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Monday, May 21, 2012
Restructuring of NNSA in the FY13 budget
Anonymously contributed: Looks like there will be a fight between the Republican controlled House and White House over the restructuring of NNSA in the FY13 budget. From the WH Statement late last week on H.R. 4310 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013... "Department of Energy (DOE) and Contractor Management Relationships: The Administration strongly objects to elements of sections 1061 and 1062 and certain provisions of Title 31 that change the responsibilities, authorities, and reporting requirements between and among DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), contractors managing and operating the national laboratories, the President, and the Congress. Some of these changes fundamentally alter the relationship between DOE and NNSA by restricting the authority of the Secretary of Energy and transferring responsibilities from DOE to NNSA. The bill also: (1) legislates the establishment of a council of the national laboratory contractors with the authority to make unrestricted recommendations to NNSA, which then mandate a response by NNSA; (2) takes authority for final approval of the NNSA budget submission away from the President; (3) requires NNSA to submit a cost-benefit analysis to the Congress before competing a management and operating contract, which would undermine a long-standing and bipartisan effort to increase competition in government contracting; and (4) authorizes unrestricted access for the contractors to report to the Congress on Administration activities. Health and Safety at DOE and NNSA: The Administration strongly opposes sections 3202, 3115, 3113, and 3151. These provisions severely hamper external, independent oversight by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board; move regulatory authority from independent offices and agencies to the NNSA Administrator; require a weaker standard of contractor governance, management, and oversight; and eliminate DOE's flexibility to determine the appropriate means of assessing the unique risks that it confronts in its facilities. By lowering safety standards for the nuclear weapons complex and reducing requested funding for health, safety, and security, these provisions would weaken protections for workers and the general public. NNSA Staffing: Section 3111 would direct the Administration to make large reductions within the NNSA in its number of Federal employees. The NNSA is undertaking major, complex efforts to move to a more efficient and effective management of the nuclear security complex while maintaining the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear arsenal. The Administration believes that the NNSA is best positioned to prescribe the proper level of staffing to fulfill those missions effectively within the budget appropriated by the Congress."
Posted by scooby at 2:33 PM
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