The National Nuclear Security Administration spent over $11 billion in 2016 on management and operating contracts at the federal sites that maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, among other things.
The GAO found that NNSA was unable to promptly locate key contract documents, which NNSA officials need to effectively oversee these contracts, and justify awarding millions of federal dollars.
According to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), agencies should ensure that contract documents are readily accessible to principal users. Documentation is also an important aspect of federal standards for internal control, which state that documentation should be readily available for examination in support of actions agencies take to achieve program objectives. Since 2011, the Office of Acquisition and Project Management (OAPM) within the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been responsible for providing oversight and guidance for NNSA management and operating (M&O) contracts.
GAO found that OAPM did not have ready access to key M&O contract documents stored at NNSA field offices. Consequently, OAPM was unable to provide GAO with contract documents requested in a timely manner. The FAR and federal standards for internal control emphasize the need for agencies to have ready access to contract documents, though OAPM lacks ready access to certain M&O contract documents, which raises concerns about OAPM’s ability to effectively fulfill its management and oversight responsibilities.