THE major mission of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is national security, with a principal emphasis on providing a secure, safe, and reliable nuclear deterrent. We also contribute to national efforts to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Our core competencies, developed because of our focus on the nuclear weapons program and our current responsibilities in the Department of Energy's Stockpile Stewardship Program, are acknowledged by the U.S. national defense leadership to be an important science and technology resource for the Department of Defense as well. Blue Ribbon panels, the Congress, and key defense managers historically have recognized the value in applying DOE's weapon technologies where they can advance conventional warfare capabilities. This is a mutually beneficial strategy. When Livermore weapons technology "spins off" to address a DOD requirement, in many cases there is also a return benefit ("spin-back") to DOE, wherein Livermore's core competencies have been enhanced.|
Our DOD work is usually performed under Work for Others (WFO) programs, which are directly funded by the DOD, and sometimes under Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) programs where both DOE and DOD provide funds. In either case, DOD and DOE are mutually served. For example, Livermore develops sophisticated structural dynamics codes that can address the safety of nuclear weapons that are struck by fragments or projectiles. These are three-dimensional problems that require three-dimensional codes. These same codes were developed to enable DOD to address the lethality issues of hit-to-kill missiles used to intercept reentry vehicles. They also aid the design of three-dimensional, explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) used in flyover shoot-down munitions. In turn, DOE benefits from these applications. We couple the modeling and simulation efforts with experiments, which helps to establish benchmarks for the codes and often drives significant improvements and new code developments.
We at Livermore take the view that our role in the national security arena naturally includes working with DOD, in particular helping to fill an important gap for DOD in the weapon research, development, demonstration, and product implementation process. In general, universities, DOD laboratories, and not-for-profit research centers are depended upon to insert new science and technology into a pipeline that leads to production of warfare materials. DOD relies heavily on universities to provide fundamental basic research (designated as DOD 6.1 programs), and the DOD laboratories of the military services generally focus on early applied technology (DOD 6.2 programs, for example). Industry provides the output of the pipeline. DOD relies on defense industries for engineering development and production (DOD 6.3 and beyond) such as munitions, armored vehicles, planes, ships, and electronic systems.
The national laboratories help to fill the gap between basic research and manufacturing in the research-to-implementation cycle (see figure). We integrate basic research developments into focused, applied technology solutions, oftentimes by applying innovative, "out-of-the-box" concepts. Livermore's demonstrated role is to keep the flow going by filling in research as needed, integrating and applying science, maturing technologies, demonstrating proofs of concept, and teaming, where appropriate, with DOD entities and handing off to defense industry.
|The full scope of our DOD activities naturally involves a wide spectrum of technologies and deliverables. We provide expertise in conflict simulation; codes for hydrodynamics, electromagnetics, and explosive response and performance; new explosives; sensors; laser technology; new materials; manufacturing technology; missile defense; and space technology and forensics, to name a partial list. The article entitled " Leveraging Science and Technology in the National Interest" describes some of this work in detail, demonstrating some of the ways we leverage technologies for dual national security benefits. The projects represent a small portion of our DOD work, which is spread over almost all Laboratory directorates and involves multidisciplinary efforts.|