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The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on DOE National Laboratories

The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on DOE National Laboratories (Labs) was created to provide advice, guidance, and recommendations on important issues related to improving the health and management of the labs. 

One of the Secretary's priorities is to strengthen the relationship between the Department and the National labs and enhance the role of the labs in providing innovative solutions to our mission challenges in basic research, energy, nuclear security, and environmental remediation.  He has undertaken a number of actions to reinforce an enterprise-wide view of the National lab system, including:

  • Integrating basic research and applied energy programs under a single Under Secretary for Science and Energy who will better coordinate lab R&D activities;
  • Initiating a dialog between Departmental and Lab senior leadership through the National Laboratory Policy Council;
  • Establishing a Laboratory Operations Board to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the labs and of the relationships among labs, DOE, and contractors; and
  • Incorporating the lab leadership into DOE strategic planning, including launching research initiatives that cut across DOE programs and that may benefit from coordinated lab activity.

PURPOSE OF THE TASK FORCE:

The SEAB National Laboratory Task Force has two broad purposes:

First: The Task Force should review past studies, Congressional reports and direction, and Departmental deliberations to identify key areas that have been raised concerning laboratory management and operations.

The Task Force should select a few specific issues for study, where the Secretary of Energy has the authority to make changes, which will improve laboratory performance and efficiency.

Examples of issues for initial Task Force attention are:

  1. Clarifying and/or modifying the character of the M&O contracting system to encourage greater efficiency, mission performance, and morale at the labs utilizing a range of contract vehicles with an emphasis on public service to commercial terms.
  2. Clarifying the authority and responsibilities for various laboratory functions among the lab management, Headquarters; program offices, DOE site and field offices, and contractors;
  3. Managing Work for Others (Strategic Partnership Programs) in a way that efficiently provides other government agencies needed access to DOE laboratories;
  4. Recommending appropriate policies and practices to effectively transfer DOE laboratory technology to the private sector while maintaining a mission focus; and
  5. Increasing the effectiveness and setting the level of Laboratory Directed R&D (LDRD) programs for all DOE laboratories.

Second: The Task Force should remain informed about the deliberations of several studies underway at the DOE laboratories, including the Congressionally-mandated, Commission on the Effectiveness of the DOE National Energy Laboratories. The Secretary is interested in learning SEAB's views about:

  1. The findings and recommendations of these studies;
  2. Actions that the Department should take to implement such recommendations. (If SEAB believes no action should be taken on a finding or recommendation, it should give an explanation for its view); and
  3. A recommended implementation plan for each recommended action.

The Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy will support the Task Force's work as needed.

Documents:

SEAB Endorsement of Office of Science Working Group

 

MEMBERS:

  • John Deutch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair*
  • Steven Koonin, New York University*
  • J. Michael McQuade, United Technologies Corporation*
  • Arun Majumdar, Stanford University*
  • Carmichael Roberts, Northbridge Venture Partners*
  • Martha Schlicher, Monsanto*
  • Ram Shenoy, Conoco Phillips*
  • Jennifer Chayes, Microsoft
  • James Decker, Decker, Garman, Sullivan LLC
  • John Gordon, General USAF (retired)
  • Eric Isaacs, University of Chicago
  • William Madia, Stanford University
  • Robert McGrath, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Peter Ogden, Center for American Progress
  • Joan Woodard, Sandia National Laboratories (retired)

RESOURCE:

  • Daniel Gaspar, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

DESIGNATED FEDERAL OFFICIAL:

Karen Gibson, Director, Office of Secretarial Boards and Councils

SCHEDULE:

The Task Force will submit quarterly reports to SEAB of its progress and submit a final report by December 2015.