When Gen. John Gordon, administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), spoke at the Science Day celebration, he used his chance to speak to “a captive audience” of Lab employees, managers, scientists and engineers about the creation and future of the NNSA.
“NNSA is only about a year old now,” Gordon began, “but in that short time, we’ve seen a real turn-around in how we feel about our work and our labs. We’re excited about where we are, and we’re excited about where we’re going.”
He noted the new five-year budget plan and expressed optimism for the primary projects at all NNSA labs. “We’ve seen an increase in confidence in NIF and stockpile stewardship, and the new UC contract has been strengthened to benefit all organizations.
“Although some of the morale problems have been stemmed, we must recognize that security, recruitment and retention issues are not squared yet,” Gordon stated.
He assured the Lab population that NNSA is taking “a hard look at security to get it right.” Furthermore, Gordon rejected the idea that the labs should “balance” science and security, implying a compromise for both issues. Instead, he said, scientists and security experts must collaborate so that both missions operate at optimum levels.
“Scientists who push the envelope are really what we’re all about,” Gordon remarked. “We must reach out across any barriers to enrich the lives and careers of those who work for us. They are a vital national asset.”
Gordon addressed goals in lab workforce diversity, and said the national labs should be “a beacon for diversity, where any American would want to work for NNSA.”
Concluding with a pledge to all NNSA scientists, Gordon said, “There will be no new barriers or walls to collaboration, and we will still maintain security.”