OF THE NNSA LABORATORIES
TO MEET 21ST CENTURY
Committee on Assessment of the Governance Structure of the NNSA
National Security Laboratories
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Laboratory Assessments Board
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DEPI0000010). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-32337-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-32337-1
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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COMMITTEE ON ASSESSMENT OF THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF THE NNSA NATIONAL SECURITY LABORATORIES
RICHARD A. MESERVE, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, D.C., Chair
EVERETT H. BECKNER, Independent Consultant, Santa Fe, New Mexico
ARDEN L. BEMENT, JR., Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
KENNETH BRILL, Independent Consultant, Bethesda, Maryland
T. MARK HARRISON, University of California, Los Angeles
ROBERT W. KUCKUCK, Independent Consultant, Danville, California
WARREN F. MILLER, JR., Texas A&M University System, College Station
ALEXANDRA NAVROTSKY,1 University of California, Davis
DAVID OVERSKEI, Decision Factors, Inc., San Diego, California
CHARLES S. PRZYBYLEK, Independent Consultant, Alexandria, Virginia
BURTON RICHTER, Stanford University, Stanford, California
ROBERT SELDEN, Independent Consultant, Los Alamos, New Mexico
JOHN C. SOMMERER, Independent Consultant, Laurel, Maryland
JAMES M. TIEN, University of Miami, Florida
JOAN B. WOODARD, Independent Consultant, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
BETH DOLAN, Financial Manager
GREG EYRING, Senior Program Officer
LIZA HAMILTON, Administrative Coordinator
EVA LABRE, Program Associate
JAMES P. McGEE, Director
ARUL MOZHI, Senior Program Officer
RICHARD ROWBERG, Deputy Director, Division of Engineering and Physical Sciences
RADHIKA CHARI, Administrative Coordinator, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (March and April 2008)
ERIC WHITAKER, Senior Program Assistant, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (April 2008 to present)
1 Dr. Navrotsky resigned from the committee for personal reasons.
LABORATORY ASSESSMENTS BOARD
JOHN W. LYONS, National Defense University, Chair
ROSS B. COROTIS, University of Colorado, Boulder
PAUL A. FLEURY, Yale University
C. WILLIAM GEAR, Princeton University
WESLEY L. HARRIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JENNIE S. HWANG, H-Technologies Group
W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado, Boulder
C. KUMAR N. PATEL, Pranalytica, Inc.
ELSA REICHMANIS, Georgia Institute of Technology
LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, University of Maryland
LIZA HAMILTON, Associate Program Officer
EVA LABRE, Administrative Coordinator
JAMES P. McGEE, Director
ARUL MOZHI, Senior Program Officer
ANDREA SHELTON, Administrative Assistant
In the fiscal year (FY) 2013 National Defense Authorization Act,1 Congress directed the Administrator of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to “commission an independent assessment regarding the transition of the NNSA laboratories to multiagency, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) with direct sustainment and sponsorship by multiple national security agencies.” The NNSA laboratories are Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The full statement of task is discussed in Chapter 1.
The Administrator commissioned the National Academies to take on this study. In response, the National Research Council (NRC) formed the Committee on Assessment of the Governance Structure of the NNSA National Security Laboratories (for the backgrounds of committee members, see Appendix A), which began work in March 2014. The committee had the benefit of presentations from a number of individuals with knowledge and experience related to its task; the agendas of the committee’s public meeting sessions are listed in Appendix B.
The committee approached its task with considerable humility, recognizing that there have been a number of blue-ribbon panels and commissions in recent years that have commented on aspects of the governance of the NNSA laboratories (see Appendixes C and E for a partial list). These
1 Public Law 112-239, § 3148 (2013).
earlier efforts share two common characteristics: (1) they found that the governance model for the NNSA laboratories needs to change to reflect new realities; and (2) despite these consistent findings, essentially none of their recommendations have been implemented to date. The time for inaction is past.
As the committee was conducting this study, it was mindful of other ongoing studies with overlapping mandates.2 In particular, the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, chaired by Norman Augustine and Richard Mies, was created in the same legislation that mandated this study.3 The Congressional Advisory Panel is to provide advice for revising the governance structure, mission, and management of the nuclear security enterprise, including not just the NNSA and its laboratories but also the entire nuclear weapon production complex; the panel released an interim report in April 2014,4 and its final report was released in December 2014.5 At the time this study was getting under way, the panel had already held several meetings and conducted numerous site visits to NNSA facilities. To minimize duplication of effort, NRC staff remained in contact with panel staff during the course of this study. The committee appreciates the panel’s generosity in sharing information.
This report has a theme that distinguishes it from other past and ongoing work. The committee focused on how non-DOE federal agencies can realistically and productively enhance their engagement with NNSA laboratories to help sustain essential national security capabilities for the United States in the coming decades. The committee used this theme as a guidepost for determining which topics to explore in depth and which to defer to other expert bodies, such as the Congressional Advisory Panel.
2 Three other related, congressionally mandated studies were getting under way as this study progressed: (1) the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, described in the text; (2) the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, organized under the auspices of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST); and (3) the National Research Council’s study “Peer Review and Design Competition Related to Nuclear Weapons.” In addition, there is a Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on DOE National Laboratories (see http://energy.gov/seab/secretary-energy-advisory-board-seab-task-force-doe-national-laboratories, accessed November 26, 2014).
3 Public Law 112-239, § 3166.
4 Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, Interim Report, April 2014, available from the Institute for Defense Analysis, Alexandria, Va.
5 Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise: Report of the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, November 2014, available from the Institute for Defense Analysis, Alexandria, Va.
I wish to thank all of the committee members for their dedication in producing this report in a short period of time. I also want to thank the many individuals who made presentations to the committee or otherwise provided advice and information. The outside reviewers and NRC monitor provided insightful comments that improved the quality of the report. Sincere thanks is also due to the NRC staff: Greg Eyring, Dick Rowberg, and Eric Whitaker.
Richard A. Meserve, Chair
Committee on Assessment of the Governance Structure of the NNSA National Security Laboratories
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Linton Brooks, Center for Strategic and International Studies and the National Defense University,
Christine Fox, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,
John Gannon, CENTRA Technology and Georgetown University,
Russell Hemley, Carnegie Institution of Washington,
Thomas O. Hunter, Sandia National Laboratories (retired),
Raymond Jeanloz, University of California, Berkeley,
Bernadette Johnson, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Norman Jouppi, Google, Inc.,
Maxine Savitz, Honeywell, Inc. (retired),
Roger Snyder, Department of Energy, Pacific Northwest Site Office, and
Libby Turpen, Institute for Defense Analysis (consultant).
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Stephen M. Robinson, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.