Members Seek Information on DOE’s Efforts to Address Shortcomings Identified by Y-12 Security Breakdown
WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are launching a review of governance, management, and operations of the Department of Energy’s nuclear security, including management and operations of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Subcommittee Vice Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu requesting additional information about the agency’s plan to address challenges identified by the recent security breakdown at the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The members wrote, “Information and assessments reviewed by the Committee following the July 2012 security breakdown at the Y-12 National Security Complex have identified significant shortcomings in the management of physical security at DOE facilities with Category I and II special nuclear material. Information provided to the Committee indicates that governance and security culture issues throughout the Department’s nuclear operations, from headquarters to the site offices, and within the contractor community, have contributed to these management challenges. These issues may also impact the safety culture and operations at the facilities.”
The committee seeks to understand how DOE plans to rectify these issues and prevent another security breach. As part of the committee’s review, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing next month to examine security and safety challenges and will invite the Deputy Secretary and other relevant DOE officials to testify.
The letter continues, “As part of this Committee’s review, and given the Secretary of Energy’s ultimate responsibility for ensuring the security and safety of DOE’s nuclear materials and operations, we write to request your assistance in understanding more fully the scope of challenges identified subsequent to the Y-12 security breakdown and what DOE and NNSA plan to do to address these challenges. We will examine these matters during a hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on March 13, and we ask that the Deputy Secretary and relevant officials be prepared to testify on issues relating to the governance and management of the NNSA at this hearing.”
The Energy and Commerce Committee has a long-standing bipartisan tradition of conducting oversight of DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s management of the nuclear weapons complex. The committee held a hearing last September on the Y-12 security breach and last summer also requested assistance from the GAO in evaluating oversight of nuclear weapons complex contractors’ self-assessment programs, expressing concern over the effectiveness of the program and NNSA’s planned workforce reduction.
To view the full letter, click HERE.