December 05, 2012

Udall, Kyl Announce NNSA Reform in Defense Bill

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) announced the adoption of their amendment to the Senate-passed 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to evaluate the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in light of major management issues, cost overruns and security breaches in recent years.

"The NNSA has been plagued with problems that have impacted the scientific and stockpile stewardship work being done at Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as the security and safety of the workers there," said Udall and Kyl. "The ineffectiveness of the NNSA is a serious national security issue and our amendment will take a good look at what is needed to reform it. Moreover, this short, 120 day effort is meant to ensure Congress has the information necessary to implement needed reforms in the coming congress to improve our nuclear enterprise."

An administration within the Department of Energy (DOE), the NNSA oversees the management and security of the United States' nuclear stockpile. This amendment will establish an advisory panel to recommend potential reforms to the NNSA's organization and structure and its relationship to the DOE and other federal agencies.

The advisory panel will submit a report to Congress 120 days after the amendment's enactment. It will be ordered to make recommendations in order to improve scientific work, reduce the cost of programs and protect the safety and health of nuclear workers without eroding the laboratories' missions.

In 1999, Congress formed the NNSA as a separate organization within DOE. The NNSA is responsible for the management and security of the nation's nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs. It also responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.

On December 4, 2012, the Senate passed the 2013 NDAA to authorize appropriations to fund the Department of Defense. The legislation passed by a vote of 98-0.