Weapons Complex Monitor
November 27, 2012
Albuquerque Journal Urges Consideration of NNSA Dismantlement
a string of security lapses and project management blunders, the
Albuquerque Journal urged a bipartisan commission proposed by a pair of
Senators to strongly consider scrapping the National Nuclear Security
Administration in an editorial published Nov. 25. “The agency’s track
record is appalling,” the Journal wrote. “Not only is it a questionable
duplication to the DOE, it has turned the nuclear weapons complex into a
bureaucratic quagmire that defies attempts at efficiency. Its inability
to move forward with essential projects is itself a threat to our
nuclear security.” Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) are
planning to offer an amendment to the Senate version of the Fiscal Year
2013 Defense Authorization Act that would establish an “advisory panel”
to study governance options for the NNSA, which has been beset by
problems on major projects like the Uranium Processing Facility and a
security upgrade at Los Alamos National Laboratory, endured an
embarrassing security breach at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and
angered some Republicans by deferring work on the Chemistry and
Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility at Los Alamos. The
creation of the advisory panel would allow a compromise on controversial
NNSA reform language that is in the House version of the Defense
Authorization Act but has met resistance in the Senate. “Congress should
approve the panel but demand a report with clear recommendations that
either put this turkey on the chopping block or figure out how to make
it earn its feed,” the Journal wrote.
The Journal’s suggestions
appear to have at least some support. The newspaper quoted retiring Sen.
Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on the prospects of eliminating the NNSA,
perhaps in favor of a move to the Pentagon or the creation of a
standalone agency operating outside of the Department of Energy. “I’ve
always had problems with the NNSA as another level of bureaucracy
between the secretary of energy and the labs,” Bingaman said, according
to the Journal. “It doesn’t give me any heartburn to think that we would
revisit the decision to set up the NNSA. I think it would make some
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Thursday, November 29, 2012
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