NNSA's Brooks lauds partnership in nonproliferation
Ambassador Linton Brooks, NNSA’s new deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, came to the Lab for two days this week to see first-hand what Livermore does, as well as to send a message that he values the strategic partnership with the national labs.
"What I’ve been doing while I’ve been here is mostly listening and trying to get a first-hand sense of some of the areas the Lab is working in support of my programs," Brooks said Thursday. "There’s $120 million or so in work that Livermore does in direct support of nonproliferation that comes through me. So it just seemed to me that I needed to come out very early because the partnership with the labs is so hugely important to me in Washington."
Although he has been associated with the national laboratories on and off for the last 20 years in a variety of capacities, he said he wanted to "come out in my new hat and refresh my memory."
In addition to Livermore, Brooks visited the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory earlier this week and has plans in January to visit Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.
Prior to joining the NNSA seven weeks ago, Brooks was Vice President and Assistant to the President for Policy Analysis at the Center for Naval Analysis, a federally funded research and development center in Virginia. During the first Bush administration, he served as assistant director for Strategic and Nuclear Affairs at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency as well as in the State Department as head of the U.S. delegation on nuclear and space talks and chief Strategic Arms Reductions (START) negotiator. Prior to these positions, he was director of Arms Control on the staff of the National Security Council.
In addition to his career in civilian government service, Brooks’ 30-year military career included serving as a Navy captain at sea in destroyers, ballistic-missile submarines and attack submarines, culminating as captain of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS WHALE.
"We are really fortunate to have him as head of NN," said Wayne Shotts, AD for Nonproliferation, Arms Control and International Security. "His mix of technical background and policy administration makes him ideally suited to what we see in NN programs."
During his two-day visit to the Lab, Brooks was briefed on a wide range of nonproliferation topics, including proliferation prevention and arms control, verification and nuclear materials security and counterterrorism and incident response. In addition, he toured several NAI and Biology & Biotechnology Research Program labs, the Forensic Science Center and the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center.
"One of the most important things I saw here is this continuum between basic research, which is what you get in the national laboratories, done in an interdisciplinary manner, which can then be focused to a particular problem of proliferation," Brooks said. "That spectrum is more important than the specific projects that I saw. You come to a national lab and if you’re not impressed with the science you see, then you’re not impressible. You see good science, but what was interesting to me was the way we can relate fundamental science to the practical needs of my program and the broader needs of the country."
During a meeting with NAI employees Thursday, Brooks said he just found out Monday that approximately $226 million in funding had been added to his budget.
"I am quite pleased with the support we have gotten from the White House in my area. I think what you’re going to see is that the FY03 budget will reflect the high priority the administration places on this program," Brooks said.
He also talked about his trip to Moscow three weeks ago with DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham and he cited an agreement they worked out with their Russian counterparts to improve access to MinAtom sites and the formerly secret cities which will be especially helpful in carrying out the Nuclear Cities Initiative where LLNL is a major player.