Last week, the National Nuclear Security Administration – which works to enhance global security through nuclear deterrence, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, naval nuclear propulsion, and national leadership in science, technology, and engineering – hosted a group of governors’ staff at its Emergency Operations Center to discuss opportunities to partner with governors to advance the President’s nuclear security agenda. Given the reality of 21st Century radiological and nuclear threats, it is now more important than ever for NNSA to utilize the broad range of assets that federal, state, and local governments can mutually offer to ensure the security of the United States. Last week’s forum provided the opportunity to discuss how the NNSA and states are already in partnership and set the stage for continued future dialogue regarding the most effective and efficient ways that federal and state partners can leverage individual capabilities to advance common goals.
As the NNSA works to ensure the safety and security of our Nation from radiological and nuclear threats, we also leverage our fundamental science, technology, and engineering base to solve some of the country’s most formidable challenges. We are not advancing these national goals alone, however; we are doing so in partnership with states, industries and universities across the Nation.
By partnering with states, NNSA is able to apply its technology and expertise to promote economic development within states. One such successful private - public partnership is the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, which provides state tax credits in exchange for NNSA to provide technical expertise and assistance to New Mexican small businesses attempting to overcome challenges.
Likewise, NNSA’s partnerships with industries have driven efficiencies and have transitioned technology from prototype to commercialization. NNSA’s reinvestments into the economic and technological advancement of our communities, through innovative programs such as LabStart – a program that puts national venture capital leaders to work creating strategic high-tech companies – prove the success in the economic relationships that exist between NNSA and its communities.
As NNSA recognizes that among our most valuable assets are our workforce and ability to innovate, NNSA has collaborated with state universities to ensure a vigorous inflow of progressive scientific and technical ideas. For example, NNSA’s engineers and physicists are partnering with 90 researchers in nine state universities all over the country to develop technologies to advance the nation’s ability to detect, diagnose and treat diseases. Though these partnerships, NNSA continues to invest in America’s future workforce by introducing university students to the interdisciplinary nature of the world’s most advanced scientific developments.
These are only a few of the examples of the many instances in which NNSA leverages its science and engineering base to solve some of the country’s most pressing challenges in partnership with states, industries, and universities. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with Governors and their staff to keep our country safe from radiological and nuclear threats and to progress the manufacturing, entrepreneurism and innovation goals of our country.
Claire Dunne is the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the National Nuclear Security Administration