NNSA BlogNNSA welcomes Air Force Col. James C. Dawkins Jr. as Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application. He will assist Don Cook, NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Programs, in directing the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which maintains the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile without underground nuclear testing.

Dawkins has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general.

Most recently, Dawkins served as the commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D. He was responsible for providing combat-ready B-52H Stratofortress aircraft, crews, and associated combat support for deterrence, crisis response, global power projection, major theater war and maritime operations and Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployments. He also served as the installation commander.

Dawkins was commissioned in 1989 from the Air Force Officer Training School. He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in the B-52, B-2, RC-135, F-16CJ and the F-111. He has commanded at the wing, group and squadron level and has served in two joint assignments involving nuclear operations and policy. He served as the deputy director for Global Innovation and Strategy Center at U.S. Strategic Command and as operations officer in the Directorate for Global Operations, J-3, the Joint Staff.

Dawkins has supported Operations Odyssey Dawn, Enduring Freedom, Decisive Guard, Northern Watch, and Southern Watch. He has also deployed as the director of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Joint Operations Center in Afghanistan.

Jan 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has published its 2012 annual report highlighting its work applying innovative science and technology to strengthen the nation's security.

See Livermore’s annual report.


Jan 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

A celebration was held yesterday to honor  Brig. Gen. Sandra Finan, NNSA's Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application, for her service and commitment to NNSA. Finan has been selected to serve as commander of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center in Albuquerque, N.M. Acting NNSA Administrator Neile Miller, NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook, and others presented Finan with tokens of apperception to Finan.  

Finan has been at NNSA since January 2011. Prior to NNSA, she served as the Inspector General of the Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) at Barksdale Air Force Base. She entered the Air National Guard in 1982 as an enlisted cryptographic equipment repairperson. Finan received her Air Force commission in 1985 as a distinguished graduate through Officer Training School.

Finan will succeed Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak. He has been selected for reassignment as Assistant Chief of Staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon. A change of command ceremony is planned for Feb. 7 in Albuquerque.

Jan 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

Mike Roberts, Kansas City Field Office, was among the Secretarial Appreciation Award honorees recently at DOE in Washington D.C.

Roberts was recognized for Excellence in Project Management for his contributions as the Federal Project Director of the newly constructed $750 million replacement facility for NNSA’s Kansas City Plant. To meet a cost reduction target of $100 million annually for the Kansas City Plant, Roberts established a multi-agency project team of more than 45 federal and contractor engineering staff that used third-party financing to construct a 1.5 million square foot industrial facility with LEED gold certification in 29 months. Despite the complex nature of NNSA component fabrication requirements, the project was completed on time and within budget.

During the past two years, The Secretary of Energy has presented more than 60 individual and team awards to recognize Management and Operational excellence in support of the DOE’s vision for transformational clean energy, science, and security solutions that are significant, timely and cost effective.


Jan 25, 2013 at 11:00 am


For the third consecutive year, NNSA leadership hosted mayors from cities across the country while they were in Washington, D.C., for the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors.  

Former NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino, acting NNSA Administrator Neile Miller and Associate Principal Deputy Administrator Michael Lempke met with the mayors representing major metropolitan cities and local communities, including Livermore, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Calif.; Albuquerque, Santa Fe, N.M.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Knoxville, Tenn.

NNSA leaders appreciated the opportunity to strengthen relationships with the leadership representing the communities where NNSA laboratories, plants, and sites are located and look forward to continuing to advance the nation’s nuclear security agenda with their partnership.

Jan 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm

For the second year in a row, Pantex has been nominated by the Department of Energy and NNSA for an award in recognition of its efforts to research and protect migratory birds.

Pantex will represent the DOE/NNSA in the competition for the 2013 Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award, which has been administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2011. Each federal agency is eligible to nominate one project or action conducted by or in partnership with a federal agency.

Read about the recognition.

About the photo:
Jim Ray, Pantex wildlife biologist, releases a Swainson’s Hawk after fitting it with a tracking device. The Swainson’s Hawk study is only one of several initiatives that led to Pantex being nominated to represent DOE/NNSA in the Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award.


