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Audit Report: OAS-L-14-09

July 28, 2014

National Nuclear Security Administration's Space-Based Nuclear Detonation Detection Program

NNSA's Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development manages the Nuclear Detonation Detection (NDD) Program. The mission of the NDD program is to develop, demonstrate and deliver technologies to detect worldwide nuclear detonations. NNSA dedicated nearly $300 million in Fiscal Years 2011 through 2013, to the Space-Based NDD (SNDD) Program to supply detection sensor payloads and provide on-orbit operational support to meet interagency commitments for the United States NDD System which serves two broad classes of missions: treaty monitoring and war fighting.

We found that NNSA could not ensure, and we could not independently validate, whether it will fully meet customer needs within the SNDD Program budget.  In particular, despite the assertions from officials at the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), we could not validate whether the delivery dates could be met within the budget due to a lack of cost and schedule data for the project. While not specifically required because of the nature of the effort, we noted SNL and LANL had not utilized key project management tools such as those contained in Department of Energy (Department) Order 413.3B, Program and Project Management for the Acquisition of Capital Assets, to manage the SNDD program.

In response to our concerns, NNSA management officials agreed with the need to utilize additional project management techniques and stated that they planned to implement an integrated systems engineering function for the SNDD program. For instance, management will require a more detailed work breakdown structure, synchronize resource-loaded schedules and improve the rigor of data presented at quarterly program management reviews.

Topic: National Security & Safety