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History of the Office

The Office of Project Management (PM) was established as a new DOE element on July 12, 2015 to be the Department of Energy’s Enterprise Project Management Organization (EPMO), providing leadership and assistance in developing and implementing DOE-wide policies, procedures, programs, and management systems pertaining to project management, and independently monitors, assesses, and reports on project execution performance. The office validates project performance baselines–scope, cost and schedule–of the Department’s largest construction and environmental clean-up projects prior to budget request to Congress—an active project portfolio totaling over $30 billion. The office also serves as Executive Secretariat for the Department’s Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board (ESAAB) and the Project Management Risk Committee (PMRC). In these capacities, the Director is accountable to the Deputy Secretary.

The project management office was originally called the Office of Field Management (FM) and was under the purview of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer in the 1990s. In the Energy & Water Development Appropriations Act for FY 2000, the Senate initiated and the House concurred to eliminate funding for DOE's Office of Field Management.

During the intervening period, appropriators directed DOE to contract with the National Research Council (NRC) to study DOE's project management and produce reports required by Congress. In its first report, NRC recommended that External Independent Reviews (EIRs) of DOE projects be undertaken and guidelines established for them. The NRC’s second report yielded the study entitled, Improving Project Management in the Department of Energy. That became a principal tool in revising DOE’s project management, along with the Deputy Secretary's Project Management Initiative, directing changes in the Department's project management effort. Taken together, the external NRC study and the Deputy Secretary's initiative formed the basis for creation of the Office of Engineering and Construction Management (OECM), which continued to reside under the authority of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

In FY 2001, OECM began to address the voids in DOE's project management caused by the elimination of funding for FM. Work began systematically on the following issues: a newly designed DOE Order; a revised Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board (ESAAB) process; a revised EIR process; development of a Project Engineering and Design (PED) requirement for new projects; research into a career development program for project managers; and liaison with the engineering and construction industries, to name a few. 

In FY 2006, OECM was placed under the purview of the Office of Management (MA).

In FY 2012, the project and contract management oversight offices within the Office of Management (MA), the Office of Engineering and Construction Management (OECM) and Office of Procurement and Assistance Management (OPAM) respectively, were merged and consolidated into a singular Office of Acquisition and Project Management (APM). This complemented the consolidation of like functions into APM offices within both NNSA and EM. These APM organizations worked collaboratively to address continuous improvement initiatives regarding project management.

In FY 2015, the Under Secretary for Management and Performance reorganized and consolidated parts of the Office of Management (MA) and the Office of Environmental Management (EM) into one organization and created a new office entitled the Office of Project Management (PM). This new office reports directly to the Under Secretary for Management and Performance (S3).

This reorganization was prompted by the Secretary's "Improving the Department's Management of Projects" memorandum, dated December 1, 2014. In this memo, each Under Secretary was directed to establish, if it did not already exist, its own project assessment office that does not have line management responsibility for project execution. The offices will conduct peer reviews of projects in their purview that have a total project cost of $100 million or greater (or lower as deemed appropriate by the Under Secretaries), similar to the review process already established in the Office of Science.