Government owned, contractor operated
LLNL is operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.
Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS) is a limited liability company (LLC) that assumed management of the Laboratory on October 1, 2007. LLNS was formed specifically to manage and operate Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by entities renowned for their expertise and accomplishments throughout the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons complex and beyond. The LLNS management team includes Bechtel National, University of California, Babcock and Wilcox, Washington Division of URS Corporation, and Battelle.
The Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) facility managed through a contract between the LLNS Board of Governors and the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The GOCO approach originated with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was created to provide civilian control over the design and development of U.S. nuclear weapons as well as nuclear energy research. The AEC’s programs drew on the best the private sector had to offer through long-term administrative contracts, a practice followed by successor organizations and now DOE.
Under the GOCO concept:
- DOE determines the mission of the Laboratory and provides funding for the work conducted.
- Laboratory employees determine how best to carry out the research.
- The LLNS management team provides the appropriate long-term research and operational environment.
Part of the National Nuclear Security Administration
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of three national laboratories that are part of NNSA. The others are Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The laboratories provide scientific and technical expertise in support of NNSA’s missions:
- To enhance national security through the military application of nuclear energy.
- To ensure the safety, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.
- To provide the U.S. Navy with safe, militarily effective nuclear propulsion plants.
- To promote international nuclear safety and nonproliferation.
- To reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction.
- To support U.S. leadership in science and technology.
As a national security laboratory, Livermore’s funding largely comes from the NNSA Office of Defense Programs for nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship activities. Support for national security and homeland security work also comes from the NNSA Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, the Department of Homeland Security, various Department of Defense sponsors and other federal agencies.
Livermore also applies its special capabilities to meet other important national needs. Activities sponsored by non-NNSA elements of DOE include work for the Office of Environmental Management as well as research and development projects for the Office of Science and many other DOE program offices. Non-DOE sponsors include federal agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as State of California agencies and industry.