Detailed Information on the
US Geological Survey - Mineral Resource Assessments Assessment

Program Code 10001084
Program Title US Geological Survey - Mineral Resource Assessments
Department Name Department of the Interior
Agency/Bureau Name United States Geological Survey
Program Type(s) Research and Development Program
Assessment Year 2003
Assessment Rating Moderately Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 90%
Program Management 88%
Program Results/Accountability 67%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $52
FY2008 $51
FY2009 $26

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Evaluate utilization of electronic forms for collection of mineral production and consumption data.

Action taken, but not completed Mineral Resource Program staff have collated current information on utilization of electronic forms and are developing strategies for improving user familiarity with these forms, as a means of increasing utilization rates. On target for completion of follow-up action and associated milestones.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Refine performance measures drafted during the PART process and develop a five year program plan that is consistent with these measures.

Completed Performance measures reviewed with OMB after PART review and revised as recommended; National Research Council review of MRP completed; workforce planning completed February 2005; writing team completed work on new five-year plan spring 2005; internal review completed July 2005; sent to 18 external reviewers July 30, 2005. Submitted final 5 Year plan to AD's, GIO officer, Chief/APS for approval and then to Director on 10/17/05.

Target program funds on activities that support long term land use and economic policy decisions and improve accessibility and application of MRP information.

Completed Funds focused on long-term land use & economic policy decision priorities.Accessibility & application have been improved.MRP holds bi-annual meetings with BLM & annual meetings for land-use planning.MRP data access web sites have been completely revised to improve ease of use.Conversion of minerals information canvass forms to electronic formats and coverage of US with basic mineral information (geochemical, geophysical, mineral deposit, and lithologic data) both completed 9/30/07.

Focusing program activities to support long term land use and policy decisions.

Completed Support BLM in meeting requirements for new resource management plans (RMPs) in Alaska by providing geologic, geochemical, geophysical, and mineral deposit data, along with appropriate mineral resource assessment data. Preliminary report provided to BLM 11/05 and incorporated by BLM into draft a ??Mineral Occurrence and Development Potential Report??. Final USGS report provided to BLM before 9/15/06.

Making reports and data more accessible and user-friendly.

Completed New MRP web pages designed, tested, and implemented by cost centers funded by MRP.

Implement new web templates throughout MRP-supported field centers

Completed Use of standardized web templates will improve user's ability to locate MRP data on the web, increasing ease of use. MRP-funded cost centers across the US have implemented these new templates to facilitate public access to MRP data and reports by decision makers, scientists, and the public.

Provide analyses required to meet Federal land and minerals management needs in Alaska.

Completed MRP scientists and managers in Alaska meet regularly with land management counterparts (primarily BLM) to identify the areas in which USGS data can most enhance land planning. In FY 2007, at the request of BLM, USGS analyzed likely effects of proposed lifting of restriction to mineral entry on Federal lands in Alaska. Formal report submitted to BLM includes maps and text describing effects on Federal lands across the State.

Target program funds to support long term land use in Alaska and policy concerning critical materials.

Completed Stakeholder meetings were held in Alaska and Salt Lake City to identify priority frontier lands in Alaska and to seek advice on highest priority critical minerals. The findings of those meetings were synthesized to develop research strategies for providing essential data and information in these two areas. Both reports were delivered on time.

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of targeted science products that are used by partners or customers for land or resource management decision making

Explanation:Objective is to ensure that analyses and investigations delivered are actually used by their intended recipients within a short time of delivery, ensuring both relevance and timeliness.

Year Target Actual
2004 80% 80%
2005 80% 87%
2006 > 80% 93%
2007 > 80% 97%
2008 > 80%
2009 > 80%
2010 > 80%
2011 > 80%
2012 > 80%
Annual Output

Measure: Number of completed systematic analyses and investigations delivered to customers

Explanation:Systematic analyses are defined as significant bodies of knowledge, typically resulting from a multi-year research or assessment activity that improves the understanding of mineral resources.

Year Target Actual
2002 4 5
2003 4 4
2004 5 5
2005 3 3
2006 6 6
2007 6 6
2008 3
2009 1
2010 1
2011 2
2012 2
Annual Output

Measure: Number of formal workshops or training provided to customers

Explanation:Workshops are held a formal meetings, professional society meetings, and at the request of partners or customers.

