Nov. 1, 2010
Previous Next

Lab physicist honored for work at Department of Energy headquarters

Kim Budil, a Lab employee on assignment in Washington D.C. to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), has received a rarely bestowed honor, the NNSA Administrator's Award for Excellence Medal, for distinguished service in the national security interests of the United States.

Budil had been working in B Division within the Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI) Directorate, when she was selected a year-and-a-half ago by the Department of Energy's Undersecretary for Science, Steve Koonin, to serve as a senior adviser on science related to national security.

Budil was praised for her keen ability to work effectively with people.

Among her assignments was developing an agenda and organizing a two-day senior review with external experts for Koonin and NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino, about the nuclear weapons stockpile and the technical skills needed to sustain it. She worked with leaders of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to help them deliver appropriate and succinct presentations to the reviewers.  Following those presentations, she assisted in preparing a summary that was designed to start a senior-level discussion headed by Energy Secretary Chu and Presidential Science Adviser John Holdren.

Budil's other activities included technical workshop preparations, integrating materials science interests at DOE, organizing a review by the National Academy of Sciences on Inertial Fusion Energy and organizing Koonin's review of the National Ignition Campaign.

"In 27 years of federal service at the Department of Energy, I have never had a better working relationship than I have had with Kim Budil," said David Crandall, NNSA's chief scientist.  "In every situation she has been able to sense what people need and to astutely apply technical analysis that addresses the questions."

"Kim's work in Washington has clearly reflected positively on LLNL," added Susan Hurd from the Strategic Warfare Office of the Undersecretary of Defense.

In presenting the medal to Budil, D'Agostino pointed out that the honor is rarely given to someone on a short-term assignment to NNSA. He praised her for advancing awareness of DOE and NNSA science and technology capabilities at the national labs and for effectively forwarding NNSA and Office of Science interests and expertise.

According to Crandall, "Most importantly, she earned trust and respect of all three undersecretaries: Koonin, D'Agostino and (Kristina) Johnson and the Deputy Secretary, Dan Poneman.  All of them engaged Kim on technical topics that needed accuracy and personal savvy as to what was needed by them."

Budil will return to LLNL when her assignment ends in December.