The National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC)

The National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC) is an organization formed by the Laboratory Directors from each of the seventeen DOE National Laboratories. The NLDC thus represents the scientific and technological leadership deployed across the DOE laboratory complex. The NLDC seeks to promote advances in the various DOE missions, increase the effectiveness of DOE and the National Laboratories through collaboration and coordination on high-level, strategic issues and concerns of broad interest, and provide a forum for presenting the Secretary and DOE senior management with consensus views on matters that affect the laboratories and their ability to contribute to the DOE mission. The NLDC is one mechanism for coordinating the interactions across the whole DOE laboratory complex.

Governance

A subset of four NLDC members comprises an Executive Committee that organizes and coordinates the activities of the NLDC. The Executive Committee consists of a Spokesperson, and one Director each from an NNSA Laboratory, a Multi-program Laboratory, and a program-dedicated Laboratory, elected by the NLDC members. The current Executive Committee has served for about eighteen months, and an election for a new Executive Committee is set to take place by the end of the calendar year. The incoming and outgoing Executive Committees will overlap in the first meeting with the new DOE administration.

DOE Interactions

The NLDC Executive Committee holds a monthly teleconference with the Secretary of Energy and DOE senior management to identify, discuss and resolve issues on behalf of the NLDC and the DOE laboratory complex. Every third month, the meeting is a face-to-face meeting either in Washington DC or at a site location. From DOE, attendees include the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the three Undersecretaries or their representative, and the Chief of Staff; other functionaries (e.g., the General Counsel or Assistant Secretaries) join for part of the meeting depending on the topic and assuming their input is germane to the discussion. From the NLDC, attendees include the four Executive Committee members and an executive secretary; other NLDC members join as warranted by the topics. The NLDC executive secretary works with DOE on the agenda, prepares briefing materials for the NLDC, and develops the minutes; the briefing materials and minutes are shared with DOE and all the NLDC members.

Topics for discussion range over a broad spectrum. In the past year, routine topics have included nanosafety, cybersecurity, nuclear energy, the Transformational Energy Action Management (TEAM) initiative to track the status on energy efficiency goals, branding of DOE, and the entrepreneur-in-residence program. In the coming year, DOE leadership with the NLDC can build upon the results and move into more strategic discussions regarding how to best address the national needs in energy and the DOE missions with the DOE laboratory complex, both in the short and long-term.

Working Groups

To provide insights on specific issues and impacts, and to help work with the various DOE offices on implementation, the NLDC has three standing Working Groups that represent the spectrum of issues discussed: research, operations, and information technology. Like the NLDC, an Executive Committee that is representative of the seventeen Laboratories governs each working group. While the formal interface with DOE is through the NLDC, each working group has routine interactions with DOE counterparts to facilitate discussions and issues resolution.

The Chief Research Officers (CRO) Working Group advises the NLDC on scientific and programmatic issues, serving as a forum for communication and coordination of the major activities related to the strategic direction for the laboratories. The current chair of the CRO group is Doon Gibbs (BNL). In the past year, the CRO group or their representatives have worked on developing a paradigm for implementing nanosafety requirements at the Laboratories, developed a position paper on the Future of the National Laboratories, and developed a Laboratory Director position on the future need for nuclear energy. Their primary interface in DOE is with the principal deputy in the various research program offices.

The Chief Operations Officers (COO) Working Group advises the NLDC on issues and improvement opportunities related to the management and operation of the National Laboratory infrastructure. The COO evaluates resource impacts of administrative and regulatory requirements to facilitate productive and cost-effective utilization of the DOE laboratory system; promotes practices based upon performance-based management; and shares best practices and lessons learned. In the past year, the COO group or their representatives have interfaced directly with the operations representatives from each of the three Undersecretaries as well as the directors of the various administrative support groups in DOE. They have provided specific input on reducing regulatory burden across the complex, developing contractor assurance models that support the relationship between DOE and the laboratory contractors, and implementing requirements on nanosafety and energy efficiency goals.

The Chief Information Officers (CIO) Working Group advises the NLDC on issues related to computing, information processing and cybersecurity. They serve as a forum for communication and coordination of the major activities in scientific computing and information processing throughout the DOE National Laboratories. During the past year, they provided specific input and detailed comments on the technical and management requirements (TMR’s) promulgated by the DOE Office of the CIO (OCIO) and on improving cyber-security performance across the complex. The CIO group has routine interactions with the DOE OCIO and representatives from the three Undersecretaries.

Membership and Leadership

NLDC Membership and Executive Committee>>>

Public Statements / White Papers