For what it's worth, which is not much in my opinion...
NAS report released on lab management
The National Academy of Sciences today has released a new report that evaluates how management and operations contracts of the National Nuclear Security Administration's national security labs are affecting the quality of science and engineering work.
The report concludes that scientists and engineers at the three national security laboratories (Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia) appear committed to their work and core mission of maintaining the country's nuclear weapons stockpile.
The study committee recommends that Congress recognize that maintenance of the stockpile remains the core mission of the Labs, and in that context consider endorsing and supporting in some way the evolution of the NNSA Laboratories to National Security Laboratories as described in the July 2010 four-agency Governance Charter for an Interagency Council on the Strategic Capability of DOE National Laboratories.
The study committee recommends that Congress and NNSA maintain strong support of the LDRD program as it is an essential component of enabling the long-term viability of the Laboratories.
The study committee recommends that Congress reduce the number of restrictive budget reporting categories in the Nuclear Weapons Program and permit the use of such funds to support a robust core weapons research program and further develop necessary S&E capability.
The study committee recommends that NNSA and each of the Laboratories commit to the goal of rebalancing the managerial and governance relationship to build in a higher level of trust in program execution and Laboratory operations in general.
The study committee recommends that NNSA and the Laboratories agree on a set of principles that clearly lay out the boundaries and roles of each management structure, and also that program managers at headquarters, the Site Offices, and in the Laboratories be directed to abide by these principles.
The study committee recommends that the goal of rebalancing the relationship and the set of principles laying out the boundaries and roles of each management structure be memorialized in memoranda of understanding between NNSA and its Laboratories. NNSA should assess performance against these understandings on an annual basis over a five-year period and report these assessments to Congress.
The study committee recommends that the NNSA, Congress, and top management of the Laboratories recognize that safety and security systems at the Laboratories have been strengthened to the point where they no longer need special attention. NNSA and Laboratory management should explore ways by which the administrative, safety, and security costs can be reduced, so that they not impose an excessive burden on essential S&E activities.
The study committee recommends that NNSA reduce reporting and administrative burdens on the Lab directors, and purposely free directors to establish strategic science and engineering direction at the Laboratories.
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