While direct weapon products at Purchased Product Value Stream had the validity of their certificates of conformance (CoCs) verified through independent testing, indirect weapon products at Purchased Product Value Stream used in the production of nuclear weapons, such as commercial off-the-shelf products, did not always have their suppliers’ CoCs independently verified. The suppliers’ CoCs were not always independently verified because Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) used a graded approach, which is allowed in National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Policy (NAP) 401.1.§ 2.1, and the unverified products were deemed low risk. Per NNSA, subject matter experts from the Weapons Quality Division reviewed the rationale for the products not tested and found no issues with SNL’s approach. However, due to ambiguous language in NAP 401.1, we could not independently verify that NAP was followed. NNSA acknowledged that these sections of NAP 401.1 are an area of ambiguity across the complex. In addition, we also found that while SNL’s Microsystems Engineering, Science, & Applications (MESA) facility could demonstrate that the procured weapon products tested had their CoCs independently verified, our assurance was limited only to the suppliers tested because of the lack of a complete and accurate population. Specifically, SNL’s MESA facility did not require procured weapon products to be tracked as Mark Quality, nor formally identify the material as direct or indirect. As a result, we were unable to obtain reasonable assurance that the population of procured weapon products provided by MESA was complete and accurate for testing.
Friday, March 10, 2023
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