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Dr. Don Cook Confirmed as NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that Dr. Donald L. Cook has been confirmed and sworn in as the new NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. Dr. Cook will oversee the nuclear weapons program for NNSA and will be responsible for ensuring that the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe, secure and effective without the need for underground testing.

“Dr. Cook brings a tremendous amount of experience to this position as NNSA continues to transform from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “His background in science, technology, engineering, manufacturing and executive leadership is a tremendous asset in helping to implement President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

Dr. Cook most recently served as managing director and chief executive officer of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in the United Kingdom from 2006 to 2009. In this capacity, he was accountable for AWE’s performance on the contract with the UK Ministry of Defence. AWE has an annual budget of $1.2 billion and an employee workforce of 5,000.

“I am both honored and excited to be a part NNSA’s Defense Programs, while assisting with President Obama’s nuclear security agenda,” said Dr. Cook. “I look forward to working with the men and women of NNSA in preserving the safety, security and effectiveness of the nuclear stockpile and to ensuring that our enterprise continues to lead the world in scientific discovery.”

Prior to leading AWE, Dr. Cook worked at Sandia National Laboratories for 28 years in pulsed power sciences, microtechnologies, infrastructure and security. From 1999 to 2006, he was director of the MESA Program Center, accountable for design and construction of the Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex. In 2003, he assumed program director responsibilities for Sandia’s Infrastructure Program and for Sandia’s Safeguards and Security Technologies Program, which responded to a new Design Basis Threat.

From 1977-1999, Dr. Cook led efforts in pulsed power accelerator design and experimentation, fusion research, hydrodynamics, radiography, diagnostic development, and computational code development. He managed the Sandia Fusion Research Department from 1984-1993 and was director of pulsed power sciences from 1993-1999. Work during this period included construction and development of a number of accelerators, including the Z machine.

Dr. Cook is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Institute of Physics (IOP). He is married to the former Margaret Ann Kramer, with two grown daughters, Julia and Cynthia.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.