DOE Responds to Galvin Report Recommendations

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Publication date: 
27 April 1995
Number: 
60

In its quest to "reinvent" federal departments, the Administration
has completed reviews of its largest federal laboratory complexes.
This interagency review of DOD, DOE, and NASA laboratories is to be
submitted to the National Science and Technology Council.  As part
of this effort, a Task Force led by Robert Galvin examined and
reported on DOE's national laboratories (see FYIs #17, #40.) 

DOE's 42-page response to the Galvin report, entitled, "Report of
the Department of Energy for the Interagency Federal Laboratory
Review," was released on March 8.  DOE intends to "use this
examination as an instrument for change...[and] to meet the
President's goal...of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of
these R&D institutions in meeting current and future national
needs." 

The document reports that the Galvin Task Force "has clearly and
forcefully validated the work of the DOE laboratories in the areas
of energy, national security, environment, and fundamental
science."  It adds that "On the question of management, however,
the Task Force could hardly have expressed greater alarm.  They
concluded that the existing system of governance...is broken.  The
Department agrees, and has developed the following plan to fix it."

DOE's plan includes a roadmap of elements to be achieved, and a new
management structure for the labs.  "To help the Department and the
laboratories work their way out of a thicket of cumbersome,
inefficient, and non value-added interactions," DOE has designed a
"Management Improvement Roadmap."  Its elements include: reforming
DOE's system of orders and directives; achieving better health,
environment and safety performance at lower cost; developing
external regulation of the labs; reducing the burden of audits and
appraisals; implementing commercial "best practice" procurement
policies; establishing within DOE a new governing structure for the
labs; and sharpening the labs' focus on their strongest areas.

On the issue of lab management, DOE takes exception to the Galvin
report's recommendations.  "The most provocative recommendation
within the Galvin Task Force report," DOE says, "is to
`corporatize' the laboratories..."  The Department reports that it
is "not persuaded that the specific model envisioned [by the Galvin
Task Force] would be either practical in the near-term or
sustainable over the long-term."  DOE plans to explore new
governance options, while at the same time improving the current
management system. 

Improvements to the current system include establishing a new,
corporate-level governing board within DOE.  The Department
believes that this "Laboratory Operating Board," made up of senior
DOE management officials and a subgroup of private sector advisors,
"will address numerous governance issues identified in the Galvin
Report."  It would meet quarterly, and be responsible for strategic
direction and mission allocation for the labs, facility
rationalization, right-sizing, and cost-containment.

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