Everett Opening Statement for Hearing on the Department of Energy’s Implementation of the National Nuclear Security Administration Act of 2000

Jan 30, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly-202.226.3988  


Washington, D.C.Today, Ranking Republican Terry Everett (R-AL) gave the following statement at the Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s Implementation of the National Nuclear Security Administration Act of 2000:

“I will frame my focus for today’s hearing by asking two questions.  First and foremost, why do we continue to have problems with basic security problems in the nuclear weapons complex?  Second, is the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Act, which arose out of concerns over security in the nuclear weapons complex, performing as intended, specifically in the area of how NNSA interacts with the Department of Energy?

“For years, this subcommittee has closely followed NNSA, the nuclear weapons complex security posture and its relationship with the Department of Energy. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which is being released today was requested by me and my Ranking Member, Congressman Reyes, when I previously chaired this Subcommittee.

“I also note the long history of expertise that both Chairman Tauscher and Congressman Thornberry of this subcommittee developed in their leadership of this Committee’s Special Oversight Panel on Department of Energy Reorganization following the passage of Title 32 of the Fiscal Year 2000 National Defense Authorization Act that established the NNSA.  Most recently, in last year’s defense authorization conference with our Senate colleagues, we took steps to merge the counterintelligence offices of NNSA and the Department of Energy, a step taken due to concerns with how the NNSA and Department were implementing the NNSA Act.

“Safeguarding our nation’s nuclear weapons design information, the underlying rationale for establishing NNSA, is critical to our national security.  I am perplexed as to why we continue to have significant security problems at Los Alamos, and perhaps elsewhere in the complex.  I also note that the GAO report highlights several areas of management practices within NNSA and between NNSA and the Department that are still not functioning smoothly.  I am specifically interested in hearing from the Secretary as to whether the NNSA can effectively execute its national security mission under the existing NNSA Act legislation, or alternatively whether the legislation requires change.

“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses what we need to do to get this right.”