Moniz outlines plans to overhaul department

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013

Secretary Ernest Moniz outlined an ambitious effort to reorganize the Department of Energy in a memo and address to department staff yesterday, aiming to restructure the responsibilities of his top deputies and bringing in a cadre of senior advisers.

The effort includes establishing a new undersecretary for management and performance, a position to which President Obama yesterday nominated NASA Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson (E&E Daily, July 19). Moniz also will be combining the undersecretaries of science and energy into a single position, for which a nomination is expected soon.

“Successful implementation of the President’s Climate Action Plan, ‘all of the above’ energy strategy and nuclear security agenda require the appropriate alignment of management functions and strengthened management throughout the agency,” Moniz wrote yesterday in a memo to DOE staff.

Robinson’s responsibilities — assuming she wins Senate confirmation — will include overseeing more than a half-dozen DOE offices, including those for environmental management and legacy management, which handle cleanup responsibilities stemming from World War II- and Cold War-era nuclear weapons development. She also would oversee a new National Laboratories Operations Board, which will tackle administrative issues across DOE’s nationwide network of national labs.

The undersecretary for science role would be expanded to assume responsibility for energy programs in order to better integrate DOE’s basic research efforts with its applied research, demonstration and deployment programs, Moniz wrote.

“The innovation chain is not linear, but rather one that requires feedback among its various elements,” he wrote. “This is particularly the case with regard to clean energy as we work to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan.”

Moniz said he also was establishing several councils to advise him on various issue areas, including energy, national labs and cybersecurity.

His memo also highlights a number of recently hired senior advisers, such as chief of staff Kevin Knobloch, who came to DOE from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and senior adviser Melanie Kenderdine, who worked with Moniz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative before both came to DOE.