March 22, 2018
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), discussed challenges in the Department of Energy’s atomic energy defense programs with the Honorable J. Richard Perry, Secretary Of Energy.
As prepared for delivery:
The Committee meets today to hear testimony on the Department of Energy’s atomic energy programs. We welcome our witness, Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
The DOE houses a number of defense programs, such as the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Office of Environmental Management, that are under the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee.
Even so, a hearing like this is rare. Our Committee has not called a Secretary of Energy to testify for over ten years. As such, the DOE’s defense programs, including the cleanup of nuclear waste, have gone without sufficient oversight.
Chairman McCain has asked that we read into the record a statement that he would like to make concerning this hearing today:
“The Department of Energy's defense atomic energy programs are critically important to our national security. Unfortunately, in recent years the DOE has run up a long list of cost overruns, schedule delays, and violations of safety and security. Put simply, too often they have failed to meet mission requirements. With billions of dollars in DOE funding authorized by the NDAA each year, the Senate Armed Services Committee has the opportunity to conduct the kind of oversight that will help the Department correct course.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for NNSA and Environmental Management totals over $20 billion. That comprises about 70 percent of the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for FY19. It is up to us to ensure vigorous oversight of these taxpayer dollars.
Secretary Perry, we thank you for appearing before our Committee and look forward to today’s discussion of the complex issues at hand and your plans to improve efficiency and accountability of the defense programs within your Department.