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July/August 2001

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
C. Bruce Tarter

Annual Certification Takes a Snapshot of Stockpile Stewardship

Sensing for Danger

It's the Pits in the Weapons Stockpile

Looking into the Shadow World

Patents

Awards


 

 

Director C. Bruce Tartar

C. Bruce Tartar
Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

National Security Is Our Unifying Theme


NATIONAL security is the one unifying mission of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In that respect, no element of our mission is more important than Annual Certification, a formal assessment of the nation’s nuclear stockpile. As Laboratory director, my role in Annual Certification includes sending a letter to the secretaries of Energy and Defense, stating whether a resumption of underground nuclear testing is warranted to resolve a safety or reliability issue in a Livermore-designed nuclear weapon system. I make that determination following a thorough review of Lawrence Livermore’s stockpile stewardship activities.
As described in the article entitled Annual Certification Takes a Snapshot of Stockpile Stewardship, the complex Annual Certification process involves experts at Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia national laboratories; Department of Defense agencies; and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semiautonomous agency that began operation in March 2000. Congress created NNSA as a way to place under one roof all the national security activities of the Department of Energy.
NNSA’s responsibilities include maintenance of a safe, secure, and reliable stockpile of nuclear weapons and associated materials capabilities and technologies; promotion of international nuclear safety and nonproliferation; and management of the naval nuclear propulsion program. More than three-quarters of our funding comes under the auspices of NNSA. Practically speaking, NNSA is our “landlord.”
General John Gordon, NNSA’s administrator, has visited the Laboratory several times, and he was on hand to help celebrate our first Science Day in March and, on April 10, the final certification of the W87 weapon system refurbished through the Life Extension Program. During the March visit, Gordon spoke of the need for scientists and security experts to collaborate so that both missions operate at optimum levels at the national laboratories.
General Gordon has had three essential tasks to fulfill: build a long-term, stable budget for the agency and its programs; create a new organization from scratch; and find good people to fill the jobs. He’s already presented a five-year budget to Congress that received high praise. And he’s adopted an organizational structure that mirrors that of the national laboratories. Within this framework, just as most of Livermore’s operational and institutional oversight is done in the Director’s Office, similar responsibilities are handled by NNSA at its headquarters. The research directorates in which most of our programmatic and technical work is performed would correspond to NNSA’s Defense Programs and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation organizations.
All of us at Lawrence Livermore are looking forward to close and effective relations with our new Washington sponsor. To aid that effort, I’ve named Michael Anastasio, formerly associate director of Defense and Nuclear Technologies, to the new post of deputy director for Strategic Operations. Mike will be working closely with NNSA managers. As the former head of the directorate most responsible for stockpile stewardship, Mike has the background and experience that can only strengthen our interactions with NNSA.

 

 

 

 



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UCRL-52000-01-7/8 | August 29, 2001