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Associate Laboratory Director, Weapons Production

As Associate Laboratory Director for the Weapons Production, John Benner directs programs to assure the safety, security, and effectiveness of the systems in the nation’s nuclear stockpile.


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John Benner

John Benner

John Benner is the associate Laboratory director for Weapons Production (ALDWP) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In this role, he has responsibility for the production and evaluation of plutonium pits, nuclear weapon detonators, and other nonnuclear components. ALDWP also oversees plutonium processing and disposition, manufacturing of power supplies for NASA deep space missions, surveillance, nuclear materials management, and waste operations.

Prior to taking on his current role, Benner was the executive officer to the deputy Laboratory director for Weapons (DDW). He was responsible to the DDW for integrating and aligning activities across the weapons program.

From 2012 to 2017, Benner served as the Laboratory’s associate director for Weapon Engineering and Experiments (ADW) and chief engineer for Nuclear Weapons. In these roles, Benner led all weapons engineering, explosive science, and testing activities at the Laboratory. He oversaw the management and execution of weapons modernization activities and the management of support for Los Alamos stockpile systems.

From 2006 to 2012, Benner served as the Weapon Systems Engineering (W) Division Leader, responsible for all weapons engineering activities at Los Alamos, including assessment, refurbishment, certification, and supporting R&D for Los Alamos–designed systems in the enduring stockpile.

From 2002 to 2006, Benner led the W76-1 life extension program at Los Alamos during development engineering and into production engineering.

From 2019 to 2020, Benner was a senior technical advisor to the deputy administrator for Defense Programs at NNSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. From 2017 to 2019, Benner was the vice president and chief operating officer for MSTS, the management and operating contractor for the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). In this role, he was responsible for operational and technical integration of all experimental activities across the NNSS site.

Benner holds a master’s of science degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from West Virginia University.