Year Target Actual
2001 - 4
2002 - 8
2003 8 9
2004 8 8
2005 5 8
2006 8 8
2007 7 7
2008 6
2009 2
2010 2
2011 2
2012 2
Annual Outcome

Measure: % of studies validated through appropriate peer review and independent review

Explanation:This measure is applied to all USGS programs to ensure maintenance of standards and credibility consistent with broadly accepted research standards

Year Target Actual
2002 100% 100%
2003 100% 100%
2004 100% 100%
2005 100% 100%
2006 100% 100%
2007 100% 100%
2008 100%
2009 100%
2010 100%
2011 100%
2012 100%
Annual Output

Measure: Average square miles of the US with non-energy mineral information available to support management decisions

Explanation:This measures the coverage of the US with basic information required to understand mineral resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 - 2,368,794
2004 2,535,644 2,401,329
2005 2,587,318 3,097,647
2006 3,332,038 3,318,068
2007 3,346,737 3,346,000
2008 3,346,000
2009 3,346,000
2010 3,346,000
2011 3,346,000
2012 3,346,000
Long-term Efficiency

Measure: Average cost of a systematic analysis or investigation

Explanation:Average cost per analysis allows comparisons among different projects to determine how efficiencies can be achieved.

Year Target Actual
2003 baseline $4.13M
2004 $4.13M $4.31M
2005 $4.13M $4.18M
2006 $4.40M $4.3M
2007 $3.8M $3.7M
2008 $4.9M
2009 $17M
2010 $8.9M
2011 $12.6M
2012 $7M

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The mission of the Mineral Resources Program (MRP) is clear. MRP is the sole federal provider of scientific informtion, objective resources assessments, and unbiased research results on mineral potential, production, consumption and environmental effects.

Evidence: The USGS Organic Act (43 U.S.C. 31 et seq.) includes instructions that the USGS is to "classify the public lands and examine the geological structure, mineral resources, and products within and outside the national domain." (see attachment for additional legislative mandates). MRP 5 year plan

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The US is the world's largest user of mineral commodities, and in 2002 US manufacturers and other mineral users depended on other countries for 100% of 14 commodities and for more than 50% of 37 commodities. Making decisions about supply and development of mineral depends on having current and reliable information on mineral resoures and implications of their development. MRP reports on mineral commodities to inform macroeconomic policy, and provides research and assessments to support mangement of minerals on federal lands. Regional, national, and global mineral assessments provide broader context for long-term land use and economic policy planning, rather than from one company's or one county's perspective.

Evidence: The 1996 National Research Council (NAS) review of the MRP 5 year plan identified (Mineral Resources and Society, p. 2, p. 16-22, p. 23). Three functions that are considered appropriate: supply unbiased information related to mineral resources, provide advice and analysis to other government agencies, and conduct basic research on mineral resources. NRC, Future Roles and Opportunities, p. 40

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The MRP is the only federal, state, local, or private entity whose purpose is to provide objective resource information concerning mineral commodities for the nation. The framework data and process understandings provided by MRP are used by land managers and industry to identify and address site-specific mineral resource and mineral environmental issues and challenges ranging from determining the feasibility of new mine development to remediation of long-abandoned mine sites.

Evidence: The 1996 NAS review of the MRP stated "...there do not appear to be other federal agencies that duplicate MRSP activities. On the contrary, with the demise of the US Bureau of Mines, the MRSP stands as the only federal program with clear responsibilities in hard mineral resources. MRP's activities do not duplicate those of State geological surveys.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: MRP is designed to conduct three functions necessary to carry out its mission: research, assessments, and minerals information. MRP employs an expert federal workforce with extensive experience in mineral deposits research, mineral resource assessment, geochemical and geophysical research, and information technologies, and leverages this expertise with others. World-class laboratories are operated at regional USGS centers where costs are shared with other programs, and the program has a small headquarters staff in Reston, VA, where interaction with other USGS programs and other federal agencies is facilitated.

Evidence: The MRP is designed around a 5 year plan which is reviewed periodically by the NAS, and implemented through the USGS annual science plan. The program was modified significantly in response to the 1996 review (see evidence for question 2.8 for responses to the review.) MRP scientists are distributed nationally, fostering local and regional expertise on mineral-related issues, as well as contact with academic institutions and partner agencies and companies. MRP continues to refine its program design by actions such as outsourcing routine work whenever possible.

