Luján Amendment Passes to Study Broader National Labs Mission

CONGRESSIONAL News:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District voted in support of the Conference Report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Thursday, which includes an amendment he offered that calls for a study to broaden the mission of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) national laboratories.

A 2012 report by the National Academy of Science (NAS) and a Stimson report in 2009 recommended that the NNSA laboratories transition more fully to a broader national security mission and that a mechanism be put in place to provide multiple national security agencies with an ownership stake in the labs.

The reports warned that this transition is needed to maintain the vitality of the science and engineering capabilities at the labs. The amendment calls for a study of a new governance structure that would achieve the goals recommended in the two reports.

Also included in the Conference Report is an amendment offered by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico to establish an advisory panel to recommend potential reforms to the NNSA’s organization and structure and its relationship to the Department of Energy and other federal agencies.

“This legislation includes key provisions that can provide us with a roadmap toward a brighter future for the national labs in New Mexico and across the country,” Luján said. “By taking an honest look at the NNSA and how it works with our labs, as well as ways to expand their mission, we can create a plan that strengthens Los Alamos and the other NNSA labs that are so important to our economic competitiveness, national security, and scientific advancement.”

In addition, the Conference Report provides a pay raise of 1.7 percent to support troops and their families while including a greater focus on programs and training related to suicide prevention, resilience, and community health and response.

“Our brave men and women in uniform have sacrificed so much to protect our nation and defend the values we hold dear. The provisions in this bill will help support our troops and their families while they are serving and help them receive the care they have earned when they return home,” Luján said.

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