Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty resigned this month as the U.S. Department of Energy under secretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees both national labs in Livermore.
The announcement on Nov. 6, which included no specific reason for her resignation, came less than five weeks after Gordon-Hagerty spent two days in Livermore touring various facilities at both Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
Gordon-Hagerty, who was selected by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2018, was the first woman to hold the national position. A physicist by training, Gordon-Hagerty worked at LLNL earlier in her career, which included multiple roles in the public and private sectors.
"As administrator, Ms. Gordon-Hagerty oversaw the modernization of NNSA's infrastructure and the strengthening of its world-class workforce. She also made significant strides in improving NNSA governance and management and demonstrated a sincere dedication to the 50,000 men and women serving in the national security workforce," NNSA officials said in a brief statement Nov. 6.
No reason was given publicly for Gordon-Hagerty's departure, but The Hill reported the resignation came amid tensions with U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement offering support for Gordon-Hagerty as "an exemplary public servant and remarkable leader."
"That the secretary of energy effectively demanded her resignation during this time of uncertainty demonstrates he doesn't know what he's doing in national security matters and shows a complete lack of respect for the semi-autonomous nature of NNSA," Inhofe said.
To succeed Gordon-Hagerty, federal officials selected principal deputy administrator William Bookless to serve as acting NNSA administrator. His appointment aims to ensure "the continuity of NNSA's vital mission to sustain the safety, security and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent and strengthen our national security," according to the NNSA.
Bookless, who has 35 years of experience in nuclear security, had long career ties in Livermore, working more than three decades as a senior physicist at LLNL.