December 16, 2014

Allegations Regarding the Consolidation of Central Alarm Stations at the Oak Ridge Reservation

The Department of Energy's (Department) Oak Ridge Reservation is home to multiple unique sites, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the East Tennessee Technology Park, and the Oak Ridge Office. Each site is equipped with an alarm station that monitors security alarms and video feeds 24 hours a day. The Office of Science (Science) manages the portion of the Oak Ridge Reservation that contains these three sites, and in 2011, Science recommended the consolidation of the sites' alarm stations to cut security costs. In March 2013, Science selected ORNL as the site to host a consolidated alarm station.

We found that the approval for the Alarm Station Consolidation Project was based on incomplete information regarding the viability and economic feasibility of the project. Although Science took some project management actions, it did not fully develop economic analyses to provide reasonable assurance that the consolidation project would be advantageous to the Department, total project cost estimates to assist project managers in controlling the effort, and assessments of security impacts to ensure appropriate protection throughout the project. Our review determined that the consolidation project would not save the Government money, but instead, it could result in more than $1 million in additional annual costs to the Department and leave no possibility for recovery of the $6.2 million requested for initial setup costs.

Topic: Management & Administration