The Government Accountability Office found that the National Nuclear Security Administration was unable to leverage its “enhanced procurement authority” to exclude suppliers of nuclear weapons and components that may pose risks to supply chain security.
GAO stated in its report that the Department of Energy component has not used the authority it received in 2013 to prohibit procurement of items related to the development and maintenance of nuclear weapons as well as associated components and information technology systems. According to NNSA officials, the agency was unable to use the authority due to lengthy approval procedures and concerns that it is best applied on a case-by-case basis.
“By formally communicating the agency’s concerns about, and suggested changes to, the enhanced procurement authority in a timely manner, NNSA would provide Congress with the relevant information for considering how to make the authority more useful to DOE and NNSA for managing supply chain risks,” the watchdog noted.
NNSA is slated to submit a draft report including recommendations on delegating a lower-level approval authority to speed up procedures and allowing the enhanced procurement authority to cover multiple contracts with a single supplier.