Special Report: DOE-OIG-20-09

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November 15, 2019

Management Challenges at the Department of Energy – Fiscal Year 2020

The Department of Energy’s mission is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.  The Department’s world-leading science and technology enterprise generates the innovations that fulfill its missions.  Through 17 national laboratories, the Department engages in cutting edge research that expands the frontiers of scientific knowledge, generates new technologies to address the country’s greatest energy challenges, and strengthens national security by maintaining and modernizing the nuclear stockpile.  To execute this diverse portfolio, the Department receives an annual appropriation of approximately $35 billion, employs approximately 113,000 Federal and contractor personnel, and manages assets valued at $196.1 billion. 

The Office of Inspector General annually identifies what it considers to be the most significant management challenges facing the Department.  The Office of Inspector General’s goal is to focus attention on significant issues with the objective of working with Department managers to enhance the effectiveness of agency programs and operations.  Based on the results of our body of work over the past year, the management challenges list for fiscal year 2020 remains largely consistent with that of the previous year.  These challenges include:

•  Contract Oversight

•  Cybersecurity

•  Environmental Cleanup

•  Nuclear Waste Disposal

•  Safeguards and Security

•  Stockpile Stewardship

•  Infrastructure Modernization

The Office of Inspector General also prepares an annual Watch List, which incorporates other issues that do not meet the threshold of a management challenge, yet in its view, warrant special attention by Department officials.  For fiscal year 2020, the Watch List includes:

•  Intellectual Property Theft/Foreign Talents Program

•  Human Capital Management

•  Grant Management

The management challenges process is an important tool that assists us in focusing our finite resources on what we consider to be the Department’s most significant risks and vulnerabilities.

Topic: Management and Adminstration