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NNSA Honors Tom Hunter, Welcomes Paul Hommert as Director of Sandia Labs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator today thanked Dr. Thomas O. Hunter for his 43 years of service at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and congratulated Dr. Paul J. Hommert on his selection as the next Director of SNL. SNL today announced that, after five years of service as lab director, Dr. Hunter is stepping down and that he will be replaced by Dr. Hommert, effective July 9, 2010.

Hunter has been a prominent figure in the nuclear weapons program and the national security policy arena and we will miss his expertise and leadership. He began his career with Sandia in 1967 and held a number of leadership roles before becoming the Labs Director in 2005. During Dr. Hunter’s tenure, Sandia underwent significant change. In addition to the core mission of nuclear security, SNL began leveraging its scientific, technological and engineering capabilities to support work on other national challenges as well.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation for Tom Hunter’s service to the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and Sandia National Laboratories,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “As the director of one of the three crown jewels of the scientific infrastructure that supports our national security, Tom was a tremendous partner to me and a true servant of his country. While I will miss his counsel, Tom is leaving Sandia in good hands and well positioned to build on its 60 years of service to our country.”

Hunter was recently asked by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to help coordinate the effort across the Department of Energy’s national laboratories to assist with BP’s response to the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Hunter has played a key role in those efforts and will continue to advise the federal and industry scientists and engineers engaged in this critical activity.

D’Agostino also welcomed Hommert as the new Director of Sandia National Laboratories.

“Paul Hommert is an excellent choice for Sandia,” said D’Agostino. “He brings deep knowledge of the nuclear weapons program, as well as broad experience and insight on a range of national security issues. We look forward to working with Paul in his new role.”

Hommert’s career spans multiple institutions. He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2003 to 2006, where he led the Applied Physics Division (known within the nuclear security community as “X” division). Dr. Hommert also worked for three years as the director of research and applied science at the United Kingdom's Atomic Weapons Establishment, which provides and maintains that nation's nuclear deterrent.

Hommert started working for Sandia in 1976 and currently leads the Lab’s nuclear weapons programs. In this role, Dr. Hommert manages over 3,000 staff members and is responsible for the oversight of engineering support and design for the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. Dr. Hommert also served as vice president of Sandia’s California Laboratory and led Sandia’s homeland security and defense strategies.

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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.