YES 20%

Is the program effectively targeted, so program resources reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: MRP targets beneficiaries for mineral commodities reports, and activities in support of federal land management. MRP supports DOI's resource use goal for non-energy minerals, providing decision-specific information on mineral availability and related environmental issues to Federal land managers, regulators, and other users worldwide. Information is also disseminated to all users at the same time. Recent advances in data-serving tools have increased availability of both data and reports. However, the difficulty of applying geospatial mineral information excludes decision makers with less technical sophistication.

Evidence: Minerals program 5 year plan and list of cooperators. Statistics concerning data downloads and letters of support from both state geological surveys and the private sector.

YES 20%

Does the program effectively articulate potential public benefits?



NA  %

If an industry-related problem, can the program explain how the market fails to motivate private investment?



NA  %
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The program has developed a long term measures that is better focused on outcomes. USGS should develop additional outcome measures. The current measures largely focus on outputs and process (citation of USGS documents for policy use). However, the goals in the current 5 year plan are not specific enough to evaluate performance and need to be refined.

Evidence: DOI Strategic Plan for 2004 Outcome measures for MRP in this plan are as follows: 80% of U.S. with geochemical and lithologic data coverage, 80% customers satisfied with timeliness of data, 80% of customers for which minerals data meets their needs, and 100% of formal USGS publications and scientific products receiving appropriate peer review. "Science Strategy for the Geologic Division of the USGS, 2000-2010" includes the goal "Advance the understanding of the Nation's energy and mineral resources in a global geologic, economic, and environmental context." The five goals outlined in the MRP 5-year plan for 1999 to 2004 (see 1.1 and 2.2) are the basis for achievement of these outcome measures.

YES 10%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: It is difficult to detemine whether targets in GRPA documents and 5 year plans are ambitious for the following reasons: Program goals and the narrative for 5 year plans are too broad to be considered measures, they do not include time frames or specific products. Annual project work plans contain more detail and time frames, but are not clearly linked to achieving goals in the 5 year plan. New performance measures were developed in the PART process, with more ambitious targets.

Evidence: The MRP 5-year plan lists five goals. Project work plans refer to 5 year plan goals; all projects have established time frames for completion in project work plans.

YES 10%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term measures?

Explanation: Annual performance measures are identified in GPRA and in the DOI Strategic Plan (draft). Each annual measure achieved provides evidence of progress towards long-term goals. Due to insufficient targets for long term goals, it is difficult to determine whether adequate progress was achieved.

Evidence: USGS GPRA Reports and DOI Strategic Plan (draft)

YES 10%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets and timeframes for its annual measures?

Explanation: The annual measures appear to be ambitious and have baselines. However, it is not clear how annual measures will contribute to increased efficiencies or long term goals. Baselines and targets for MRP projects are listed in Geology's Annual Science Plan, and annual project proposals and work plans.

Evidence: Baselines and targets include projections of planned enhancements to MRP's five major databases, projected delivery dates for scientific assessments and research products, dates and topics for stakeholder meetings, trainings, and workshops, and projected enhancements for decision-making support systems. MRP reviews projects annually, in collaboration with Team managers, to track progress of work and ensure that targets are ambitious, but reachable. Each target is associated with a specific project. Team managers conduct performance reviews with each scientist every six months to ensure appropriate progress towards products expected from funded research.

YES 10%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, etc.) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: CRADAs and MOUs supplied provide information about the cost, scope, and deliverables. The agreements are related to the goals stated in 5 year plans. But as the goals are broad it is difficult to determine impact of partnerships activities on MRP performance.

Evidence: In order to achieve specific annual or multi-year tasks, MRP establishes Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, project implementation plans associated with Memoranda of Understanding, and/or contracts with public or private sector organizations who have access to the required information or technology and who can perform the required research or analysis. Activities undertaken by them with MRP funds are limited to work that explicitly supports MRP project and program goals. Technical guidance and supervision, as appropriate, are provided as a part of partnership or contractual agreements. Examples of the official documents by which these agreements are made are attached. Each shows the relation between the outlined work and MRP's goals.

YES 10%

Are independent and quality evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: USGS uses independent committees of the National Academy's National Research Council to conduct reviews of the MRP. In addition to this formal process, MRP managers utilize mid-term project reviews and periodic discussions with users, collaborators, and stakeholders as feedback on the direction and significance of MRP project work.

