Gordon-Hagerty resigns as NNSA administrator

November 10, 2020, 10:04AMNuclear News

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty has resigned as administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and undersecretary of energy for nuclear security, the Department of Energy announced on November 6. William Bookless, who had been serving as NNSA principal deputy administrator for the past year-and-a-half, was named as acting administrator. Bookless spent more than three decades as a senior physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory prior to joining the NNSA.

Background: Gordon-Hagerty was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 15, 2018, and was the first woman to hold that position. “As administrator, Gordon-Hagerty oversaw the modernization of NNSA’s infrastructure and the strengthening of its world-class workforce,” stated an NNSA press release. “She also made significant strides in improving NNSA governance and management and demonstrated a sincere dedication to the 50,000 men and women serving in the national security workforce.”

The intrigue: Defense News reported on Friday that the unexpected resignation came after almost a year of clashes between Gordon-Hagerty’s office and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette. The NNSA is a semiautonomous agency within the DOE.

They said it: Also on Friday, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement blasting Brouillette for demanding Gordon-Hagerty’s resignation.

“A short while ago, I spoke with Administrator Gordon-Hagerty, who is an exemplary public servant and remarkable leader of the National Nuclear Security Administration,” Inhofe said. “That the secretary of energy effectively demanded her resignation during this time of uncertainty demonstrates he doesn’t know what he’s doing in national security matters and shows a complete lack of respect for the semiautonomous nature of NNSA.”

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