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AM OS D LOS A L TABLE R S R OUND O E IR CT Bret Knapp, Principal Associate Director for Weapons Programs Almost 70 years ago [July 16, 1945] Los Alamos conducted the world’s first nuclear weapons test and started the Nuclear Age, putting us on a path of no return and helping us end WWII. Since that time, Los Alamos has become known as the world’s center for nuclear weapons. Los Alamos designed the bulk of the stockpile, and we continue to keep the certification responsibility for those weapons. Out of the Weapons Program have grown lots of different areas of LANL technical expertise and science that are critical to national security. Those areas include biology, national intelligence, global warming and climate change, seismology, and computational science. Today, Los Alamos is known for the quality of its science in general. Laboratory Directors Pete Nanos, Bob Kuckuck, Michael Anastasio, and Charles McMillan have all signed Annual Assessment Letters regarding the health of the nuclear stockpile weapons that were designed by Los Alamos. This roundtable, moderated by Bret Knapp, principal associate director of the Weapons Program at the time of the 2nd Los Alamos Primer, explored the directors’ views, opinions, and concerns regarding the aging stockpile; the challenges created by the moratorium on underground testing; and the challenges confronting the Laboratory in its efforts to maintain its scientific and engineering capabilities for addressing issues in national security. (Note: Directors Sig Hecker and John Browne, who also signed Annual Assessment Letters, were unable to attend. Bret Knapp is now acting director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.) National Security Science • February 2014 Each of the directors speaking today was a director during the era of stockpile stewardship. Each went through his own periods of turmoil and stress at the Lab and found ways to lead the Lab through traumatic change—political and technical. I want to personally thank each of them. Director Pete Nanos (2003–2005) Every American has to worry about this institution and the importance of the science done here. People are the most important part of that, and Los Alamos and Johns Hopkins [Nanos is currently at JH] are competing for the same talent: postdocs in the hard sciences in their late 20s who are in the top 10 to 20 percent in their field. It’s important for Los Alamos to win that competition, but right now Johns Hopkins is winning. What the Lab has to do is show young talent a future with work that is relevant and exciting. It has to provide the opportunity for new people to do high-risk, high-payoff work with recognition and rewards. The best and the brightest want to be at the forefront, taking on the toughest problems. 35