The Stimson Center’s Cooperative Nonproliferation Program (CNP) announced the launch of a new task force charged with leveraging national laboratory S&T for the 21st century security environment. Fran Townsend, President Bush’s former Homeland Security Advisor, and Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Clinton, will serve as co-chairs. The bipartisan group, composed of national security experts, scientists, and businesspeople, will convene for the first time on June 27th, 2008 in Washington, DC.
The Task Force is led by The Stimson Center’s Libby Turpen, with clear involvement of Ellen Laipson, who was vice-chair at the National Intelligence Council the first time I met her. She was appointed president and CEO at Stimson in 2002. Libby used to be on the Hill before she joined Stimson in 2001 to establish the Security for a New Century congressional study group.
I have the privilege of serving on this taskforce over the next several months. While the proceedings of this Task Force will be private until reporting out to sponsors at DOE and the Lounsbery Foundation, I’ll do my best to keep readers informed of the work. After our first meeting is on the 27th, we’ll be heading out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California, to visit with the people at Los Alamos National Lab, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia.
The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) ongoing transformation from a Cold War complex to a modern national security enterprise is faced with the distinct challenge of repurposing to some extent the overall mission and focus of the nuclear labs, namely Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore.
The Task Force’s key objective is to develop a strategy to ensure retention of nuclear weapons related core competencies at the national labs while better leveraging their scientific and technological capabilities to serve a broader set of 21st-century national and homeland security needs. This initiative should create a comprehensive R&D strategy to serve this objective. One can anticipate a likely slate of issues to include cybersecurity, climate change modeling, and possibly energy security issues.