The Enterprise Program Management Office

Another Best Practice at the National Nuclear Security Administration


By Jessica Kunkle1, Alma Contreras2, Wayne Abba3, Michael Haase4 and David L. Pells5

1National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. DOE, Washington, DC, USA
2National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. DOE, Washington, DC, USA
3Abba Associates, Niceville, FL, USA
4M-Con Solutions, Washington, DC, USA
5PM World, Inc., Addison, TX, USA



The project management office (PMO) and in recent years the program management office (PgMO) are recognized best practices in organizations around the world. An Enterprise PMO (EPMO) extends the functions and benefits of a PMO to multiple projects within an organization. An Enterprise PgMO (EPgMO) extends the functions and benefits of a PgMO across multiple programs, portfolios and projects within an organization in the same manner that an EPMO does, but often with a broader scope.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) within the U.S. Department of Energy maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations (NA-50) is responsible for enabling safe operations, ensuring effective infrastructure and providing enterprise services to NNSA programs and national laboratories, plants and sites around the United States.

NA-50 has established an enterprise-level program management office (EPgMO), one of the first in the US government. A relatively new approach in the program/project management field, the NA-50 EPgMO at NNSA is one of the first of its kind in the US government. This paper will describe the purpose, functions and value of an EPgMO and the related experience to date within NA-50 at NNSA.


The terms project and project management have been in use for many years and are widely understood worldwide. For purposes of this short paper, we assume that readers are familiar with these concepts and terms. The PMO itself is a relatively new concept, but has grown in acceptance and popularity around the world in the last 25 years. It is now widely known and used in many organizations and industries, including government agencies at all levels.

Program Management concepts and terminology have also been used for many years in some industries, especially those associated with government funding such as aerospace, defense, energy, environmental remediation, nuclear research and security, space (NASA) and many public services. The PgMO is less widely used but is growing in acceptance, partially due to its inclusion in The Standard for Program Management first published by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) in 2006.

One of the problems associated with both PMO and PgMO is the proliferation of acronyms that are used by various authors, consultants and organizations. For the sake of this paper, we will stick with PMO, EPMO, PgMO and EPgMO. Another confusing issue has become the relationship of projects and programs to portfolio management, which is somewhat beyond the scope of this paper. In our experience, however, portfolios can consist of both projects and programs, while programs can also consist of portfolios of projects. This latter is the case for NA-50 at NNSA.


          PMO Defined

PMI’s PMBOK Guide defines PMO as an organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain. The responsibilities can range from providing project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of a project.

The primary function of a PMO is to support project managers in a variety of ways which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing shared resources across all projects administered by the PMO;
  • Identifying and developing project management methodologies, best practices and standards;
  • Coaching, mentoring, training and oversight;
  • Monitoring compliance with project management standards, policies, procedures and templates via project audits;
  • Developing and managing project policies, procedures, templates and other shared documentation (organizational process assets); and
  • Coordinating communication across projects. (PMI 2008)

According to Professor Peter Morris, a globally-respected researcher, author and authority on project management in the UK, functions of a PMO can be to:


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 4th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.


About the Authors

Jessica Kunkle

Washington, DC, USA


Jessica Kunkle
is the Director for the Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations’ (NA-50) Program Management Office (PMO) at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).  In this role, she leads a fast-paced, cross-functional team to provide shared, corporate services for eight federal programs totaling approximately $1.6 billion in annual appropriations.  Jessica also serves as the Executive Director for NNSA’s Operations and Efficiencies Board and NA-50’s Program Management Improvement Team.

Ms. Kunkle has held various positions throughout her tenure with DOE/NNSA, including working in NNSA’s Program Executive Office leading management improvements for NNSA; serving as the Budget Officer for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) overseeing the execution of over $800 million per year; and working as a Contract Specialist supporting NNSA’s vital nuclear nonproliferation mission.

Ms. Kunkle has received a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award (2016) and the National Defense Industrial Association’s (NDIA) Excellence in Enterprise Information Award (2015).  She holds degrees in Marketing, Operations, and International Management from the University of New Mexico.


Alma Contreras

Washington, DC, USA


Alma Contreras
is a project manager for Battelle, currently on loan to the NNSA Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations (NA-50).  In this role, she acts as the project controls lead for the organization, helping them to organize, execute, and control almost $2B in annual workscope.  Prior to coming to NA-50, Ms. Contreras managed international nonproliferation implementation projects in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Ms. Contreras is a qualified project manager, holding both the Project Management Professional (PMP) as well as the Earned Value Management Professional (EVP) certifications.  She has worked for private industry as well as local and federal government, where she has accumulated almost 20 years of project controls/project management experience.  She received her degree in business administration from Washington State University.


Wayne F. Abba

Abba Consulting
Florida, USA


Wayne Abba
is an independent consultant specializing in acquisition and program management. His clients include US and foreign government agencies and contractors. He also is a part-time Research Analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, where he co-authored a 2009 study on using the Rayleigh mathematical model for Earned Value Management planning and analysis. From 1999 to 2004, Wayne was the Vice President for Integrated Management Services with Dekker, Ltd., a provider of software solutions and consulting for project management.

For seventeen years before retiring in 1999, Wayne was the senior program analyst for contract performance management in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition & Technology). He was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service in 1993, 1997 and 1999 for leadership in the acceptance of effectively integrated technical, schedule and cost performance management principles throughout the Department of Defense, the federal government, commercial enterprise, and in the governments and industries of friendly foreign countries. He served on the joint government-industry Integrated Program Management Initiative team that received the Department’s David Packard Award for Excellence in Acquisition.

