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GAO: NNSA Should Develop Process for Evaluation of R&D Portfolio Performance Under AMD Program

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The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the National Nuclear Security Administration come up and document its process for assessing the performance of its research and development projects under the Advanced Manufacturing Development program.

GAO said in a report published Friday NNSA should establish measures for evaluating the progress on long-term R&D priorities and goals for its AMD program.

The congressional watchdog found that NNSA’s AMD program fully or substantially followed five of six leading practices for overseeing a federal R&D portfolio, including the development and alignment of short- and long-term R&D goals and priorities; identification and coordination with stakeholders to develop the R&D portfolio; and use of a portfolio-wide system to monitor the progress of R&D.

However, NNSA has not fully established a process for reviewing the performance of the R&D portfolio within the AMD program.

“As a result, NNSA may be using inconsistent measures across individual projects to evaluate performance,” the GAO report reads.

According to the report, NNSA production and laboratory sites had approximately 600 manufacturing-related R&D projects and spent about $300 million on such initiatives in fiscal year 2021.