LANL director to retire in June

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Michael Anastasio has been the lab director since 2006

By The Staff

Since June 2006, Michael Anastasio has been the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

On Wednesday afternoon, in a letter to LANL employees, Anastasio, 62, said he was going to step down from the post on June 1. Anastasio thanked LANL employees for their many accomplishments, tireless efforts and continued support over the years. Anastasio also serves as president of the Los Alamos National Security LLC, the company that manages and operates LANL for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“It has been a great privilege to serve as your laboratory director during some of the most gratifying, as well as challenging, years of my career,” Anastasio said in a LANL press release. “Every day as lab director has afforded me the opportunity to encounter brilliant science and dedicated people committed to the great responsibilities the country has entrusted to us.”

Norman Pattiz, who chairs the LANS Board of Governors said a search for a successor will begin immediately.

In his letter to LANL personnel, Pattiz said that Anastasio’s “leadership of the Livermore and Los Alamos National laboratories is a legacy that is unique and marked with exceptional distinction.”  

Anastasio was director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 2002 to 2006.

“Congratulations to Michael on his exceptional career,” newly elected New Mexico governor Susana Martinez said in a statement released Wednesday night.  

“We were quite fortunate to have him serve as the director of Los Alamos National Laboratory for the past four-and-a-half years. He has been a superb steward of LANL’s resources and mission and he successfully started the development of new and substantial facilities that have further increased the importance of LANL to the future of our state and country. Michael is a solid and professional scientist, who was a talented and effective overseer of the largest employer in northern New Mexico. I wish him a relaxing and refreshing retirement.”  

Other politicians weighed in on Anastasio’s accomplishments.

“Mike Anastasio brought a strong sense of science, purpose and mission to Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingamann, D-N.M.  “He provided tremendous leadership at a time when LANL was shifting to new management, helping ensure a smooth transition. In recent months, he provided very valuable testimony to the senate on the START treaty with Russia. I look forward to continuing to work with him over the next six months before he begins a new chapter in his life.”  

“Dr. Michael Anastasio has served the nation with great distinction throughout his career working in our national labs,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-.NM. “As a physicist, Dr. Anastasio worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he rose through the ranks to serve as director. At the helm of LANL in New Mexico, he has used his skills as both a true leader and scientist to further the mission. I am grateful for his service and wish him luck in his new endeavors.”

NNSA also recognized Anastasio and his service as part of the nuclear security enterprise.

“I want to personally express my deepest appreciation to Mike Anastasio for his exceptional service to Los Alamos National Laboratory, to the National Nuclear Security Administration and to the country,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “Under his leadership, Los Alamos has made major contributions to our national security, and helped keep the American people safe. I am incredibly grateful for his counsel over the years and consider him a true servant to the nation.”

Anastasio began his career at Lawrence Livermore in 1980 and rose to become associate director for defense and nuclear technologies.

While in that position, Anastasio was instrumental in the development and execution of the national Stockpile Stewardship Program, which uses a fundamental science-based approach to sustain the safety, security and effectiveness of America’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

He has served on boards and committees including the United States Strategic Command Strategic Advisory Group, National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism, the California Council on Science and Technology, the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology and the Department of State’s International Security Advisory Board.

Anastasio has taught at Brooklyn College of City University of New York and performed research in theoretical nuclear physics at the Center for Nuclear Studies in Saclay, France, and at the Nuclear Research Center in Julich, Germany.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in physics from Johns Hopkins University and earned a master of arts degree as well as his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the State University of New York, Stony Brook.