Evidence: NRC reviews are conducted on a 5-7 year cycle. The last was in 1996; the current review is scheduled to be completed in August 2003. Information on status of the current review is available on the NAS website at www.nas.edu/. Regular meetings with public- and private-sector customers (annual, quarterly, or as needed) are another source of information on relevance and significance of MRP work to those groups.

YES 10%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: Program budgets are not clearly tied to long term performance goals. The items listed in the GPRA table are not clearly tied to descriptions of actual acitvities within the text of the budget justifications. Further outcome oriented and measurable long term performance measures did not exist, and accordingly could not be tied to the budget.

Evidence: Minerals Program 5 year plan, Project Work Plans, Congressional Justifications.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: MRP has taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies. The NRC review completed in 1996 included one recommendation specifically addressing strategic planning. MRP has developed new vision, mission, and goals. The 5 year plan strategic goals are still broad and not clearly linked to societal outcomes. Further, long term goals need to be outcome oriented and need specific time frames to provide context for assessing performance reported at the project level.

Evidence: The NRC recommendation said: "The MRSP and its Plan should place greater emphasis on improving the mechanisms and procedures for comprehensive planning, setting priorities, and evaluating and enhancing performance, particularly through external reviews or advisory panels." (Mineral Resources and Society, p. 55.) Continued refinement of the strategic planning processes are demonstrated in MRP's leadership in USGS-wide and Geology-specific strategic planning. The Full Report of MRP responses to NRC recommendations provides sumary of MRP actions in response to NRC recommendations for strategic planning.

YES 10%

If applicable, does the program assess and compare the potential benefits of efforts within the program to other efforts that have similar goals?

Explanation: Many other organizations collect information on mineral resources but few make the information publicly accessible. Though a formal cost/benefit has not been performed for MRP, cost benefit studies of other programs with open access to information policies suggest making information publicly availabe increases benefits to society. 27 state geological surveys conduct mineral-resource related research or compile data on mineral production for their states. Of those who compile data, nine use USGS data for some or all of their reports. Only two state geological surveys report attempts to conduct mineral assessments for their states. Neither has published the results.

Evidence: Evolution of research in mineral-resource assessment provides an example of the results of continuing evaluation of the ways MRP provides information for the Nation. MRP management determined that a more efficient approach to mineral resource assessment was required in order to provide information required by Federal land management agencies. The 1996 NRC review agreed with this view. As documented in the report on mineral resource assessment supplied with question 3.1, MRP dramatically changed its approach from site-specific (e.g. small areas proposed for wilderness status) to regional, national, and global scales. This made possible the first ever National mineral resource assessment, and is the basis for work on the first ever global assessment. MRP participates in forums on minerals topics (e.g. Sustainable Minerals Roundtable (see attached), Acid Drainage Technology Interest Group) to identify partners with expertise that complements program goals, build partnerships based on shared strengths, and participate in joint planning toward group goals that complement MRP goals.

YES 10%

Does the program use a prioritization process to guide budget requests and funding decisions?

Explanation: MRP has a process for reviewing programs and priorities. One priority in the 5 year plan was to improve the content and delivery of MRP data sets. The priority is reflected in increased funding for data management and distribution.

Evidence: The following priorities are stated in the MRP 5 year plan, 1. major improvements to both the content and delivery of MRP's largest data sets and 2. research on the processes through which mineral deposits form and are destroyed. MRP planning process: MRP uses annual and long-term prioritization processes as described in 2.1 - 2.7 and Section 3. Funding is directed to achieve program priorities through long-term and annual planning, through annual project and task-level prioritization involving partners and customer input, and through annual and quarterly tracking and reporting on project and program level performance.

YES 10%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 90%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: DOI, USGS, and its Programs regularly collect performance information through customer and partner reviews and surveys. Feedback is incorporated into program plans and specific actions are taken in response.The DOI and Bureau Strategic Plans include partner and customer reviewed long term goals, annual performance measures, and GPRA measures. Progress on GPRA is verified quarterly and reported and updated annually.

Evidence: MRP documents: NAS reports related to MRP, report of FY03 listening session, sample MRP customer survey, documents demonstrating changes in mineral resource assessments. General: USGS Strategic Plan showing long term goals, measures, and annual GPRA targets (p 9-15). GPRA memo for FY02, GPRA reports for 03 and quarterly verification. USGS Planning Model showing performance requirements in 5-year plans (p.9) and performance information in BASIS+ system (p.12-13).

