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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Review of Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management: First Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26000.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Review of Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management: First Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26000.
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Page 11
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Review of Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management: First Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26000.
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Page 12

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1 Introduction ORIGIN OF STUDY Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (P.L. 115-232) directed the Secretary of Energy to enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study of the effectiveness and efficiency of defense environmental cleanup activities. These activities are managed by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Environmental Management (EM) and involve materials controlled per the Atomic Energy Act and are subject in large part to two environmental laws governing cleanups, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. The cleanups themselves are effected by contractors at 16 sites in the continental United States, with waste meeting certain criteria being disposed in a 17th site. Congress specifically asked the National Academies to focus on the management and oversight of these cleanups by considering the projects into which these cleanup activities are organized. The primary tasks for the study as described by Congress were to provide the following: (a) In General.--The Secretary of Energy shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a review of the defense environmental cleanup activities of the Office of Environmental Management of the Department of Energy. (b) Elements.--The review conducted under subsection (a) shall include— (1) an assessment of-- (A) project management practices with respect to the activities described in subsection (a); (B) the outcomes of such activities; and (C) the appropriateness of the level of engagement and oversight of the Office of Environmental Management with respect to such activities; and (2) recommendations with respect to actions to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of such activities. The DOE EM and the National Academies agreed to a modification of an existing cooperative agreement on August 13, 2019, in order to accomplish the study. The National Academies established the Committee on Review of Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management. The committee was composed of diverse experts in the fields of project management, civil and nuclear engineering, acquisition and contracting, construction management, and other fields. Committee member biographical information is provided in Appendix A. PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1-1

STATEMENT OF TASK Per the contract, the committee was given the following statement of task: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint a committee to review and identify ways to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of defense environmental cleanup activities of the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE- EM). The committee’s review will: A. Assess DOE-EM’s program and project management practices benchmarked against DOE 413.3B and other practices used elsewhere for project planning and acquisition, technology insertion, controls, review, reporting, contract management, and other management activities; B. Evaluate whether DOE-EM has well-defined and measurable outcomes for its cleanup activities and review DOE-EM’s prioritization strategy and decision support for operational actions for achieving the stated outcomes; and C. Evaluate the level and appropriateness of DOE-EM’s oversight of technical contractors and site operations, as well as engagement with external stakeholders, to meet the stated outcomes. The committee will make recommendations on actions to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of DOE-EM’s cleanup activities. The committee will issue two consensus studies, one at approximately 10 months after the contract is signed and a second at 18 months. The first report will make recommendations on changes to DOE-EM’s project management practices that can be implemented immediately. The second report will make recommendations on how such practices should be transformed over 5- to 10-years. COMMITTEE’S APPROACH TO THE STATEMENT OF TASK This is the first of two reports envisaged in the statement of task. While conducting this first study, the committee members relied on their own expertise, information from publications they judged to be of high quality, and many interactions with officials at DOE include those with EM, the Office of Project Management, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. During public meetings, the committee heard presentations chiefly from EM but also from other elements of the department that oversee or execute large projects. A list of activities appears as Appendix B. The committee made roughly 60 written queries of DOE to gather further information. The committee read and considered prior and ongoing reviews of project management at DOE including those conducted by the department itself, the Government Accountability Office (GAO)—who also briefed the committee during the public meetings—and the National Academies. All of the above discussions and information provided the basis for the committee’s deliberations and for the writing of the report. The following section describes how the report was written to address the committee’s statement of task. STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT Chapters 2 and 3 provide the history of the organization and management of the cleanup activities at DOE and of the laws, directives and processes under which the cleanups proceed. The remaining chapters address specific aspects of the management and oversight of the projects within the Office of Environmental Management. Chapters 4 and 5 consider the project management of cleanup activities within EM and how progress on such is tracked and measured. Chapters 6 and 7 consider the contract structures available to EM, which ones have been used and how these fared, and then discusses the PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1-2

incentives in the contracts aimed at encouraging improved schedule and cost performance. Chapters 4 through 7 address the key aspects of the committee’s charge, with the outcome of the committee’s analysis and deliberations explained in a stylized way: “findings” are facts the committee noted to be of particular importance; “conclusions” describe the significance of these facts for project effectiveness and efficiency; and “recommendations” translate these into action, assigning a measurable action to a specific actor. The statement of task is addressed by the chapters as outlined in Table 1.1. TABLE 1.1 How the Statement of Task Is Addressed in the Report Element of Statement of Task Chapter(s) Addressing the Element A. Assess DOE-EM’s program and project management 4, 6 practices benchmarked against DOE 413.3B and other practices used elsewhere for project planning and acquisition, technology insertion, controls, review, reporting, contract management, and other management activities; B. Evaluate whether DOE-EM has well-defined and 5 measurable outcomes for its cleanup activities and review DOE-EM’s prioritization strategy and decision support for operational actions for achieving the stated outcomes; and C. Evaluate the level and appropriateness of DOE-EM’s 7; the second phase of study will consider oversight of technical contractors and site operations, as EM’s oversight of site operations in more well as engagement with external stakeholders, to meet detail and EM’s engagement with the stated outcomes. external stakeholders PREPUBLICATION COPY – SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1-3

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies have conducted activities to develop atomic energy for civilian and defense purposes since the initiation of the World War II Manhattan Project in 1942. These activities took place at large federal land reservations of hundreds of square miles involving industrial-scale operations, but also at many smaller federal and non-federal sites such as uranium mines, materials processing and manufacturing facilities. The nuclear weapons and energy production activities at these facilities produced large quantities of radioactive and hazardous wastes and resulted in widespread groundwater and soil contamination at these sites. DOE initiated a concerted effort to clean up these sites beginning in the 1980s. Many of these sites have been remediated and are in long-term caretaker status, closed or repurposed for other uses.

Review of the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management: First Report provides background information on the sites currently assigned to the DOE's Office of Environmental Management that are undergoing cleanup; discusses current practices for management and oversight of the cleanups; offers findings and recommendations on such practices and how progress is measured against them; and considers the contracts under which the cleanups proceed and how these have been and can be structured to include incentives for improved cost and schedule performance.

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