The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has asked President Obama to instruct the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to reverse its decision to withdraw contractor performance data from public view. The NNSA's action, reported last week in Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, moves in the opposite direction from the Administration's announcement last week of the Open Government Directive (OGD) that requires executive branch agencies to take new initiatives towards a more transparent and collaborative government.
The internal memo on October 19, 2009, by Director of Acquisition and Supply Management at NNSA David Boyd to Site Office contracting officers informed them that the public will no longer have immediate access to Performance Evaluation Plans (PEPs) and Performance Evaluation Reports (PERs). This information is perhaps the single most important information from NNSA, as it assesses the performance of the contractors who manage the laboratories and production facilities that comprise the national weapons complex. Additionally, this information demonstrates how effectively the government uses the power of the purse to hold the contractors accountable for their performance.
Given that 90 percent of DOE's work is performed by contractors, it is absolutely critical that PEPs and PERs be made available to public scrutiny immediately and not three years hence as recommended by Mr. Boyd's memo. POGO, GAO, the DOE Inspector General, and independent review teams have all expressed concerns about how ineffective the Site Offices have been in conducting oversight of the contractors.
"The prime reason to hide the PEPs and PERs is to obscure from the public how NNSA is holding contractors accountable for poor performance," said Peter Stockton, POGO Senior Investigator.
POGO believes this action by NNSA is in direct conflict with President Obama's commitment to opening the federal government to full public disclosure and must be reversed immediately.