YES 12%

Are Federal managers and program partners (grantees, subgrantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, etc.) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: USGS holds senior management and program partners accountable for performance through performance evaluation, management process controls, and performance guidance provided in agreements, contracts, and grants. Grant programs have specific performance guidance and include rigorous review panels and budgetary penalties for non performance. Cooperative agreements with states and universities include specific requirements, products, and time schedules with payment penalties for non performance. Contracts for services are competed and contain specific quality and performance requirements and time schedules for services.

Evidence: MRP's utilization of a contract for geochemical analyses by XRAL demonstrates through-going accountability. As is shown in evidence for 1.4, use of this contract has reduced MRP's cost per analysis by almost 50%. In addition, the contract (attached) specifies (in part IV, p. 21 et seq.) timeliness, reporting, and quality control/quality assurance requirements. The 30-day period for completion of analysis ensures that MRP can provide geochemical data and analyses in accordance with its established goals for project work. In another example, MRP's cooperative research and development agreement with DuPont. Documents: SES Performance Plan Guidance and Trujillo Memo, Bureau Program Planning Process responsibilities list. MRP-specific documents: XRAL contract, cooperative research and development agreements (specifically the CRADA with DuPont).

YES 12%

Are all funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: The USGS has an established budget, allocation, and spending process that includes annual planning, quarterly and monthly reviews, and review of any funds allocation change over 25K. It has implemented management controls and measures to ensure dollars are allocated and obligated in a timely manner and spent for intended purposes. Budget planning to object class is done in the BASIS+ system, which ties budget to intended use. Projects and their budgets are reviewed monthly by line managers and annually by Programs. The Bureau conducts quarterly review of status of funds against performance measures.

Evidence: Documents: Diagram of USGS Budgeting and Finance. FY02 Geology Annual Science Plan showing project science and funding targets used for budgeting. FY02 Allocation Process Memo showing appropriation actions and allocation requirements. FY02 allocation tables made by Programs and administrative office giving allocations to cost centers, projects, and accounts. Summary of Program quarterly obligations for FY02 showing consistant spending of all appropriations for intended program. Final spending report for all Programs FY02. Instructional Memos APS-2003-11-13 showing the monthly management control requirements..

YES 12%

Does the program have procedures (e.g., competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, approporaite incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The Bureau is engaged in competitive sourcing for Visual Information Services, Building and Ground Maintenance, and Warehousing. Geology mission critical information systems have submitted Capitol Asset Plans (Exhibit 300) to DOI and are in the certification and accreditation process. In 2003, all Geology programs are developing Activity Based Costing for 2004 implementation. Since 1996, Geology Programs have been a leader in conducting competitive project proposal and review processes and project based costing using a prototype of the BASIS+system now in use across the Bureau.

Evidence: Since the beginning of the current five-year plan (FY 1999), MRP has used contractor-provided services to migrate its geochemistry, geophysics, and mineral deposits databases to SQL-based data structures in order to minimize the in-house expertise required to maintain those structures and to maximize the opportunity for data interoperability. Similarly, when cost comparisons demonstrated that routine geochemical analyses could be obtained on contract (rather than with a Federal workforce), MRP implemented the required contract, lowering the cost by almost 50% (see questions 1.4 and 3.2 for more information.) Documents: April 2002 Memo from USGS Director announcing competitive sourcing, June 2003 update on competitive sourcing.

YES 12%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: MRP actively collaborates with a significant number of agency, state, and local partners, industry, and academia towards the achievement of common or complimentary goals. Major partners are identified in the Geology Strat Plan and MRP 5-year plan and include but are not limited to DOI bureaus and other Federal land management agencies, NASA, EPA, DOD, and DOC as well as State Geological Surveys, state departments of natural resources, local resource and planning agencies, and academic, governmental, and industry consortia. USGS establishes roles and responsibilities with partners through cooperative agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, or Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA).

Evidence: Upcoming project to assess mineral resources on Federal lands in central Colorado, partners will include USGS's National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (particular skills in mapping at the scales required by Forest Service), Colorado Geological Survey (expertise in evaluating physical hazards at abandoned mine sites in Colorado), and Forest Service (expertise in planning requirements and information on land use and land status). Other MRP projects collaborate with USGS Programs (e.g., Volcano Hazards, Toxic Substances Hydrology) or with State geological surveys (e.g., Colorado in the recently completed Front Range Infrastructure Resources Project or 46 States in the collection and dissemination of minerals information.) In the case of Pennsylvania (attached), the State provides site-specific information.

