The Energy Department is making broad changes with a reorganization that shuffles offices under two new undersecretaries—one for energy and one for science—in what agency leadership calls an effort to improve efficiency.
“We are aligning the agency’s organization to its statutory requirement and its mission,” Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette told Bloomberg Environment in an exclusive interview.
“This president and secretary have made it very clear that we will pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy that is, in fact, the historical mission of the department,” he said. DOE staff was told about the reorganization for the first time in an internal meeting at 11 a.m. today. Brouillette said no employees will be laid off in this reorganization.
The reorganization, effective today, involves moving offices from the previous “Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy” into two separate offices: the “Office of the Under Secretary for Energy” and “Office of the Under Secretary for Science.”
The Office of the Under Secretary for Energy will retain its applied science programs—the offices of Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability—as well as the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. All of these were previously under the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy.
Additions include the Loans Program Office and the Policy Office, which used be called Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.
The Office of the Under Secretary for Energy replaces the Office of Under Secretary for Management and Performance. Administrative functions of the management and performance office, including human relations and hearings and appeals, have moved under the leadership of Brouillette, the No. 2 at the agency under Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Under Secretary for Science will oversee the Office of Science and the 17 national laboratories. It also will oversee the offices responsible for nuclear weapons cleanup—the offices of Environmental Management and Legacy Management—were moved from the previous Office of Under Secretary for Management and Performance.
The department will return to three undersecretaries, as it was during the tenure of Steven Chu, the first energy secretary in the Obama administration. Mark Menezes is the undersecretary for energy (the No. 3) and Paul Dabbar is the undersecretary for science (the No. 4). They were sworn into their positions in early November. Frank Klotz, an Obama holdover, remains in his role as undersecretary for nuclear security overseeing the National Nuclear Security Administration (the No. 5).
“We will remove some of the administrative functions from the under secretaries, who are charged with execution of primary missions within the department. To the extent we can increase efficiency by moving these functions to the Deputy Secretary, it allows people to focus on the jobs they were hired to do,” Brouillette said.
The Department of Energy Organizational Act was signed into law in 1977, and defines the responsibilities for the department, and the three undersecretary roles.
Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz combined the two of the undersecretary roles into one position, Undersecretary for Science and Energy, previously held by Lynn Orr. Moniz left the position of the third undersecretary, for the Office of Under Secretary for Management and Performance, vacant.
BY: Rebecca Kern
Dec. 15, 2017, 11:16 AM