|Charles McMillian to head Los Alamos National Laboratory
"We selected the leader who could best build on the scientific and technological momentum at Los Alamos," said Pattiz. "Charlie possesses the necessary skills and experience to lead the laboratory into a new era of unparalleled excellence in service to the nation. It's a tall order — finding someone who's highly committed and credible in the world of nuclear weapons, global security, and other science missions. In Charlie, the laboratory has that leader."
"In the course of a rigorous and competitive search process, Charlie McMillan emerged as the clear choice to lead the Los Alamos National Laboratory, an institution that plays a critical role in preserving and enhancing our national security," said UC President Mark Yudof. "I'm confident that Charlie's leadership skills, his knowledge of the nuclear weapons complex, his integrity and the respect he has earned, along with his commitment to the ongoing scientific and technological excellence of the lab, will prove to be of great value to our nation and the research under way at LANL."
McMillan will succeed Michael Anastasio, who announced in January his plans to retire from the lab. McMillan becomes the 10th director in the laboratory's nearly 70-year history.
McMillan, 56, is the lab's principal associate director for the Weapons Program, responsible for the science, technology, engineering, and infrastructure enabling the laboratory to fulfill its nuclear deterrent mission. He has more than 28 years of scientific and leadership experience in weapons science, stockpile certification, experimental physics, and computational science. His career spans both Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
McMillan was selected following a rigorous and competitive national search led by a search committee appointed by the University of California. The candidates interviewed by the search committee had a diverse range of exceptional experience and skills gained in national laboratories, research universities and other scientific institutions.
"I'm truly honored and thrilled to be leading Los Alamos. This laboratory is rich with history, full of intellectual vitality, and singularly endowed with an innovative spirit," said McMillan. "As director, I'll seek to cultivate a vibrant, creative, and agile scientific enterprise. The goal: Continue the Los Alamos legacy of scientific breakthroughs that advance our national and global security interests while offering the promise of broad and beneficial applications for society."
McMillan came to Los Alamos in 2006, following the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selection of a new university-corporate partnership — LANS — to manage and operate the lab. McMillan started his career as an experimental physicist at Livermore in 1983. During his two decades there, he held a variety of research and management positions.
He holds a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from Columbia Union College. He has earned two DOE Awards of Excellence, one of them for developing an innovative holographic tool that enhances the ability of scientists to predict nuclear performance.
In his new role, McMillan will oversee a budget of approximately $2.5 billion, employees and contractors numbering some 12,000, and a 36-square-mile site of scientific laboratories, nuclear facilities, experimental capabilities, administration buildings, and utilities.
Pattiz praised outgoing director Anastasio's dedication and 31 years of service to the nation, the University of California, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and LANS. "Mike has led with distinction, shaping the current stockpile stewardship program, ensuring the reliability of our nuclear deterrent, and fostering a climate of scientific excellence that has led to breakthroughs in supercomputing, AIDS research, plant growth, and hydrogen fuel cells."
About Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, the Babcock & Wilcox Co. and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.
Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.
As principal associate director of weapons at Los Alamos, McMillan provided vision and direction for the weapons program, including four weapons systems, weapons physics, engineering and manufacturing. He was principal advisor to the lab director for the Annual Assessment of the safety, security, and effectiveness of nuclear weapons in the nation's stockpile, and he provided technical input to the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, the JASON Defense Advisory Panel, and the U.S. Congress.
Prior to serving as the principal associate director for Weapons Programs for Los Alamos, McMillan was associate director, weapons physics, with responsibilities for design, experimentation and simulation. He managed key facilities, including DARHT and explosive firing sites.
From 1983 to 2006, McMillan held a series of scientific and management positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. From 2001 to 2006, he managed the lab's B-Division, responsible for design, code development and experimental capabilities for Livermore's weapons system. Prior to that, he held key positions in the Advanced Experiments Group and Computational Physics Division.
McMillan is married with three college-age children. He is an avid photographer and an accomplished musician, playing the piano, organ, and recorder. He also has an active interest in astronomy and telescopes. He resides in Los Alamos.
McMillan was selected following a rigorous and competitive national search to identify a broad and diverse set of candidates. The search was led by the University of California and commenced in February 2011. A search committee of 16 highly respected research scientists and administrators from academia, industry and government, chaired by Pattiz, conducted the search and candidate interviews. The U.S. Department of Energy approved the selection.
The search committee was advised by a screening task force composed of eminent university and laboratory researchers and administrators. The search committee also received support from an executive search firm. Some 150 individuals applied or were nominated for the director position through this process. The external and internal candidates interviewed by the search committee represented a wide range of exceptional national lab, academic and scientific experience.