The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 authorizes the Department of Energy (DOE) to be self-regulating with respect to the safety and security of the DOE workforce, protection of the public from Departmental operations, and the protection of national security assets. The Office of Health, Safety and Security's (HSS) Office of Enforcement and Oversight fulfills two key elements of DOE's overall approach to ensuring effective self-regulation and providing assurance of the Department's safety and security posture to its leadership, its workers, and the public - regulatory enforcement and independent oversight.
The Office of Enforcement and Oversight was created in May 2011 by merging two former HSS offices; the Office of Independent Oversight and the Office of Enforcement. The Office of Enforcement and Oversight now comprises the two fully independent safety and security performance monitoring functions within HSS: (1) the Independent Oversight Program mandated by and described in DOE Order 227.1, Independent Oversight Program, and (2) the Safety and Security Enforcement Program mandated by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and implemented through Federal regulations. The Office of Enforcement and Oversight is independent of the DOE organizations that are responsible for developing policy and performing DOE mission activities so that it can provide unbiased and objective information regarding the effectiveness of those policies and programs. The functions performed by the Office of Enforcement and Oversight complement but do not replace the activities undertaken by the Department's line management organizations, which are responsible for ensuring the safe and secure accomplishment of DOE missions through their own assessment, assurance, and contract management mechanisms.
The Independent Oversight Program is implemented by two sub-offices: the Office of Security and Cyber Evaluations and the Office of Safety and Emergency Management Evaluations. The program provides DOE line management, Congress, and other stakeholders with independent evaluations of the effectiveness of DOE policy and line management performance in safety and security, and other critical areas as directed by the Secretary of Energy. The Independent Oversight Program is designed to ensure maximum value to the Department in completing its missions by identifying gaps and vulnerabilities in safety (worker, nuclear, and facility safety) and physical and cyber security programs and related performance. The staff performs facility, site-specific, and Department-wide performance-based assessments to verify that the Department's safeguards and security interests are protected, particularly special nuclear material and sensitive and classified information in all forms; Departmental employees and the public are protected from hazardous operations and materials; and the Department can effectively respond to emergencies. Independent oversight activities are tailored to the unique needs of each DOE program office, considering relative risks and past performance in prioritizing activities. The Independent Oversight Program also provides information and analysis regarding the effectiveness and trends in the Department's safety and security programs and other functions of interest. Information is made available to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretaries, Congressional committees, and other stakeholders, such as unions and local public interest groups, to provide confidence that the Department's operations are being performed in a safe and secure manner.
The Safety and Security Enforcement Program is implemented by three sub-offices: the Office of Worker Safety and Health Enforcement, the Office of Nuclear Safety Enforcement, and the Office of Security Enforcement. As the office titles suggest, these offices are responsible for implementing Congressionally-mandated enforcement programs in the areas of worker safety and health, nuclear safety, and classified information security. The program is implemented in accordance with the provisions of 10 C.F.R. Part 820, Procedural Rules for DOE Nuclear Activities; Part 824, Procedural Rules for the Assessment of Civil Penalties for Classified Information Security Violations; and Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program. The goal of the Safety and Security Enforcement Program is to enhance and protect worker safety and health, nuclear safety, and classified information security by fostering a culture that seeks to attain and sustain compliance with safety and security regulations as one component of effective performance. The Enforcement Program pursues this goal not only through its investigative activities and formal enforcement proceedings, but also by offering to perform Regulatory Assistance Reviews. These reviews provide feedback to DOE line management and contractors on contractor processes for self-identifying, evaluating, reporting, and correcting noncompliances so that these conditions can be recognized and addressed before causing or contributing to an adverse event.
A primary objective of all of our activities is to promote open and productive communications with managers and staff of inspected facilities, responsible Headquarters offices, and other constituencies in order to have a positive influence on the Department's security and safety operations and programs. Even after formal assessment and investigative activities are completed, we consider our staff to be a resource that line managers may utilize if they desire to better understand issues or seek suggestions on improving safety and security performance or overcoming difficult challenges.
The Office of Enforcement and Oversight conducts its oversight and enforcement roles for DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration using proven and long established processes. Protocols and process guides for the conduct of all of our activities are accessible via the Independent Oversight Program and Safety and Security Enforcement Program links listed on the menu to the left of this page. We encourage you to visit our other web pages to obtain additional information about our programs and products, and look forward to receiving any questions you may have concerning our functions and activities.