Webster takes over top weapons position at lab

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LANL > Leasure picked as principal associate director for operations

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan announced Friday that, after nationwide searches, Robert Webster has been selected to be the laboratory’s next principal associate director for the weapons programs, and Craig Leasure has been selected as the new principal associate director for operations.
In his new role as Weapons Program leader, Webster will be responsible for the development and execution of LANL’s primary mission, assuring the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
That program is the primary component of the laboratory’s $2.2 billion FY15 budget.
“Webster is a 26-year veteran of the weapons program here at Los Alamos and a national leader in stockpile stewardship,” McMillan said. “He brings a clear vision for mission-science integration, insights on tackling key challenges and strong relationships with key internal and external stakeholders that are critical to sustaining our mission vitality.”
Since 2012, Webster has served as the associate director for weapons physics, with responsibility for the vision, execution and integration of three programs: Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC), Science Campaigns (SC), and the Inertial Confinement Fusion program in weapons science.
Webster has held many leadership and management positions within the Weapons Physics directorate and is highly regarded across the National Nuclear Security enterprise for his expertise in simulation, theory and experimental programs.
He is credited for shaping the direction of supercomputing at Los Alamos and was a driver in the acquisition of the Roadrunner supercomputer. He served as the science advisor to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s deputy administrator for Defense Programs in Washington, D.C. He was also a founding member and the first chair of the Predictive Capability Framework council, which supports the NNSA in developing the decadal view of required scientific advances for NNSA Defense Programs.
This work contributes to the Stockpile Stewardship Management Plan, which is a recurring report from NNSA to Congress that outlines the direction of the stewardship program.
“It will be a true honor to lead and work with the great people in the Weapons Program to address the increasingly complex challenges of the national nuclear weapons program,” Webster said.
Webster holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, a master’s degree in electrical engineering and applied physics from Case Western, and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Purdue University.
Leasure, as operations leader, will work to enable mission delivery through driving productivity and innovation in all aspects of operations, business systems, and information systems.
Leasure will oversee a total operations budget of $900 million and a workforce of over 2,700.
“Leasure has an extensive understanding of the breadth and depth of the laboratory and the intersections of mission, science and operations,” McMillan said. “His work during the past two years as acting principal associate director for Weapons Programs adds to his extensive portfolio of experience. I value his leadership as we take our operations to the next level. He brings the focus and credibility needed to drive facility and infrastructure improvements, and advance our safety culture and environmental stewardship.”
Leasure has served as the acting leader for weapons since 2013 and spent the previous 20 years at Los Alamos in a series leadership roles with increasing responsibility ranging from group leader for Environmental Chemistry to office director for the Planning and Integration Office for Nuclear Weapons Program, and deputy associate director for Security and Facility Operations to deputy principal associate director for the Weapons Program.
Prior to coming to Los Alamos, he worked for Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Company at the NASA White Sands Test Facility as a leader with the test department.
“I’m looking forward to working with the strong management team and talented employees who are part of the operations directorate,” Leasure said.
Leasure holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Florida State University, a Master’s in Chemistry from Eastern New Mexico University, and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from New Mexico State University.