Wayne has served on numerous Earned Value and Project Management review teams, and has helped industrial clients prepare for such reviews. His US government work included reviews of Army, Air Force and Navy contractors. He also served on an Australian Department of Defense team that reviewed BAE in UK for the Hawk Lead-In Fighter Trainer program. He performs peer reviews on projects for the National Science Foundation and is an independent program management advisor for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Wayne is a contributing author of the US Government Accountability Office’s “Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Costs,” issued in March 2009, and its companion “Schedule Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Project Schedules,” issued in May 2012. He co-authored EVM content in the Project Management Institute’s PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on EVM and related topics. He serves on the editorial board of CrossTalk (the Journal of Defense Software Engineering), on the Graduate School Japan board of directors, and served from 2004-2014 on the governing board of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Integrated Program Management Division.

Wayne holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the State of New York and a Master of Public Administration degree from The American University. In 1999 his contributions to the advancement of public and private sector project management were recognized by the Project Management Institute’s Distinguished Contribution Award and by the Government of Canada. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary fellowship by India’s Centre for Excellence in Project Management. He is current president of the College of Performance Management, CPM. He can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Wayne Abba, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/wayne-abba/


Michael Haase

M-Con Strategic Solutions, LLC
Washington, DC, USA


Michael Haase
has over 21 years of experience in Program Management and Strategic Planning. Mr. Haase currently serves as the manager for headquarters support contracts with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Global Material Security and the Office of Infrastructure and Operations. Mr. Haase has provided program management and policy support to DOE/NNSA programs for the past 21 years focusing on strategic planning, program management, policy analysis and development, budgeting, and communications planning.

Mr. Haase is currently President of M-Con Strategic Solutions providing program management consulting services to government clients in the area of program management, strategic planning, and project management support including the U.S. Department of Energy. He is leading program management process improvement efforts for the Office of Radiological Security including development of project work plans for over 40 projects; strategic planning, branding, and outreach efforts; and review and update of program management and policy guidelines. Mr. Haase served on an independent project review team that assessed the Office of Global Material Security program management processes and made recommendations to increase efficiencies and integration across the program. Mr. Haase also provided communications planning and strategic planning support to the NNSA Office of Nuclear Materials Integration and program management support to the NNSA Office of Infrastructure and Operations.

Mr. Haase has previously provided program management support to the Office of Global Threat Reduction, which included development of security strategies to enhance the security of nuclear and radiological materials including coordination of response strategies, interactions with local law enforcement, response training program development, and coordination of table top exercises. He served as Vice President of Aquila Technologies where he directed Washington DC-based government and commercial consulting/ technology programs and served as program manager for initiatives with NNSA for program management and technical support in the area of weapons of mass destruction security including remote monitoring technology solutions. Mr. Haase also has experience serving as a Program Manager for Mele Associates, Canberra Industries, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Mr. Haase also has experience as a federal manager for U.S. Department of Energy nonproliferation program from 1993-2000. Mr. Haase served as a Division Director for the Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation where he managed a $65M U.S. nonproliferation program aimed at securing weapons-grade nuclear material at 20 civilian and military nuclear sites in Russia. Prior to that he was a Foreign Affairs Specialist for the Russia/Newly Independent States Nuclear Material Security Task Force and Office of International Safeguards where he initiated and coordinated national security projects in Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Uzbekistan including implementation of nuclear security, control and accounting system projects at over 20 nuclear facilities. Mr. Haase holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University. He can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Michael Haase, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/michael-haase/


David L. Pells

PM World Services, Inc.
Addison, Texas, USA


David Pells
is the President of PM World Services, Inc., a program/project management (P/PM) services firm based in Texas and of PM World, Inc., a project management information services and publishing firm. He has 40 years of P/PM-related experience in a wide variety of industries, programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, transit, defense, security and high technology, and project sizes ranging from thousands to many billions of dollars. David is a Fellow and past member of the Board of Directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). He was founder and Chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000) and the American Project Management Forum (1996-1998). Mr. Pells was awarded PMI’s Person-of-the-Year Award in 1998 and highest award, the PMI Fellow Award, in 1999. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (UK), Project Management Associates (India), and Russian Project Management Association. Mr. Pells has a BA in business administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University, USA. He lives in Addison, Texas, USA.

Career highlights include: Program management advisor for major NNSA programs, USDOE; Senior advisor to Sandia National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Savannah River National Lab and Oak Ridge National Lab on nuclear security and other programs; Executive advisor on multi-billion $ transit programs in Dallas and Seattle; Member of mobilization team & manager of project management reporting system for Superconducting Super Collider (10-year, $10B+ project for US DOE); Program manager, project management process improvements, and advisor on several of DOE’s largest projects at Idaho National Laboratory (INL); Project controls engineer on large international construction projects; Program controls on two major projects for US Department of Defense; Project controls & project management support for design/construction of nuclear reactor, environmental restoration program, Space Nuclear Reactor Project, New Production Reactor Program, low-level radioactive waste storage program at INL; executive advisor for multi-billion $ nuclear power plant project in Finland; and currently a program management advisor for NNSA. David is also managing editor of the PM World Journal and managing director of the PM World Library. He can be contacted at mailto:[email protected]or [email protected]

To view other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/