Editorial: UC Lab Contract Must Reflect Management

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The U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday that it will begin negotiations for a renewed laboratory contract with the UC system - a surprising move given the recent slew of security breaches at the two defense laboratories and a House of Representative subcommitte's recommendation that the contract with the university be terminated. The Daliy Californian continues to feel that the university should not be left responsible for ensuring the security of these laboratories.

The Department of Energy's only demand for renewing the contract, which expires in 2002, is the improvement of security, health and safety, and employee relations at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. National Nuclear Security Administrator John Gordon's suggestions for modification of the contract include the creation of a UC vice presidency position to oversee laboratory management and a management council to advise the UC president on important issues. While the creation of these positions seems sound in principle, it would only create more red tape and do little to improve the security of national defense information.

While keeping the labs under UC management will ensure the continuity and quality of the research at the labs, the university has proven that it cannot handle the responsibility of lab security and should not be given another chance to repeat past mistakes.

In light of the arrest of scientist Wen Ho Lee and temporary loss of nuclear research data over the summer, The Daily Californian thinks the U.S. Government should be a little more careful with America's national security. The Department of Energy must be harsher on the university should future security lapses occur. Otherwise the government should seize full control of the labs' security matters.

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