FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 27, 2000
Jeff Garberson (510) 987-0105
(925) 423-3125


UC PRESIDENT SENDS LETTERS TO LIVERMORE/LOS ALAMOS LAB MANAGERS AND EMPLOYEES


The president of the University of California Monday (June 26) sent letters to all UC managers and employees at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories discussing his thoughts, concerns and expectations on the role that the laboratories play in national security.

President Richard C. Atkinson sent the letters to the directors of the laboratories who in turn distributed it to managers and employees. It is not unprecedented for Atkinson to write directly to managers and employees, but he does it sparingly when matters are of serious concern to the entire UC system. The UC system has operated the laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy for more than 50 years.

In the letter, Atkinson told managers, "The recent security incident at Los Alamos is a stark reminder to managers at all levels of the seriousness of the national security endeavor entrusted to your supervision."

He wrote, "We need the commitment of every manager to ensure that all aspects of security related to your respective areas of responsibility are appropriately designed, effectively implemented and consistently practiced. Over the coming months, we will assess carefully our security practices and how the culture of our workplaces affects security. We must have your participation and leadership in support of timely and effective security improvement."

He concluded, "I have enormous confidence in your ability to identify and change any practice or attitude that is not fully consistent with the protection of classified material. We must quickly reinvigorate our security posture in order to regain the nation's full confidence in the University's and the laboratories' role in national security."

In a separate letter to employees, Atkinson said, "I believe that it is important for each of us to demonstrate  now more than ever that the nation's trust has been well placed."

He continued, "The University, through you, can continue to perform a critical national mission in a manner unmatched by any other institution."

Atkinson noted, "No one should assume that security is someone else's responsibility. It is essential that everyone bear this responsibility, especially those of you who have first-hand knowledge of the importance of the laboratories' national security mission."

Atkinson's letters were sent late Monday to managers and on Tuesday to employees from the offices of Bruce C. Tarter, director of the Livermore Laboratory, and John C. Browne, director of the Los Alamos Laboratory.

Under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, UC manages Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The laboratories conduct broad and diverse basic and applied research in nuclear science, energy production, national defense and environmental and health areas.

The letters were sent only to the Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories because they are specifically charged with protecting the nation through advanced research in national security.

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(Letters follow to Lab employees and managers.)


June 26, 2000

All UC Employees at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories

Dear Colleagues:

For more than 50 years the University of California has been entrusted with one of the most critical components of our national defense.  You have fulfilled this responsibility with extraordinary success and the nation is indebted to you.  However, the recent security incidents have raised questions in the minds of some as to whether the University and the Laboratories are as committed to security as we are to science.  I believe that it is important for each of us to demonstrate--now more than ever--that the nation's trust has been well placed.  I have written to Laboratory management about the responsibilities that all of us share, and I would like to express my thoughts to you.

As employees of a public institution engaged in research critical to the national security, we must and will be held accountable for our stewardship, both individually and institutionally.  We value the public confidence the University has earned as the operator of three Department of Energy laboratories since their inception.  The University, through you, can continue to perform a critical national mission in a manner unmatched by any other institution.

While we can be justifiably proud of the scientific and technological achievements of our institutions, we must treat security issues with the highest standards of care.  Although all the facts are not yet known, the recent security incident at Los Alamos underscores three things:

* The need to be ever vigilant and disciplined in the handling of classified material, even if the rules have given you latitude in your conduct.

* The need to bring problems promptly to the attention of responsible individuals in the Laboratory, the University, and DOE.

* The need for personal commitment and action to identify improved security practices and prevent problems.

No one should assume that security is someone else's responsibility.  It is essential that everyone bear this responsibility, especially those of you who have first-hand knowledge of the importance of the laboratories' national security mission.

This is a challenging time for all of us.  Together we have accomplished things that are unique in the history of mankind, and together we can continue to provide a vital public service.  We must maintain the trust of the American people.  This must be uppermost in our minds as we approach every task.  I appreciate your dedication to the University and I know that you will preserve this trust.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Atkinson
President


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June 26, 2000

All UC Managers at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories

Dear Colleagues:

The recent security incident at Los Alamos is a stark reminder to managers at all levels of the seriousness of the national security endeavor entrusted to your supervision.  The University has flourished through a system that delegates broad authority in the management of its campuses, schools, research institutes and national laboratories.  As managers in a public institution who are engaged in research critical to the national security, we must and will be held accountable for our stewardship, both individually and institutionally.

We need the commitment of every manager to ensure that all aspects of security related to your respective areas of responsibility are appropriately designed, effectively implemented and consistently practiced.  Over the coming months we will assess carefully our security practices and how the culture of our workplaces affects security.  We must have your participation and leadership in support of timely and effective security improvement.

I know that some question the University's ability to reconcile a culture of openness in conducting outstanding science with the culture of secrecy and rigorous accountability that is properly required to protect the United States' most vital nuclear weapons secrets.  The University's fifty year history of operating the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories demonstrates that these challenges are manageable and that the University's ability to recruit and retain the best scientific minds has been essential to the laboratories' extraordinary mission successes.

I have enormous confidence in your ability to identify and change any practice or attitude that is not fully consistent with the protection of classified material.  We must quickly reinvigorate our security posture in order to regain the nation's full confidence in the University's and the laboratories' role in national security.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Atkinson
President