YES 12%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The 2002 Audit findings of the Inspector General's Office conducted by KPMG contained a "no opinion" result and cited 8 reportable conditions in their report dated January 24, 2003. The 2002 Audit findings of the Inspector Generals Office conducted by KPMG contained a "no opinion" result and cited 8 reportable conditions in their report dated January 24, 2003. USGS submitted a Corrective Action Plan that has been accepted by the Inspector Generals office, In his cover memo, the Asst. Inspectors General for Audits stated: "Based on the response and corrective action plan, all the recommendations are considered resolved but not implemented." Monthly meetings and reports on progress are being provided to DOI and thus far, many tasks are completed and all others are in progress. In the USGS matrix organization, line management and administration is responsible for financial, facilities, and personnel management. USGS Program Coordinators are responsible for scientific planning and coordination, budget formulation, and establishing and reviewing performance.Due the extent of financial management problems cited in the audit and the inability of the auditor to render an opinion, it is difficult to separate the program from financial management problems.

Evidence: Documents: April 11 Auditors Report 2003, Corrective Action Plan, and cover memo from Asst. Inspector General for Audits Roger LaRoche.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The USGS is taking the necessary steps to resolve management deficiencies. The USGS has aggressively addressed IT control weaknesses. Management control performance measures have been incorporated into all SES Performance Evaluations. An expert team has been formed and operating for the last 6 months to address audit issues and ensure completion of the Audit Corrective Action Plan. Extensive training is underway to address reported conditions and strengthen management practices. Administrative Instructional Memoranda outline in detail all financial processes and requirements. All Geology Programs use an annual review process and the BASIS+ system to review all program work and correct deficiencies. This is described in detail in 3.4 and 3.RD1. The NRC and FACA advisory panels conduct periodic reviews that make recommendations regarding program management, performance, and scientific direction.

Evidence: In its 1996 review of MRP, the NRC provided four general and 16 specific recommendations, all of which required management action. MRP has responded to all of them by changing management practices, by moving away from an organizational culture dominated by self-direction and independent research, by instituting stricter controls on project planning, execution, and reporting, by developing more efficient approaches to performing mineral resource assessments, and by developing significant relationships with a wide variety of customers and collaborators. A full report of these actions is included with evidence in 2.8. Documents: Corrective Action Plan Progress Report for April 2003 submitted to the DOI and showing progress or completion of all actions. Memorandum from Hord Tipton providing improved results of March and April testing of DOI WAN's. Instructional Memoranda from 3.3.

YES 12%

Does the program allocate funds through a competitive, merit-based process, or, if not, does it justify funding methods and document how quality is maintained?

Explanation: Since 1996, Geology Programs have conducted division-wide competitive project proposal process using a prototype of the BASIS+ system now in use across the Bureau. Geology issues an annual call for project proposals called the Geology Annual Science Plan (formerly know as the Geology Prospectus) which contains scientific and funding guidance for all projects. The annual plan uses the Geology Science Strategy and Program five year plans for its organizing framework. Scientists are required to submit annual project proposals into the BASIS+ system for program review. Reviews are conducted by scientific peers and include external scientific or stakeholder review. Earmarked funds are not excluded from review.

Evidence: In response to the 1996 NRC review, MRP instituted a practice of convening project review panels of internal and external scientists. This practice is required in Obj. D of the MRP 5-year plan (see 1.1). Another approach to increasing external input into MRP is through conducting stakeholder workshops before a project begins. In FY 2003, MRP conducted two workshops of this type to determine are the highest priorities for new work in Alaska. Results of those workshops have shaped the request for new project that appears in the FY 2004 prospectus. Documents: Overview diagram of Geology Planning Process demonstrating management and review process. See 3.1 and 3.3 on planning and allocation processes.

YES 12%

Does competition encourage the participation of new/first-time performers through a fair and open application process?



NA  %

Does the program adequately define appropriate termination points and other decision points?



NA  %

If the program includes technology development or construction or operation of a facility, does the program clearly define deliverables and required capability/performance characteristics and appropriate, credible cost and schedule goals?



NA  %
Section 3 - Program Management Score 88%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term outcome performance goals?

