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New Energy Secretary Begins Major Departmental Reorganization

July 24, 2013

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz is leading a restructuring of the department's management, reorganizing programs and undersecretary positions to better align with the operational goals of supporting President Obama's Climate Action Plan, an "all of the above" energy strategy, and strengthening nuclear security. The move will create an Under Secretary for Management and Performance, merge the energy and science programs, and consolidate the department's defense waste cleanup efforts.

In a memo addressed to employees and released to The Hill, Moniz cited the need "to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of departmental operations." The reorganization reflects changes suggested by Turning the Page: Reimagining the National Labs in the 21st Century Innovation Economy, a joint report released by ITIF, the Center for American Progress, and the Heritage Foundation.

The report recommends merging the existing Offices of Science, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear into a new Office of Science and Technology to better coordinate research activities. This office will be managed by a single Under Secretary of Science and Technology with budgeting and lab-stewardship authority. The new position will be responsible for funding and stewarding all of DOE's labs except the four that are currently managed by the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security.

In an effort to better incentivize tech commercialization, streamline the management of the national labs, and encourage innovation, Secretary Moniz will establish an Under Secretary for an Office of Management and Performance that will house the Offices of Management and Administration, Chief Human Capital Officer, Chief Information Officer, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Hearings and Appeals, Environmental Management, and Legacy Management. Beth Robinson, a senior NASA official, is expected to serve as the new Under Secretary of Management and Performance and will be supported by a newly minted National Laboratory Operations Board.

The Nuclear Security Administration will be given broader control over nuclear security operations and will be bolstered by the creation of four new Secretarial Councils: Energy, National Laboratory Policy, Cyber Security, and a revised Credit Review Board.

Moniz also will oversee the establishment of an Officer of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy that manages DOE programs dealing with fossil fuel and renewable energy, and will include the Office(s) of Science, Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Indian Energy, and Technology Transfer Coordinator.

Beyond supporting the President's agenda, the reorganization of the Department of Energy reflects the recognition of what Moniz refers to as the feedback loop between basic science, applied research, technology demonstration, and deployment; "the innovation chain is not linear," Moniz states.

dept of energy, energy, r&d, commercialization