in the News
Emerging from the Cold
War: Stockpile Stewardship and Beyond
Machines from Interlocking
Laser Zaps Communication
National Security Fellow for the Center for Global Security Research
Doing It All;
Sustaining Our Working Solutions, Rising to New Challenges
IN this issue, Science &
Technology Review concludes its look back at the Laboratorys
50th anniversary with a highlight, entitled Emerging
from the Cold War: Stockpile Stewardship and Beyond, that reviews
Livermores work for the nations Stockpile Stewardship
Program and discusses opportunities and challenges for the future.
During the Cold War, the U.S.
relied on its science and technology infrastructure to provide military
advantages for national defense. In the process, the U.S. government
created both the doctrine and the reality of nuclear deterrence, which
in effect forced the nations most prominent adversary, the Soviet
Union, with its much larger but conventional military forces, to refrain
from invading Western Europe or initiating a first strike on the U.S.
Outstanding science and technology capabilities allowed the U.S. to
gain leverage against an opponent with asymmetric advantages. Having
a focused enemy also provided comfortable benchmarks of U.S. military
strength and defense investments.
Research and development to
support national security is even more crucial in the 21st century.
Today, the U.S. maintains a smaller nuclear deterrent and relies on
the national laboratories to ensure the reliability of that stockpile
in the absence of new weapon development or nuclear testing. Although
the nation has an overwhelming advantage in conventional weapons,
it faces potential adversaries that are smaller and much more difficult
to find. As the events of September 11, 2001, made all too clear,
the oceans no longer provide a shield around the continental U.S.,
and protecting the U.S. homeland poses significant challenges.
nations decision makers are finding that, in countering terrorism,
the event defines the organization chart. That is, reporting
structures must change quickly and efficiently, depending on the response
needed. In addition, timely action may not conform to established
approval processes for acquisitions, requirements, and funding. National
security in the 21st century requires that government agencies and
other organizationswhether at the federal, state, or local levelcooperate
quickly and efficiently across organizational boundaries.
At Livermore, we, too, are
evaluating our roles and responsibilities to ensure that we have the
people, resources, and processes needed both to maintain working solutions
and to rise to new challenges. As the Laboratory celebrated its 50th
anniversary, the Center for Global Security Research sponsored a series
of workshops to assess the future environment of science and technology
and their roles in national security. In chairing this project, I
was as concerned with defining the attributes of successful research
organizations as with the specifics of future research and development
to solve new national security problems.
Lawrence Livermore has many
of the resources and attributes needed to succeed in and contribute
to this emerging world. For example, using our expertise in stockpile
stewardship and weapon simulations, we can model other countries
or even terrorists inferred weapon designs, determine whether
they are credible, and if necessary, devise ways to render them harmless.
We also are developing tools for nuclear forensics, which will allow
scientists to work backwards to determine the source and type of an
explosion by examining its debristechnology that could become
an essential component of deterrence in the 21st century. The deployment
of biological detectors at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and
other efforts after September 11 provided good tests of the multiorganizational
world required for national security.
The successful laboratory of
the future must be agilein how it uses its people, in how it
develops its processes, and in how it reacts to changing scenarios.
Our staff will need not only technological excellence but also interpersonal
and operational excellence, especially in understanding the needs
and styles of other organizations.
The more we interact with others,
the better we will perform against these standards. Successful laboratories
may indeed have to do it all in the national security
arena, but as the past 50 years have shown, Lawrence Livermore has
the people, tools, and experience to meet these challenges.
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January 10, 2003