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July 3, 2000

UC President writes to lab managers and employees

By Jeff Garberson
UC Office of the President

The President of the University of California sent letters to all UC managers and employees at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories in late June, discussing his thoughts, concerns and expectations on the role that the laboratories play in national security (read letters).

President Richard C. Atkinson sent the letters to the directors of the laboratories who in turn distributed it to managers and employees. It is the first time that Atkinson has written directly to managers and employees. The UC system has operated the laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy for more than 50 years.

In the letter, Atkinson told managers, "The recent security incident at Los Alamos is a stark reminder to managers at all levels of the seriousness of the national security endeavor entrusted to your supervision." He wrote, "We need the commitment of every manager to ensure that all aspects of security related to your respective areas of responsibility are appropriately designed, effectively implemented and consistently practiced.

"Over the coming months, we will assess carefully our security practices and how the culture of our workplaces affects security. We must have your participation and leadership in support of timely and effective security improvement."

He concluded, "I have enormous confidence in your ability to identify and change any practice or attitude that is not fully consistent with the protection of classified material. We must quickly reinvigorate our security posture in order to regain the nation's full confidence in the University's and the laboratories' role in national security."

In a separate letter to employees, Atkinson said, "I believe that it is important for each of us to demonstrate now more than ever that the nation's trust has been well placed."

He continued, "The University, through you, can continue to perform a critical national mission in a matter unmatched by any other institution."

Atkinson noted, "No one should assume that security is someone else's responsibility. It is essential that everyone bear this responsibility, especially those of you who have firsthand knowledge of the importance of the laboratories' national security mission."

Letters from both C. Bruce Tarter, director of the Livermore Laboratory, and John C. Browne, director of the Los Alamos Laboratory, were also sent to all employees.

Under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, UC manages Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The laboratories conduct broad and diverse basic and applied research in nuclear science, energy production, national defense, and environmental and health areas.

The letters were sent only to the Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories because they are specifically charged with protecting the nation through advanced research in national security.

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