SSTS POLICY SERIES
NUMBER: 4, Rev. 2
DATE OF ISSUE: March 1, 2004
The U.S. Program of Technical Assistance to IAEA Safeguards (POTAS) was established in 1977 to provide extrabudgetary support to the IAEA Department of Safeguards. Since 1977, POTAS has sponsored over 170 cost-free experts (CFEs).
CFEs are needed by the Agency to perform specific tasks for which the Agency lacks staff resources. The International Safeguards Project Office (ISPO) recruits these experts through laboratory coordinators at the national laboratories, through the ISPO Recruitment Program and through other, less formal mechanisms. In some cases, the IAEA has already identified a suitable individual by the time the CFE request is finalized.
CFEs take positions as employees of the IAEA and receive the same rights, responsibilities, and privileges as regular staff members. The only limitation is that CFEs may not act as safeguards inspectors (although they may participate in inspections as technical experts) and may not assume supervisory or managerial positions.
There are three categories of CFEs:
Type A: paid by the IAEA from extrabudgetary contributions from a member state
Type B: paid directly by a member state or an organization within a member state.
Type C: paid by shared
arrangement between the IAEA and a member state.
The USSP typically sponsors Type A CFEs.
CFEs are provided by the U.S. Support Program in order to:
Meet specific short-term needs that cannot be met by Agency staff
Provide technical expertise in specialized subjects
Increase the technical capabilities of Agency staff, or, in some cases,
Provide staff resources to help the Agency cope with budget constraints.
Requests from the IAEA for CFEs should be issued in the form of an SP-1 task request. To the extent possible, the Agency should prioritize its CFE requests each year. The request should include a clear description of the activities and responsibilities that the CFE will be expected to undertake. The requests are then forwarded to the Subgroup on Safeguards Technical Support (SSTS) for its evaluation and decision whether to approve.
b. Length of Service
Approved CFEs are typically appointed for an initial assignment of two years. If justified, assignments can be extended one or two years at a time, but in general, it can be expected that SSTS approval of additional extensions becomes much less likely with time.
The International Safeguards Project Office (ISPO) is responsible for recruiting for CFE positions. ISPO sends the SP-1 task request to the laboratory coordinators and other contacts with a request for nominations. The positions are also advertised on the ISPO recruitment web page and other forae. The members of the SSTS should assist ISPO in identifying suitable candidates from U.S. government organizations.
d. Number of CFEs supported by the USSP
From 1977 to 1995, the number of CFEs supported under the USSP at any one time increased to a maximum of 28. In 1995, due to uncertainties in the future of POTAS funding, a deliberate effort was made to reduce the number of CFEs. The SSTS recognized that support of CFE positions represents a multi-year commitment of funding and wanted to limit the percentage of funding committed to CFEs in the event of a significant reduction in funding.
The SSTS believes that maintaining the number of CFEs in the range of 12 to 15 preserves sufficient funding for other tasks while providing sufficient human resources support to the IAEA. As POTAS funding, or the dollar to Euro exchange rate changes, this number will be reevaluated.
e. Subject Areas
The USSP prefers to support CFEs in technical and professional subject areas directly related to strengthening safeguards, including areas such as instrumentation support, safeguards analysis, software development and computer programming, information collection evaluation, and training. The SSTS discourages requests in administrative areas such as documentation and management. The SSTS considers the Agency responsible for providing staff to perform these functions, especially when the Agency needs support on a long-term basis.
In addition, the SSTS prefers to provide CFEs to work on new initiatives in subject areas where the Agency has not yet built an in-house competency or on short-term specialized projects.
Extensions to CFE contracts will be requested through an SP-1 request. The SP-1 request should include a statement of work for the period of the extension.
Requests for extension should be provided to the U.S. at least eight months before expiration of the contract so that the SSTS can provide approval or rejection at least six months before expiration of the contract. If a request for extension is not received at least six months before expiration of the contract, the USSP will assume that the IAEA does not wish to extend the CFE. The ISPO Liaison Officer will confirm the intent to extend with the task officer.
g. Work Plans
At the beginning of each CFE assignment, the task officer is required to develop a work plan that identifies the tasks to be performed by the CFE during the assignment. The agreed work plan should be provided to the ISPO Liaison Officer.
h. Quarterly Reports
CFE Quarterly Reports are necessary for the USSP to track
the status of CFE tasks. Quarterly
reports are to be provided by the IAEA's Support Program Office to ISPO on or
about March 15, June 15, September 15, and December 15 to support the
preparation of ISPO's Capsule Summary of Active Tasks.
i. Performance Evaluations
The IAEA should conduct performance evaluations for CFEs using criteria that are the same as those used for IAEA regular staff. This will help the CFE by providing a record of his or her performance whileemployed at the IAEA.
j. Tax Considerations
The IAEA attempts to lessen the burden of making tax payments by advancing money to CFEs for payment of U.S. income tax. It is the responsibility of the CFE to provide copies of their income tax returns to the IAEA so that the IAEA can verify that the tax advances did not exceed the CFE's tax liability. In cases where the advance does exceed the tax liability the CFE must return the excess amount to the IAEA.
k. Pension Options
CFE pension options are the subject of SSTS Policy Statement
#8, Pension Option for U.S. Cost-Free Experts.