Opening Statement


Committee on Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment

Joint Hearing of the Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power


Committee on Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment


Restructuring the Department of Energy

July 13, 1999

I would like to thank the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Barton, for his interest and willingness to host this joint hearing between our two subcommittees. I would also like to thank our witnesses for their participation in this hearing. Mr. Chairman with so many opening statements and a limited amount of time for the witnesses before us today, I will keep my remarks brief.

Like so many of my colleagues here today, I am very concerned about the ongoing problems that plague the Department of Energy’s ability to carry out its core mission. It appears to me that this is an agency that has truly lost its way over the last two decades.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today regarding several legislative proposals to restructure the DOE’s national security functions in response to the security lapses identified in the Cox and Rudman Reports. I am especially interested in learning more about the effect of such proposals on non-defense research and development and on environment, safety, and health protection.

Media reports earlier this year of possible security breaches within the U.S. DOE National Laboratories gave the Nation a rude awakening. Furthermore, many of those media reports were confirmed by two major government reports, the House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China (the Cox Report) and the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (the Rudman Report). Both of these reports have raised numerous concerns regarding the DOE’s ability to manage our Nation’s most vital national security secrets.

These serious security breaches at the DOE have led to a number of restructuring initiatives, including several that were incorporated in both the House-passed and Senate-passed versions of S. 1059, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000.

The Cox Report recommends that, "the appropriate congressional committees consider whether the current arrangements for controlling U.S. nuclear weapons development, testing, and maintenance within the Department of Energy are adequate to protect such weapons and related research and technology from theft and exploitation."

Even more specific are the recommendations made by the Rudman Report. This report suggests that DOE’s weapons programs be placed within a new structure, called the "Agency for Nuclear Stewardship" (ANS) that would be responsible for all nuclear weapons activities, including safeguards and security. The report also recommends that the ANS/weapons labs management structure be streamlined by, "abolishing ties between the weapons labs and all DOE regional, field and site offices, and all contractor intermediaries."

It is my understanding that there are currently five separate bills before Congress that would either restructure or that could lead to the restructuring of DOE. In addition, I am told several Senators are expected to offer an amendment to S. 1009, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, that would establish the ANS that I mentioned earlier to be headed by an Under Secretary for Nuclear Stewardship and who would also serve as the ANS Director.

I am looking forward to today’s testimony and gaining a better understanding of this important matter facing Congress. With that, I thank the Chairman and yield back the balance of my time.