been the case. DOE headquarters and NNSA have tended to perform tasks and responsibilities that field and operation offices should be responsible for. The Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated (GOCO) model that the laboratories are supposed to operate under has not been put into practice. The system resembles a “Government-Owned, Government-Operated” model (DOE, 1995). The 2009 Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States stated that the NNSA and DOE failed to distinguish between “what to do (a government function) and how to do it (a contractor responsibility). There is uncertainty in determining where policy and oversight end and where implementation begins. The lack of defined roles and responsibilities within the management structure of the complex has resulted in multiple layers of oversight and compliance requirements, excessive overhead costs, and productivity losses: all of which avert attention from S&E research.

The 1995 Galvin Task Force observed many instances of the inappropriate role that DOE played in the day-to-day operations and management of the laboratories. The following are just a few of that Task Force’s observations:

•   Department of Energy orders to the laboratories range from a few to a few hundred pages in length and are prescriptive to detail processes; there are some 30 thousand individual requirements embodied in these orders to certain major laboratories. …

•   DOE Headquarters has insisted that copies of DOE terms and conditions be attached to all file copies of literally thousands of small purchase orders in order to document that these terms and conditions had been transmitted to vendors. …

•   Each laboratory acknowledges that it has more people than it needs because of the Federal prescriptions and the inability to add the flexibility of assigning people in the manner that would be most productive. …

•   There are at least 12 principal layers of management between the assistant secretary for defense programs down through the layers of DOE and the laboratory program management to the bench scientist working of a project financed through defense programs. There are additional oversight and administrative chain of commands through the field offices which probably add two or three more layers (DOE, 1995).

The Galvin Task Force stressed the need to “de-federalize” the labs. Groups prior to this one observed similar findings and recommendations, but the Department has done little to make improvements. The Task Force noted that although excerpts from DOE’s Strategic Plan at the time stated that “communications, trust, and human resources” were vital for success, its tendency to over regulate was detrimental to the cultivating of these factors. “The activities that it is obliged to direct and order are a countervention of the value of trust” (DOE, 1995).

A 1997 IDA study was commissioned to examine the management processes and structures of the DOE’s Defense Programs (DP), which are responsible for ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile (Richanbach et al., 1997). The DP’s workforce oversees the contractors who manage the weapons complex (which includes the laboratories.) The role of the field operations offices, area offices, and site offices is to implement the guidance provided by headquarters and to oversee the work carried out by the management and operating (M&O) contractors (IDA, 1997). Operations office managers are the formal contracting officers responsible for administering the M&O contracts. Site, or area offices, provide day-to-day interactions with the contractor, and maintain awareness of operations and issues within the government’s facilities (Richanbach et al., 1997).

The IDA study identified areas where potential overlap exists in the roles played by headquarters, operations offices, and site/area offices. Examples of potential for overlap in responsibilities and corresponding duties are listed in Table C.1. (The asterisk indicates where potential overlap occurs).



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