Subcommittee Examines Efficiency of Department of Energy National Labs

Jul 11, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Energy Subcommittee today held a hearing to examine the Department of Energy’s (DOE) oversight and management of science and technology activities, particularly as they relate to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Laboratory System. The hearing considered ideas and recommendations regarding how best to enhance DOE support of science and innovation through reforms in areas related to management, performance, technology transfer and laboratory authorities and regulations.

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.): “Beginning with their roots in providing the scientific foundation upon which America won World War II and the Cold War, the national labs have a rich and often underappreciated history. Today, the labs’ role in sponsoring cutting-edge basic research and managing world-class user facilities is a driving force behind the United States’ global scientific leadership and economic competitiveness.”

The hearing considered a June report on DOE’s national labs released by three ideologically diverse think tanks: the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and Center for American Progress.  The report, Turning the Page: Re-imagining the National Labs in the 21st Century Innovation Economy, makes recommendations on how laboratory authorities and management practices could be reformed to better address rapidly changing scientific and technological challenges. 

Chairman Lummis: “Perhaps ironically, one does not have to turn a single page to be intrigued by this report. The simple fact that the Heritage Foundation and Center for American Progress were able to agree on anything, much less a detailed 70-page report, is a pleasant reminder that even in the current polarized environment, opportunities for bipartisan policy improvements exist.”

The hearing also discussed a July 10 letter to the Subcommittee from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz offering feedback on the report.

The following witnesses testified at the hearing:

Mr. Matthew Stepp, Senior Policy Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Mr. Jack Spencer, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
Dr. Thom Mason, Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony, please visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.