Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003
Paul Schwartz (510) 387-5434



Board to have significant governance authority

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustain and strengthen management practices at the UC-managed national security laboratories, the University of California Board of Regents voted today (Nov. 20) to create a National Security Laboratories Board of Directors. The board will have broad powers and report to the regents.

"Under the proposed management structure, the UC National Security Laboratories Board of Directors will bring a breadth of strong expertise to the oversight of the weapons laboratories," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "The board will help ensure a strong governance model for continued management of the UC national security labs."

This latest action by the regents is one in a series of ongoing steps taken by the University of California to strengthen its management of the national laboratories.

These actions include the appointment of S. Robert Foley as vice president for laboratory management and the announcement by Foley last week of a new management organization that includes a strengthened internal organization and a new UC Laboratory Management Council. The council will leverage the professional skills, expertise, experiences and manpower already available in UC's functional organizations to enhance effective and efficient operation of the national laboratories.

The National Security Laboratories Board of Directors will report to the UC Board of Regents through the president of the university. The board membership will include outside individuals with credibility and knowledge on a broad spectrum of issues including, but not limited to, science and technology, national defense, operations, and business management. The board of directors will also include Foley and representation from the UC Academic Senate, which represents UC faculty. The Board of Regents, based on nominations put forth by Dynes, will appoint the external members of the board. It will be chaired by an external member and consist of approximately 15 members, the majority of which will be external.

"This action by the UC regents is a significant step and further highlights our commitment to strong management of the national laboratories," said Foley, who will serve as action officer for the proposed board. "This strengthened governance model, along with our program to continue improving the labs' business practices, will be key to our effective management of the laboratories."

Under the proposal, the UC regents and the board's Laboratory Oversight Committee will retain ultimate responsibility and authority for management of the UC national laboratories, including the approval of the UC contracts with the federal Department of Energy. The National Security Laboratories Board of Directors will have the authority for the approval of annual performance appraisals and salaries of laboratory directors and senior managers; the approval of major policies and organizational structures; the establishment of performance standards; the monitoring of performance; and to recommend to the regents the hiring and firing of laboratory directors.

"The broad range of expertise and the knowledge of particular issues that members of the board will bring will be extremely valuable as we move forward in our management of the laboratories," said regent Peter Preuss, chair of the boards' Committee on Oversight of Department of Energy Laboratories. "I look forward to a strong and close working relationship with such a board."

The National Security Laboratories Board of Directors will operate through a series of committees in such areas as: mission; science and technology; operations and administration; audit and ethics; and executive performance and compensation. The committees will include experts beyond the members of the board of directors. In addition, some members of the President's Council Panels will transition into the committees of the board.

The University of California manages three national laboratories on behalf of the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration. They are Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both in California, and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In 2003, Livermore and Los Alamos laboratories each employed more than 8,000 UC staff and have combined annual operating budgets exceeding $3.5 billion, while Berkeley Lab has approximately 4,000 employees and an annual budget of nearly $500 million.

In pursuing their missions, the three laboratories are major sources of scientific and technical strength for the nation in fields ranging from national and homeland security to basic physics, biotechnology, climate studies, supercomputational capability development, materials science, energy, and the environment. As a consequence of their work, the laboratories occasionally enter into research partnerships with industry and so further contribute to our country's economic well-being. The laboratories also are called on to use some of their personnel and expertise to engage in mathematics and science education for students and teachers, primarily in their communities.

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