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Friday, August 3, 2012
Pentagon Official Casts Doubt On Possible Move Of Major NNSA Projects To DOD
Anonymously contributed: ============================================================================= Pentagon Official Casts Doubt On Possible Move Of Major NNSA Projects To DOD Weapons Complex Monitor August 2, 2012 ============================================================================ House authorizers went too far in drafting language that would move the National Nuclear Security Administration’s two biggest projects, the Uranium Processing Facility and the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility, to the Pentagon, according to a senior Department of Defense official. Speaking at a Capitol Hill Club breakfast event yesterday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters Steve Henry said the Pentagon sees the value in treating the facilities as military construction projects, but did not favor completely absorbing the projects. Language in the House-passed version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization Act would move management of the project to the Pentagon while authorizing forward-funding for the projects starting in FY2014. “We thought it would be good for the Department of Energy, NNSA to also have those authorities,” Henry, who is leaving the Pentagon this week to head up global security work for Nevada National Security Site contractor National Security Technologies, LLC, told NW&M Monitor after his speech. “We did not mean we would do that.” The Pentagon has taken a keen interest in efforts to modernize the nation’s weapons complex, and Henry said DoD had become concerned with massive cost and schedule overruns for UPF and CMRR-NF, the linchpins of the modernization effort. “Huge projects always have their own problems, and we said, based upon the funding, we didn’t see that they were funded quite properly the way DoD does it,” Henry said during a question and answer session after his speech. “And we would have liked to have seen it reduced in time to build, which helps reduce cost, but that means your funding has to go up. And we could not see how DOE/NNSA could fund both projects within their budget that had been appropriated.” Because of the funding problems, Henry said DoD suggested it couldn’t build both facilities at the same time, and it prioritized UPF because of the deteriorating condition of existing uranium facilities at Y-12. But he noted that treating the projects as military construction projects would have significant benefits. The approach “allows you to up-front fund. It allows you to understand how much money you’re going to have in the out years,” Henry said. He later added, though, that DoD was not well-suited to take over management of the projects. “From my gut feeling I’d have to say that it’s one thing for NNSA to have a contractor to say what they want for their specifications, and to monitor how it’s built. But it’s completely different to have DoD do it and saying here it is, and handing them the key to that,” Henry said. “How do we make sure it still meets all the safety bases and the operational issues? Although we work closely with them, we haven’t worked that closely on building kinds of facilities and developing the integration to be able to support something like that.”
Posted by scooby at 9:01 PM
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