Responsible for executing some of the Nation's most complex and technologically advanced missions, the Department of Energy (Department) faces an array of challenges that are as wide-ranging and complex as at any time in its history. While the Department's origins can be traced to the Manhattan Project and the 1973-1974 oil embargo, it has evolved into a multi-faceted agency that encompasses a broad range of national security, scientific, energy and environmental activities with an annual budget in excess of $24 billion. Additionally, with the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009, the Department received more than $35 billion in supplemental funding and massive new loan and loan guarantee authority for the acceleration of a number of efforts, including investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, carbon capture and storage, and a "smart" electric grid.
Annually, the Office of Inspector General identifies what it considers to be the most significant management challenges facing the Department. Now codified as part of the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000, this effort assesses the agency's progress in addressing previously identified challenges and considers emerging issues facing the Department. Unlike prior reports, we have also identified a series of cost reduction and efficiency enhancement actions for consideration by Department management. This is intended to assist the Department in dealing with the likely budget reductions facing most agency programs. Consistent with our mission, the overall goal is to focus attention on significant issues with the objective of working with Department managers to enhance the effectiveness of agency programs and operations.