Three of the completed acquisitions have not yet been used for their
                       intended purposes. Thirty-one others were terminated prior to completion
                       after expenditures of over $10 billion. Many of the remaining 34 ongoing
                       projects are experiencing cost overruns and delays.

                       In its draft plan, DOE included a success measure that focuses on meeting
                       established project scope, schedule, and cost baselines. DOE plans to
                       accomplish this by adopting management systems based on the best
                       project management practices of industry and government. But this
                       strategy does not address the four causes that we identified in our 1996
                       report as contributing to these problems: the lack of effective incentives
                       for both DOE and contractor employees, inadequate technical and
                       management expertise, the Department’s changing missions, and
                       inconsistent support for the projects either from the Department or from
                       the Congress. We believe that addressing these root causes is crucial to
                       correcting DOE’s deficiencies in project management.


                       DOE will need to modify the existing information system it anticipates
Actions May Be         using to track performance measures evolving from the draft plan and to
Needed to Provide      identify management problems. Moveover, that system depends on
Reliable Information   information from other systems, some of which have problems with data
                       accuracy and completeness, according to reviews conducted by both us
on Achievement of      and by DOE’s Office of Inspector General.
Strategic Goals
                       According to DOE’s Acting Director, Office of Strategic Planning, Budget
                       and Program Evaluation, DOE will initially use an existing information
                       system to measure progress under its strategic plan. This system is the one
                       that DOE currently uses to measure progress against the performance goals
                       in the Secretary’s annual performance agreements with the President.
                       Although this system addresses many of the same issues that are in the
                       draft strategic plan, it will require fairly extensive modifications to track
                       performance goals that are based on the success measures in DOE’s draft
                       plan.

                       In addition, the information used to update the tracking system depends
                       on various other information systems. However, we and DOE’s Inspector



                       8
                        Department of Energy: Opportunity to Improve Management of Major System Acquisitions
                       (GAO/RCED-97-17, Nov. 26, 1996).



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                   General have found that, in some cases, the information from those
                   systems may be incomplete or inaccurate, as these examples show:

               •   Under a corporate management objective, one of the success measures is
                   to have no fatalities, serious accidents, or environmental releases.
                   However, DOE’s Inspector General reported that the Department’s
                   computerized accident reporting system underreports the number of
                   significant work-related illnesses and injuries.9
               •   Under the environmental quality mission, one of DOE’s strategies is to
                   develop and deploy innovative environmental cleanup, nuclear waste, and
                   spent fuel treatment technologies that reduce costs. But, according to a
                   recent Inspector General report, the Department’s contractors have not
                   implemented a system to collect and disseminate scientific and technical
                   information.10 Also, we recently testified that confidence in the
                   cost-savings estimates varied for the environmental projects that we
                   reviewed because they were based on preliminary data or reflected
                   changes in project scope and duration.11
               •   Under the national security mission, one of the success measures is to
                   protect all U.S.-origin nuclear materials in foreign countries from possible
                   illicit nuclear trafficking. However, we have reported that the U.S. system
                   that tracks exported nuclear materials does not have all the information
                   needed to identify the specific location and status of all nuclear materials
                   of U.S. origin that are supplied to foreign countries.12


                   To its credit, DOE has been actively pursuing the objectives of the Results
Observations       Act since 1993. DOE has done a good job of focusing on Department-wide
                   missions that transcend the interests of individual programs. However, in
                   not completing more than two of the six elements, DOE may have lost an
                   opportunity to have the most effective congressional consultation process.

                   Nonetheless, the consultation process provides the opportunity for the
                   Congress to evaluate the continuing appropriateness of DOE’s missions in
                   light of the fact that (1) these missions have changed drastically from

                   9
                    Audit of Department of Energy Contractor Occupational Injury and Illness Reporting Practices
                   (DOE/IG-0404, May 7, 1997).
                   10
                    Audit of the Department of Energy’s Scientific and Technical Information Process (DOE/IG-0407, June
                   17, 1997).
                   11
                    Cleanup Technology: DOE’s Program to Develop New Technologies for Environmental Cleanup
                   (GAO/T-RCED-97-161, May 7, 1997).
                   12
                    Nuclear Nonproliferation: U.S. International Nuclear Materials Tracking Capabilities Are Limited
                   (GAO/RCED/AIMD-95-5, Dec. 27, 1994).



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                     those that existed when DOE was created and (2) the four broad missions
                     significantly involve or overlap those of other agencies. In this way, the
                     Congress can ensure that DOE’s priorities are in line with its own and that
                     DOE’s functions are complementary, appropriate in scope, and not
                     unnecessarily duplicative.


                     We provided a draft of this report to the Department of Energy for its
Agency Comments      review and comment. (DOE’s comments are in the enclosure.) Overall, DOE
and Our Evaluation   agreed that our report will be helpful as the Department moves to the next
                     stage of its strategic plan’s development. However, DOE (1) disagreed that
                     the incompleteness of its strategic plan lessened the effectiveness of its
                     consultation with congressional staffs and (2) believed that, in general, the
                     consultation process could be impaired if agencies are taken to task for
                     not having fully developed final plans. While we agree with DOE that
                     effective consultation can be based on working draft plans, we believe that
                     these draft plans should discuss the six elements outlined in the Results
                     Act to provide a better foundation for the consultation process.
                     Recognizing DOE is continuing to revise its draft plan, our report focused
                     on issues not resolved in the Department’s working draft. We believe that
                     it is important for these issues to be considered over the few remaining
                     months of consultation before a final plan is required.


                     As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents
                     earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from its
                     issue date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to the Minority
                     Leader of the House of Representatives; Ranking Minority Members of
                     your Committees and the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of
                     other committees that have jurisdiction over DOE; the Secretary of Energy;
                     and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. We will send copies
                     to others on request.




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Please call me at (202) 512-3841 if you or your staff have any questions
concerning this report.




Victor S. Rezendes
Director, Energy, Resources,
  and Science Issues

Enclosure




Page 14                              GAO/RCED-97-199R DOE’s Draft Strategic Plan
Page 15   GAO/RCED-97-199R DOE’s Draft Strategic Plan
Enclosure I

Comments From the Department of Energy




              Page 16     GAO/RCED-97-199R DOE’s Draft Strategic Plan
           Enclosure I
           Comments From the Department of Energy




(141074)   Page 17                                  GAO/RCED-97-199R DOE’s Draft Strategic Plan
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