Jan 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Thanks to a Y-12 National Security Complex aluminum beverage can recycling program, more than 400 local organizations each received a $200 donation from the company since the program’s inception in 1994. Since then, more than $81,600 from recycling revenue has been donated to various community organizations.

The most recent recipients are Tabitha’s Table, an ecumenical Oak Ridge food ministry that provides a hot meal weekly; Family Promise of Knoxville, a program for individuals facing homelessness for the first time in their lives; Sunshine Industries, a therapeutic recreation program for handicapped adults who live in Knox County; and People Promoting Animal Welfare (PPAW), an organization that operates a feline/canine adoption center and spay/neuter clinic in Greenback and offers low-income families affordable sterilization of cats and dogs.

Read more about Y-12’s recycling.

About the photo:
PPAW Clinic assistant LeeAnn Burgett with recently adopted Oglethorpe, left, and director Deborah Searfoss, center, accept a Y-12 donation from Jan Jackson, Y-12 pollution prevention program coordinator.


Jan 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French Space Agency have tracked a trail of minerals that point to the prior presence of water at the Curiosity rover site on Mars.

Researchers from the Mars Science Laboratory’s ChemCam team today described how the laser instrument aboard the Curiosity rover—an SUV-sized vehicle studying the surface of the Red Planet—has detected veins of gypsum running through an area known as Yellowknife Bay, located some 700 meters away from where the rover landed five months ago.

Gypsum and some related minerals can be formed when water reacts with other rocks and minerals. The presence of gypsum and its cousin, bassinite, along with physical evidence of alluvial flow patterns previously seen during the Mars Science Laboratory mission, could indicate that the Yellowknife Bay area once was home to ponds created by runoff or subsurface water that had percolated to the surface.

Read about the Yellowknife Road.

About the photo:
The Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity Rover recently took this photo of the Martian landscape looking toward Mount Sharp while on its way toward Yellowknife Bay—an area where researchers have found minerals indicating the past presence of water. (NASA Photo)


Jan 16, 2013 at 11:00 am

Don’t tell the young women engineers at Pantex that engineering is a career for men only. They just spent their Saturday making sure that old-fashioned notion winds up in the dustbin of history.

The half-dozen young Pantexans, all around their mid-20s, put on a workshop called “Smart Cookies” to show more than 40 Girl Scouts that engineering is a great career for everyone, especially young women.

Savannah Gates, a process engineer at Pantex, says there is no doubt that engineering has traditionally been viewed as a man’s career field, but that is changing. Gates was joined by her fellow engineers Ashley Latta, Brandy Ramirez, Sarah Cox, Jessie Phifer, Raquel Barrera and Halianne Crawford in organizing the workshop. The Pantex engineers demonstrated the principles of a variety of types of engineering, including electrical, mechanical, civil and chemical.

The activities ranged from making a homemade battery from foil, pennies and paper towels soaked in a vinegar-salt solution to building cars powered by the kinetic energy of a mousetrap. The mousetrap cars proved so entertaining for the Girl Scouts, and took up so much of the day, that the women engineers were forced to postpone several other engineering activities that will be used as the basis of a second workshop later this year.

About cover photo:
A group of Pantex engineers hoist a B61 training unit at Pantex recently. The women joined together to put on a workshop this weekend to show Girl Scouts that engineering is an attractive field for women. Pictured clockwise from left are: Ashley Latta, Brandy Ramirez, Sarah Cox, Jessie Phifer, Savannah Gates and Raquel Barrera.

Jan 16, 2013 at 11:00 am

NNSA BlogNNSA has awarded a contract to Siemens Government Technologies, Inc. (Siemens) to construct and operate the federal government’s largest wind farm. The Pantex wind farm, a first in the NNSA enterprise, will consist of five 2.3 megawatt turbines located on 1,500 acres of government-owned property east of the Pantex Plant.  

Energy savings from the wind farm average $2.9 million annually over a 20-year contract term and the project will enable Pantex to meet the President’s energy initiatives for green energy. The wind farm at Pantex will allow NNSA to meet almost all of its renewable energy goals while also offering unique research opportunities to longtime partner in education Texas Tech University and its research collaborators.

The farm will generate approximately 45 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually - greater than 60 percent of Pantex's annual electricity needs.

Photo courtesy of Siemens.

Jan 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm