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GAO Cites Improvements, Shortfalls in NNSA Nuclear Modernization Program Mgmt

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The Government Accountability Office has found that while the National Nuclear Security Administration improved its management of weapons stockpile modernization efforts since 2003, it is yet to address challenges in cost and schedule management.

GAO said in a report published Tuesday that the Department of Energy component made improvements such as the implementation of independent cost estimates for its Uranium Processing Facility effort. However, the watchdog noted that NNSA must assess its modernization programs to better align efforts to future funding. 

According to GAO, NNSA could improve its management of nuclear modernization programs by including complete scopes of work and schedule estimates.

"GAO continues to believe that presenting options to align its portfolio of programs to potential future budgets could help Congress and NNSA better understand NNSA's priorities and trade-offs that may need to be undertaken in the future," the watchdog said.

In 2019, GAO recommended that NNSA procure newly produced explosives for future weapons programs. The agency also reported last month that NNSA had trouble managing its W87-1 warhead program, resulting in doubts that the agency can meet the required number of manufactured plutonium weapon cores on time.