Weapons Acquisition and Contract Management Make GAO’s High Risk List – Again

Weapons Acquisition and Contract Management Make GAO’s High Risk List – Again
Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released its biennial update to its High Risk List – a compilation of government programs that are identified as “high risk due to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.” Department of Defense weapon systems acquisition and Department of Energy contract management have both been on the GAO’s High Risk List for the last 25 years.

Analysis of the DOE Nuclear Non-Proliferation Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

Curious how much money US lawmakers appropriated to prevent nuclear terrorism and the spread of nuclear materials for fiscal year 2015? Deep within the 1,600 page Cromnibus, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) received $1.616 billion dollars, a $337 million reduction from FY 14.

Some good programs went unfunded, like cooperative threat reduction work with Russia. Some bad programs were funded well above the Obama administration’s request, like the Mixed Oxide fuel program dubbed the “fuel to nowhere.”

** Click here for our full analysis of the NNSA’s FY15 nuclear nonproliferation budget

Spending Bills Clear Congress, Despite Delays

After more than a few budget antics this weekend, both the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, H.R. 3979) and FY15 Omnibus (H.R. 83), or “Cromnibus,” have cleared Congress.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees completed behind-the-scenes negotiations on the NDAA on December 1st then moved on to a vote in the House on December 5th, where the bill passed 300-119. On December 12th, the Senate lent its approval to the bill by a vote of 89-11, marking the 53rd consecutive NDAA approved by Congress.

New Obama Budget Slashes Nonproliferation

More FY 2015 budget analysis over on the mother ship, this time on the Obama administration’s disturbing cuts to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) core nuclear and radiological security programs. Here’s a teaser:

In its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Obama administration made it resoundingly clear that it is in a full-on retreat from accelerating the security of nuclear and radiological materials around the globe.

This decision is difficult to fathom, given that as recently as this week the President stated that the number one thing that keeps him up at night is “loose nukes.” Likewise the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review identified nuclear terrorism as “today’s most immediate and extreme danger.”

For the third year in a row the NNSA budget submission continues a disturbing trend of funding nuclear weapons and other programs at the expense of core nuclear and radiological material security programs. This year, the tradeoff is starker than it has ever been.

The request slashes nearly eighteen percent compared to the FY 2014 enacted level from core threat reduction and nonproliferation programs such as the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and the International Materials Protection and Cooperation (IMPC) program while increasing weapons funding nearly seven percent (including a massive 20 percent increase for the unnecessary, over budget, and behind schedule B61 mod 12 life extension program). The request also increases funding for NNSA’s Naval Reactors program by nearly 26 percent.

Roughly half of the funding cut to the Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation account (or approximately $250 million) came out of core programs, while the other half was to the controversial Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel program in South Carolina.

Read the whole thing here.