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The director of Los Alamos National Laboratory took a message of consensus to Washington, D.C., this morning in a talk that was webcast live by the Woodrow Wilson International Center.Michael Anastasio asked the audience of policy makers and national reporters to help rebuild the partnership between government and the science and technical community that served the nation in the last half of the 20th century, but has lost cohesion in recent years.The lab director called the combination of emerging security challenges along with legacy issues of the cold war “daunting,” but he said national policy has been driven by “a focus to the near term, with discreet and narrowly defined deliverables.”He called for an inspired vision, a plan of action and sustained investment in the human and physical infrastucture that might be needed, especially in the transitional area between pure research and applied science.In answer to a question about the future of the Reliable Replacement Warhead, he said Washington’s disposition of the controversial new nuclear warhead design that has been advanced by the administration was an illustration of the point he was trying to make.The appropriation process, he noted, had withdrawn funding from the project.“Of course, we will not work on that because it’s been zeroed out,” he said.
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