Kuckuck takes job as NNSA’s principal deputy administrator

May 11, 2001

Kuckuck takes job as NNSA’s principal deputy administrator

Gen. John Gordon on Monday announced key leadership team appointments at the National Nuclear Security Administration, including the appointment of former Lab Deputy Director Bob Kuckuck as acting principal deputy administrator.

Last week, Gordon, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, formally submitted a plan to Congress for organizing NNSA, as required by the FY 2000 National Defense Authorization Act. Gordon has requested that DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham appoint former Lab Deputy

Director Robert Kuckuck as Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for NNSA. Kuckuck recently retired from the Laboratory after a distinguished 38-year career in technical and operational management roles at the Laboratory.

"I really believe in the NNSA and I believe in the stockpile stewardship program. Gen. Gordon and his new organization are so important and such a great opportunity for the country that it was an honor to be asked to help."

Kuckuck will be appointed as a member of the Senior Executive Service for a limited term. He is expected to serve until fall, when Gordon hopes to find a permanent deputy. Kuckuck will focus on NNSA’s internal operations, working with NNSA and the laboratories, while Gordon will concentrate on congressional and external issues.

Kuckuck, a physicist, has extensive expertise in nuclear treaty verification research and program management. He expects to begin his assignment at NNSA within a week.

Gordon has also requested the reassignment of William Barker, director of the Defense Programs Strategic Planning Office, to be acting chief of staff; Ralph Erickson, chief operating officer for Defense Programs, to be acting associate administrator for Facilities and Operations; Anthony Lane, associate assistant secretary for Defense Programs' Program Analysis and Financial Management, to be acting associate administrator for Management and Administration; and Michael Kane, NNSA personnel director and DOE headquarters procurement director, to be acting deputy associate administrator for Management and Administration. Robert DeGrasse, NNSA senior adviser for Organizational Development and Strategic Planning, will coordinate the redesign of NNSA management processes.

"With these personnel appointments and the release of our Organizational Plan, the NNSA begins the detailed implementation process necessary to stand up all the parts of the NNSA organization by Oct. 1, as required in Section 3153 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001," Gordon said.

The Organizational Plan describes the realignment of the NNSA structure into program and support components, a common practice in many large public and private sector enterprises. The program components — Defense Programs and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation — will focus on defining and advocating the most effective means of accomplishing the NNSA mission, he said.

"The two new support components — Facilities and Operations and Management and Administration — will focus on the enabling functions that are critical to mission success," Gordon said. "The structure we are putting in place will strengthen national security and reduce the global threat from weapons of mass destruction through applications of science and technology."

The plan will not change the management of Naval Reactors, which will remain separately managed as specified in the National Nuclear Security Act.

Congress created the NNSA last year as a semi-autonomous agency within DOE. It oversees the work of the national laboratories and production plants that constitute the nation's nuclear weapons complex.

The agency has responsibility to maintain and enhance the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile; to provide the Navy with effective nuclear power plants; to promote international nuclear safety and nonproliferation; to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; and to support American leadership in science and technology.