From the reactor room on the U.S.S. Skipjack to the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Tom D’Agostino has proven himself to be a talented leader, a trusted adviser, and a true confidant. Rising through the ranks of the U.S. Navy and then leading our nuclear security efforts here at the Department of Energy, Tom has devoted 36 years to serving and protecting the American people. He has done so with a sense of purpose that reminds us all why public service is a noble profession.
As Secretary of Energy, I have greatly enjoyed working with Tom over the last four years. Tom has led NNSA, EM, and LM through a period of unprecedented international attention and complex transition. From leading a vast acceleration of the Department’s efforts to reduce nuclear dangers at home and abroad, to overseeing our efforts to protect public health and safety by cleaning up the nation’s Cold War nuclear legacy, Tom has earned the title one major news outlet gave him: “Undersecretary for Saving the World.”
Under his watch, we have eliminated or secured hundreds of nuclear weapons worth of nuclear materials. We have reduced the number of deployed warheads to the lowest level since the 1950s—an approximate reduction of 85 percent from the darkest days of the Cold War – while successfully maintaining the safety, security, and effectiveness of a shrinking stockpile. Through EM, we have permanently cleaned up 690 square miles of contaminated land—an area more than 30 times the size of Manhattan—and completed the cleanup of 22 transuranic waste sites across the nation, permanently eliminating an environmental risk at these sites and reducing the cost of monitoring and storing this waste.
But programmatic accomplishments are just one way to determine his value to the Department. The truest measure is the commitment and professionalism of the men and women he leads, and the trust the President and I have shown in his judgment and vision. In both areas, the Department could not have asked for a better leader.
Tom will be continuing in his current role until January 18, 2013 and leaving federal service shortly thereafter. Neile Miller, the Principal Deputy Administrator for NNSA, will serve as Acting Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Acting Administrator of NNSA.
While we will miss his leadership, I know Tom and his wife Beth are ready for the next stage of their lives. As Tom leaves the Department and finishes a remarkable career in federal service, please join me in thanking him for a job well done. Bravo Zulu.