January 16, 2013 

The Department of Energy's International Offices and Foreign Assignments

In support of its mission, the Department of Energy's (Department) Federal and contractor employees travel extensively worldwide.  Furthermore, the Department maintains a cadre of Energy Attachés and specialized personnel in Department offices located in U.S. Embassies, missions, consulates and military commands.

We found that the Department and its contractors, for the most part, effectively managed the selected administrative activities included in our review of international offices and foreign assignments.  We did, however, note opportunities to improve international office and foreign assignment administration.  Specifically, the Department was unable to fill, or fill in a timely manner, key positions at three international offices.  We also observed that foreign permanent changes of station (PCS) and foreign travel were not always properly managed at the contractor level.

We noted that the Department is in the process of taking action to fill the vacancies at its international offices.  However, to address the concerns noted in this report, we suggested the Department fully implement Department Order 313.1, Management and Funding of the Department's Overseas Presence, and ensure that the laboratories follow the Department's PCS and foreign travel policies and procedures.

Topic: Management & Administration