Finding 4.4. There is no apparent mechanism by which the NNSA and its national security laboratories can negotiate a balance between competing policy, programmatic, and technical demands. In an environment that lacks trust, lack of an effective process for resolving such conflicts leads to situations that can be viewed either as NNSA inserting itself in an inappropriate operational role or the laboratories inappropriately challenging NNSA’s role.
A better mechanism could be established for resolving technical disputes, without elevating them to top NNSA management and congressional levels. A technical advisory committee, established at the NNSA level, would be a helpful mechanism for filling this gap in S&E management. More generally, such an advisory committee could monitor progress on other aspects of roles and responsibilities described in this chapter.