Planning meetings with DOE leadership

Jack Anderson

Last week I spent three days in Washington, D.C., meeting with DOE officials on a variety of topics. Of primary importance was a meeting in which invited national laboratory representatives, including myself, had the pleasure of hosting Secretary Moniz and two new members of his staff: David Klaus, deputy undersecretary for management and performance, and Melanie Kenderdine, executive director for energy policy and systems analysis.

During our meeting, Secretary Moniz elaborated on several of his key management initiatives. First, he is quickly embarking on preparing a new comprehensive strategic plan that will establish Department of Energy priorities and also help inform planning for the FY15 budget. This effort is just beginning, and Moniz has already requested input from the laboratory directors on key themes to include in the planning.

Second, he continues to provide avenues for feedback and input to his management agenda. The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board is being reconstituted and will be co-chaired by John Deutch, emeritus institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Persis Drell, SLAC director emeritus. The SEAB will include four subcommittees: science, energy, national security and environmental stewardship. The Secretary will personally chair the new Laboratory Policy Council, which will include four laboratory directors as well as the DOE undersecretaries and other key members of the department.

Third, a key near-term priority for DOE will be the formulation of the Quadrennial Energy Review. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has recommended that the United States develop a government-wide federal energy policy and update the policy regularly with strategic QERs. The QER will be coordinated within the department by Melanie Kenderdine and is intended to establish integrated, government-wide national energy objectives in the context of economic, environmental and security priorities, as well as identify the resources needed for the invention, adoption and diffusion of energy technologies.

Next step in the planning? We will continue to look for every appropriate opportunity to engage with DOE on issues involving planning and strategy. The national laboratory chief research officers are already working on assembling a workshop this fall to provide support to Melanie Kenderdine for the QER.