Program Management Improvement Team for NNSA


Program Management Improvement Team: A Best Practice Based Approach to Process Improvement and Program Governance at the National Nuclear Security Administration

By Wayne Abba, Russell Archibald, Michael Haase, David Pells, Miles Shepherd, Marc Zocher

USA, Mexico and UK



The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, applies technical capabilities to global nuclear security challenges. NNSA’s strategic goals are to maintain and enhance the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; work to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provide the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations (NA-50) plans, directs and oversees the maintenance, operation and modernization of infrastructure and facilities at eight NNSA sites. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, NA-50 plans, funds, directs and oversees many projects ranging in size and complexity each year.

In September 2015, NA-50 established a Program Management Improvement Team (PMIT) to enhance program, portfolio and project performance through the identification, development and sharing of best practices and to help ensure the achievement of cost-effective, timely, measurable and quality results in support of the NNSA mission. The PMIT is comprised of a small cadre of private industry program management experts who meet with NA-50 federal program managers quarterly to discuss and share successful leading-edge program management practices. This paper will describe the purpose, activities and results to date of the NNSA’s PMIT.


The NNSA enterprise consists of more than 6,000 facilities located at eight sites in seven states. The primary NNSA sites are:

  • Kansas City National Security Campus (Missouri)
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (California)
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory (New Mexico)
  • Nevada National Security Site (Nevada)
  • Pantex Plant (Texas)
  • Sandia National Laboratories (New Mexico)
  • Savannah River Site (South Carolina)
  • Y-12 National Security Complex(Tennessee)

The$12.9 billion FY 2017 President’s budget request for the NNSA represents an increase of $360 million, about 3 percent over the FY 2016 appropriations level. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, NA-50 is responsible for enabling safe operations, ensuring effective infrastructure and providing enterprise services to NNSA programs and national laboratories, plants and sites to meet the 21st Century needs of the NNSA Nuclear Security Enterprise now and in the future.


NA-50 plans, directs and oversees the maintenance, operation and modernization of infrastructure and facilities that comprise a complex enterprise. With over $50 billion in real property assets, 41,000 employees, 36 million square feet of buildings including 400 nuclear facilities and 2,000 miles of roads on 2,160 square miles of land, the scope of NNSA infrastructure is vast. This enormous effort requires the planning and execution of hundreds of projects within a smaller number of programs, all managed within portfolios of facilities. These facilities include production, fabrication, testing, and secure transportation and storage of nuclear/radioactive materials and equipment, plus very advanced laboratory, computing and communications facilities.

NNSA has the complex challenge of safely operating and modernizing the nuclear security enterprise, a challenge made more difficult as NNSA’s infrastructure is failing at an increasing frequency due to its age and condition. Half of NNSA’s facilities are over 40 years old, 30 percent date to the Manhattan Project era of 70 years ago, and 12 percent are excess to current needs. Nearly two-thirds of NNSA’s aging and brittle infrastructure is less than adequate to meet mission needs. Deferred maintenance is at an all-time high of $3.67 billion, posing an increasingly unacceptable risk to the safety of workers, the public and the environment. NNSA’s capability to achieve programmatic goals obviously depends upon safe and reliable infrastructure.


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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 3rd annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium in College Park, Maryland, USA in May 2016. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Authors

Wayne F. Abba

Abba Consulting
Virginia, 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]


Russell D. Archibald

Archibald Associates
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Now 92, with careers spanning more than 70 years, Russ Archibald has had broad international experiences in piloting and designing aircraft and corporate engineering, operations, program and project management. His three project management related careers have been Military/Aerospace (19 years), Corporate Engineer & Executive (17 years), and Management Consultant (33 years to date). Russ has consulted to a wide variety of large and small organizations in 16 countries and he has resided in the USA, France, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama Canal Zone, and Peru with Marion, his wife of 70 years. For the past 23 years they have resided in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Russ is founding member number 6 of the Project Management Institute/PMI, which today has 470,000 members in 205 countries and territories. He presented the first paper, Planning, Scheduling and Controlling the Efforts of Knowledge Workers, at the formation meeting of PMI in 1969, and was President of the PMI Southern California Chapter in 1991-2, founding member of the PMI Mexico City Chapter in 1996, and in 2006 was awarded the PMI Jim O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award. A PMI Fellow and Certified Project Management Professional, he co-authored with Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Debourse the 2011 PMI research report Project Managers as Senior Executives. He was also a founding member in 1970 and is an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Project Management (APM/IPMA-UK).

