Sandia News


Message from the president

Paul Hommert

Welcome to the 2015 edition of the Labs Accomplishments, a compilation of some of the best work we have done at the Laboratories over the past year. As you look through this year’s accomplishments, I’m sure you’ll share the pride I feel in being part of an organization that serves the nation across such a wide swath of complex technical challenges.

Impressive as this list of accomplishments is, it is by no means a comprehensive picture; it would take hundreds of pages just to summarize our work over the past year, and even then would be incomplete because it wouldn’t address some our most important accomplishments, sensitive work that cannot be shared in an open publication.

In our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, our Laboratories Leadership Team noted, “Our unique mission responsibilities in the nuclear weapons program create a foundation from which we leverage capabilities, enabling us to solve complex national security problems.” This collection of accomplishments vividly demonstrates that the ideals expressed in our mission statement are realized every day in our laboratories, our offices, and our test facilities across all of our sites.

On the wall of my office I have a small framed print of the words President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University in 1962: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” I think of those words often because they remind me of what we do here at Sandia — the nation asks us to do the hard things, to take on the daunting challenges we are uniquely qualified to address.

Our eight mission areas are amply represented here: We are making important progress in our core nuclear weapons mission and are instrumental in providing policy makers with technical assessments of existing and emerging nuclear threats. Our researchers are at the forefront of efforts to foster nonproliferation and reduce global nuclear dangers, and we are supporting our warfighting capabilities with innovative technologies. In the increasingly important arena of cyberspace, our experts are seen as leaders in developing the tools and technologies to defend and protect our nation’s vital cyber infrastructure. In a world where technical challenges honor no national boundaries, our people are in the vanguard of addressing global chemical and biological dangers and securing a safe and sustainable energy future.

Finally, as you consider these accomplishments, I ask you to think about the people behind them. These are, by and large, team accomplishments, realized by a diverse workforce working with the best tools and resources the nation can provide.

It has been my greatest privilege during my tenure as Laboratories director to share these accomplishments with our customers in Washington and elsewhere, to say, “This is what it means to provide exceptional service in the national interest.”

— Paul Hommert, Sandia President and Laboratories Director

Laboratories Framework

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Today, Sandia faces new challenges resulting from the totality of our work. Sandia is engaged in the significant demands of the nation’s nuclear weapons modernization program while continuing to conduct an extraordinary range of activities in broader national security areas. More than ever, we must effectively manage the Laboratories’ capabilities and mission commitments to strengthen the core mission work while simultaneously continuing to advance our other missions. We developed a new Laboratories framework to capture the entirety of our work while positioning the Laboratories to evolve and bring greater stability to our broad national security role. The new Laboratories framework, shown above, provides a basis for describing Sandia’s mission and capability space and for prioritizing the work of the Laboratories. Three key characteristics — synergy with nuclear weapons capabilities, national security impact, and strategic value to the nation to ensure Sandia’s enduring impact — were used to identify seven integrated missions, in addition to the nuclear weapons core mission. Together, all eight mission areas are supported by a robust foundation (see below) that enables Sandia’s success as a sustainable 21st century, broad-spectrum national security laboratory.

— From Sandia’s 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan

Labs foundation underpins mission areas

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The Laboratories’ foundation — the very base that gives our institution its energy, meaning, and uniqueness — is composed of our people, research, facilities and tools, and capabilities. In keeping with our vision to be the nation’s premier science and engineering laboratory for national security and technology innovation, we recruit the best and the brightest, equip them with world-class facilities and tools, and build upon long-standing research by advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, giving rise to unique capabilities that differentiate Sandia’s ability to deliver its mission.


You’ll see two sets of acronyms following most of the accomplishments in this document. The first set, following the center numbers in parentheses, indicates which of Sandia’s program management units (PMUs) the work most directly supported. The PMU acronyms are:

  • NW: Nuclear Weapons
  • DSA: Defense Systems & Assessments
  • IHNS: International, Homeland, & Nuclear Security
  • EC: Energy & Climate
  • IMS: Integrated Mission Support

The second set of acronyms, in brackets, indicates in which of Sandia’s mission areas the work was completed. Those acronyms are:

  • NW: Nuclear Weapons
  • RGND: Reduce Global Nuclear Dangers
  • NAW: Nuclear Assessments & Warnings
  • Cyber: Cyberspace
  • SDP: Synergistic Defense Products
  • RGCBD: Reduce Global Chemical and Biological Dangers
  • SSEF: Secure and Sustainable Energy Future
  • LDI: Leveraged Defense Innovations
  • LF: Laboratories Foundations