While the Department of Energy Inspector General was investigating School of Mines president Heather Wilson's involvement in illegal lobbying activities for the Sandia National Laboratories, Wilson was serving on a sequester-delayed advisory panel charged by Congress with reviewing and making recommendations for improving the National Nuclear Security Administration's oversight of the nuclear weapons design and production done at Sandia and elsewhere.
What do you think former Republican Congresswoman Wilson, chafing under snoopy regulators, and her colleagues on the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise recommended?
Instead of calling for stricter contract supervision — an idea long urged by the Energy Department’s office of inspector general — the study recommended the Energy Department reduce regulation, cut the number of DOE field office personnel who supervise the contractors and abolish the current system of tying part of the contractors’ pay to their performance.
The advisory panel, created by Congress as part of the Defense Department funding bill in 2013, said in its final report released in December that the management contractors were burdened with “onerous oversight,” muddled accountability and a “dysfunctional” management culture at DOE [Douglas Birch, "Advisory Panel Tells Congress the Nuclear Weapons Complex Is Too Big and Too Old," Center for Public Integrity, 2014.12.17].
The Panel’s self-interested premise that the Nuclear Security Enterprise needs a new foundation is wrong. First, call it what it is, not some kind of innocuous sounding “enterprise,” but rather a massive research and production complex that is pushing an unaffordable trillion dollar modernization program for nuclear warheads, missiles, subs and bombers. This will divert taxpayers’ dollars from meeting the real national security threats of nuclear weapons proliferation and climate change. The Panel failed by not arguing for prudent maintenance of the stockpile, instead supporting a perpetual work program of risky life extension programs for existing nuclear weapons that will enrich contractors [Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch director, "NNSA Governance Advisory Panel Condones Diminishing Federal Oversight Of Failing Contractors," Nuclear Watch New Mexico, 2014.12.12].
Wilson and her colleagues apparently believe making life easier for her consulting and contracting pals is more important than accountability and American security.