Explanation: Every year, MRP completes project work that addresses long-term goals. Completions reported to the right are each evidence of progress toward one of the five goals laid out in the MRP 5-year plan. While progress was demonstrated, adequate progress could not be determined as long term goals were not clearly linked to specific products, timelines in 5 year plans, or budget justitification materials.

Evidence: MRP 5 year Plan, Project work plan Completions, FY 2000-2002.


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: see also 2.4, 2.5. Baselines and targets for MRP projects are listed in annual science plans (the Geology Prospectus), annual project work plans and proposals, and in documentation of base and initiative budgets. A modest amount of the work is conducted by contractors or other cooperators in the accomplishments of these annual goals; the work of these partners is included within accomplishments identified in GPRA.

Evidence: Annual priorites are established within the context of long-term goals (e.g., MRP 5-Year plan, Geology Science Strategy, DOI Strategic Plan) and performance is achieved through management review, approval and funding of both internal USGS projects and external cooperative grants. Project funding for all projects, including support of cooperative agreements, is adjusted annually on the basis of performance, programmatic priorities, and resource availability. In the FY 2002 GPRA performance report, MRP met all targets. For FY 2003, MRP has met all targets identified for the first and second quarters.

YES 20%

Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program performance goals each year?

Explanation: MRP adopts new technologies that increase efficiencies. (See also section 3.4) In addition, program and project staff monitor the effectiveness of long-term efforts on a periodic basis, to ensure that the work remains appropriate and that the cost-benefits can be demonstrated. While savings have occured, there is no regularly collected data which facilitate cost effectiveness determineations over years, or permit comparisons across programs.

Evidence: Examples (all from the last 3 years): stable isotope analysis has seen a 10-fold increase in productivity (= cost savings) due to development of automated sample handling equipment; gravity data acquisition has seen a factor of 2 decrease in expense due to the replacement of traditional surveying methods by global positioning satellite (GPS) techniques; magnetic survey processing and interpretation has seen a factor of 2-10 decrease in expense due to the use of GPS and the investment in new software; research trace element chemistry has seen a 10 fold increase in productivity (= cost savings) due to the replacement of single-element instruments (e.g., mass spectrometers) with multi-element, multi-tasking instruments (e.g. inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometers). See section 1.4 and 3.2 for information on outsourcing saved almost 50% on the cost of geochemical analyses.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., that have similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: MRP has two key groups of functions: research and assessment and minerals information. As described in question 1.3, there are no government or private programs with purpose and goals similar in breadth and depth to MRP. Comparisons of specific functions within MRP to other programs are somewhat instructive, although this comparison by components does not allow discussion of the benefits gained by having the two groups of functions together. In one such comparison, MRP compares favorably with DOE's Energy Information Agency (EIA). NRC reviews suggest that USGS compares favorably to other programs with similar goals.

Evidence: MRP compares its Minerals Information function with that conducted by DOE's Energy Information Agency (EIA). The functions are similar in that both produce independent information about non-renewable resources for policy and other uses. Both produce data on production and consumption domestically and worldwide. They are different in that MRP provides information on over 80 metallic and industrial mineral commodities, whereas EIA provides information on five energy sources (petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables/alternates.) EIA's budget for FY 2003 is $80 million and supports 374 people; the information function of MRP is budgeted at $16.4 million and is conducted by 140 FTE. MRP compares favorably for response rate to surveys issues and the amoung of data collected to support statistical reporting. NRC summary report (Mineral Resources and Society, 1996, p. 23-24)


Do independent and quality evaluations of this program indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: Independent NRC/NAS review of the program found it to be effective and achieving results. Though the last NRC report noted that the program had strategic planning difficulties including too broad a vision, mission, and objectives. These factors are critical in determining effectiveness, if they are not clear it would be difficult to determine effectiveness.

Evidence: The NRC summary report (Mineral Resources and Society, 1996, p. 23-24) indicates that MRP made many scientific contributions, including "characterization of major deposits in the U.S. and overseas, and understanding of ore-forming processes"; "excellent descriptions of ore deposits that proved useful for environmental mitigation and remediation of abandoned mine lands as well as for mineral exploration"; and "mineral resource assessments and mineral-environmental assessments... [that] contributed to land use decisions by the USFS and the BLM". The report also stated that the program needed new, clearly articulated statements of vision, mission, and objectives.


If the program includes construction of a facility, were program goals achieved within budgeted costs and established schedules?



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Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 67%

Last updated: 09062008.2003SPR