Two phases are planned for the Commission. In Phase 1, the objective of the Commission is to address whether the Department of Energy's (DOE) national laboratories are properly aligned with the Department's strategic priorities; have clear, well understood, and properly balanced missions that are not unnecessarily redundant and duplicative; have unique capabilities that have sufficiently evolved to meet current and future energy and national security challenges; are appropriately sized to meet the Department's energy and national security missions; and are appropriately supporting other Federal agencies and the extent to which it benefits DOE missions. 

For Phase 2, the Commission shall also determine whether there are opportunities to more effectively and efficiently use the capabilities of the national laboratories, including consolidation and realignment, reducing overhead costs, reevaluating governance models using industrial and academic bench marks for comparison, and assessing the impact of DO E's oversight and management approach. In its evaluation, the Commission should also consider the cost and effectiveness of using other research, development, and technology centers and universities as an alternative to meeting DOE's energy and national security goals.

The Commission shall analyze the effectiveness of the use of laboratory directed research and development (LDRD) to meet the Department of Energy's science, energy, and national security goals. The Commission shall further evaluate the effectiveness of the Department's oversight approach to ensure LDRD-funded projects are compliant with statutory requirements and congressional direction, including requirements that LDRD projects be distinct from projects directly funded by appropriations and that LORD projects derived from the Department's national security programs support the national security mission of the Department of Energy. Finally, the Commission shall quantify the extent to which LDRD funding supports recruiting and retention of qualified staff. The Commission will submit a report containing the Commission's findings and conclusions to the Secretary of Energy, the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, and the Senate.