Weapons Complex Monitor
December 18, 2012
The House is
expected to unveil the conference version of the Fiscal Year 2013
Defense Authorization Act this evening, and it is likely to include
language creating an advisory panel to review governance options for the
National Nuclear Security Administration, NW&M Monitor has learned.
During Senate consideration of the bill, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and
Tom Udall introduced an amendment to create the 12-member panel, largely
to provide a compromise between Senate Democrats and House Republicans
at odds over language targeted at reforming the NNSA in the House
version of the bill. While it’s unclear how much of the House reform
language survived conference negotiations, the panel would provide a
means of pushing the debate into work on the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense
The House language would increase the autonomy
of the NNSA in an effort to improve efficiency and productivity while
also streamlining directives and regulations, moving the agency toward
performance-based oversight and eliminating oversight of the agency by
the Department of Energy’s Office of Health, Safety and Security. The
language was opposed by the Administration and unions, as well as by
some House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans in the wake of the
July 28 security breach at the Y-12 National Security Complex, which is
believed to have eroded some negotiating leverage for proponents of the
reform language. That likely made the Kyl-Udall amendment an appealing
compromise, especially because the panel will only review and lay out
options for NNSA governance, including whether or not the agency should
remain in DOE, leaving hard decisions to lawmakers.
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