“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”
The National Security Labs (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories) are essential to the care of the US nuclear deterrent as well as an understanding of what is happening globally in the nuclear domain. Whether one looks at the 2010 or the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the requirements that the labs must address are very similar. What can be done to enable effective coordination between the Department of Energy and the Labs to ensure that, as partners, they meet the nation's needs? What drives the complexity of lab operations? How can it be managed? Charles McMillan brings leadership experience from two of these laboratories to a dialog on these topics.
Speaker: Charles F. McMillan, Los Alamos Director, Retired
Dr. Charles F. McMillan served as Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and President of Los Alamos National Security, LLC from June 2011 to December 2017. The Laboratory is a principal contributor to the U.S. Department of Energy mission to maintain the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. Los Alamos uses innovative science and technology to enhance global nuclear security and protect the world. Los Alamos has an annual operating budget of approximately $2.5 billion, roughly 11,000 employees, and a nearly 40-square-mile site featuring some of the most specialized scientific equipment and supporting infrastructure in the world.
McMillan guided Los Alamos through continuing high levels of mission execution. He has signed seven annual assessment reports to the President and Congress evaluating the Los Alamos-designed weapons in the stockpile. Under McMillan's leadership, the Laboratory has continued to innovate new techniques and tools to ensure that the nation's deterrent remains safe, reliable, and effective. For example, Los Alamos debuted and has exercised novel systems that provide exponential improvements in data-gathering for subcritical nuclear tests.