Russ is co-author with his grandson Shane Archibald of Leading and Managing Innovation-What Every Executive Team Must Know about Project, Program & Portfolio Management (2nd edition CRC Press 2015, 1st edition 2013 also published in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish); author of Managing High Technology Programs and Projects (3rd edition Wiley 2003, also published in Italian, Russian, and Chinese), and co-author of Network Based Management Information Systems (PERT/CPM) (Wiley 1967). He has contributed chapters to 15 books edited by others, and presented 88 papers at many PMI, IPMA and other conferences in many countries. He holds BS (U. of Missouri 1948) and MS (U. of Texas 1956) degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Russ was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in Strategy, Program, and Project Management from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Lille in Lille, France in 2005. See russarchibald.com. Russ can be contacted at [email protected]


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]


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 over 35 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: Executive Advisor for multi-billion $, multi-national Global Threat Reduction Initiative for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), US Department of Energy (DOE); 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 & first manager of project management systems for Superconducting Super Collider (green-field, 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 for DOE 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 [email protected] or [email protected]


Miles Shepherd

Miles Shepherd Projects Ltd
Salisbury, England, UK



Miles Shepherd
has more than 30 years’ experience in project and program management gained in Government and international environments in the fields of defense, information technology, nuclear engineering, transport, standards development and quality management. He has taken leadership roles in projects for the UK Government, British Armed Services, Taiwanese Armed Services and the European Commission. His expertise has been developed on a variety of programs including decommissioning of nuclear reactors in the UK and Eastern Europe. He has undertaken assignments in rail safety and business development projects, a collaborative project for the European Commission to strengthen Governmental accreditation capabilities in Eastern European countries, and the development of post graduate project management education in USA, UK, Taiwan, Greece and Romania.

He holds significant posts with the Association for Project Management (Vice President, and is a past Chairman) and the International Project Management Association (past Chairman of Council and Past President). He was awarded the President’s Medal by the Association for Project Management for his contribution to the global project management community, particularly raising capabilities in developing countries. Since 1990, Miles has been a speaker at international project management conferences and meetings in Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine United States of America and the United Kingdom.

He has extensive experience in the development of National and International Standards. Currently Chairman of the British Standards Institute Committee on Project Management, he is also Chair of the ISO Committee responsible for the development of project, program and portfolio management standards.

Miles was an Associate Lecturer and research supervisor for the Open University for 15 years and currently supports post graduate students at the University of Manchester and University College London. He has served as a Visiting Fellow at Bournemouth University, and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University College, London and is a teaching fellow at 5 other universities in UK and Europe. He is a Board Member for PMI’s Global Accreditation Center for academic programs. Mr. Shepherd is managing director for MS Projects, Ltd., providing executive PM consulting, quality management, auditing and academic development work; he is an ISO qualified Lead Auditor and acts as Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Business Development Institute International. Miles has a BS in Management Systems, Post Graduate Certificates in IT Strategy and Project Management as well as various government and industry certifications. Miles can be contacted at [email protected]


Zocher, PMP

Bay Forge, LLC
Bainbridge Island, WA, USA



Marc Zocher
is a Program Manager at Bay Forge, LLC where he provides program support for nuclear facility operations, serves as technical peer review team member for Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, and provides subject matter expertise for Environmental Restoration Programs and Facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Mr. Zocher has over 30 years of professional experience managing engineering, environmental, nuclear and IT projects. He has served as a ‘Q’-cleared scientist/manager supporting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at four national laboratories and two DOE/NNSA Headquarters assignments in Germantown, MD and Washington, DC. Mr. Zocher has 26 years’ experience in policy, procedure, conduct of operations, audits and assessments, some of which includes work and organizational breakdown structure development. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 1994. Mr. Zocher served as a Project Manager for the NNSA Office of Global Threat Reduction G2 IT Project, winner of the Project Management Institute’s Distinguished Project Award in 2010. Mr. Zocher has a B.S. in Geology, New Mexico State University (1984) and Graduated from the University of California, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Program, Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is currently a program management advisor for NNSA.

Mr. Zocher has over 1,000 classroom hours as an instructor in project management at three universities and for the Project Management Institutes PMP preparation course. He was a contributing author to Hazardous Waste Cost Control (Marcel Dekker, 1993) and was a founding member, NNSA Project Management Improvement Team. Previously, from 2007-2012 Mr. Zocher supported the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (NA-21) providing support as the lead developer of scope, schedule, and budgets for domestic and foreign partner reactor conversion projects, HEU removal projects and domestic protection NA-21 projects. He also was responsible for three revisions of the NA-21 GTRI Program Management Plan and the Strategic Plan and was Responsible for major project efforts including the development and deployment of the initial G2 software platform (> $2M) in use by NA-21 and the development of NA-21 Program Management Plan for this worldwide effort.

Mr. Zocher has also been President of Morphic Corporation where he was an executive manager for a $7 million, 20 employee engineering and project management services company working under contract to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to support the areas of policy development, remediation alternative engineering, business process modeling, nuclear cleanup and waste management, and environmental restoration. Marc can be contacted at [email protected]