National Laboratory Chief Operations Officer


On October 19, 2007, the National Laboratory Directors entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC). The NLDC seeks to advance the various DOE missions and increase the effectiveness of the national laboratories by encouraging collaboration and material support regarding issues and concerns of common interest, and to provide a forum for presenting consensus views on matters that affect effective and efficient mission execution. The NLDC established a standing Working Group of the National Laboratory Chief Operations Officers (hereafter referred to as the “NLCOO”) to advise the Laboratory Directors on operational issues and/or opportunities for improvement.


The NLCOO advises the NLDC and provides an interface to the United States Department of Energy (DOE) on department-wide operational issues and/or opportunities for improvements in environmental, safety, and health, safeguards and security, emergency management, requirements management, training and qualification, nuclear and facility safety, nuclear materials management, and contractor assurance. The NLCOO is also tasked with addressing the resource impacts of administrative and regulatory requirements to facilitate productive and cost-effective utilization of DOE’s national laboratory system; promoting practices based on performance-based management; and sharing best practices and lessons learned.


The NLCOO consists of the COOs or equivalent position for the following national laboratories:

    • Ames Laboratory

    • Argonne National Laboratory

    • Brookhaven National Laboratory

    • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

    • Idaho National Laboratory

    • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    • Los Alamos National Laboratory

    • National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    • National Energy Technology Laboratory

    • Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    • Pacific Northwest national Laboratory

    • Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    • Sandia National Laboratories

    • Savannah River National Laboratory

    • Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

    • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

It is expected that the membership will participate in regularly scheduled meetings in person or by video/telephone conference. Fully authorized delegates may represent members in the meetings.


Decisions will normally be by consensus. Where voting is appropriate, each member laboratory will have one vote. Members may cast ballots during meetings or by electronic mail. Decisions of the NLCOO are not binding on member laboratories unless directed by DOE contract action.


The NLCOO Executive Council consists of a Chair, a Chair-elect, and an Out-going Chair. The Chair may appoint a Secretary who becomes a non-voting member of the Executive Council. The composition of the Executive Council is diverse and includes balanced representation from DOE’s National Laboratory program areas.

The normal term of office begins in January and is for two years. Guided by the need for balanced representation and prior to the end of a term, the Out-going Chair nominates candidates for the next Chair-elect position. At the next opportunity, the full membership considers the nomination(s) and elects the next Chair Elect by a majority vote.


Representatives of the NLCOO are included on DOE’s Laboratory Operation Board (LOB).

The NLCOO Executive Council maintains effective relationships with appropriate DOE Senior Leaders such as the Deputy Secretary (as DOE COO); Deputy Under Secretary for Management and Performance; NNSA and Program Office COOs; the Associate Undersecretary for Environment, Safety, and Health; and the Director of the Office of Management.

A member of the NLCOO Executive Council represents the National Lab Contractors on the DOE Directives Review Board.

The NLCOO Executive Council advises the NLDC on operational issues of interest to the Laboratory Directors. The NLCOO Chair routinely communicates with the NLDC and its other working group chairs.

The NLCOO through its members who also serve in the Energy Facility Contractors Operating Group (EFCOG) Board of Directors will interface on matters of mutual interest and concern to both organizations.

The NLCOO frequently interacts with and engages peers from DOE’s Production Sites. Production sites will be invited to NLCOO meetings whenever the agenda warrants.


The NLCOO will undertake studies and activities as proposed and agreed to by its members. These activities might initiate from within the NLCOO or by request from the NLDC, another NLDC working group, or DOE Leadership. Typically, NLCOO activities are accomplished by sub-groups or focused task teams. Conclusions and recommendations are brought back to the NLCOO members for review and/or concurrence as appropriate.


NLCOO meetings are scheduled by the Chair at times and places most effective for conducting the business and at least twice each year. Members may bring subject area experts or others to assist them as necessary. Meetings are generally considered open unless the Chair deems a closed-session necessary.


Members will cover the labor and non-labor costs of participation. Under special circumstances, the Chair may request cost sharing for technical and administrative support or facilitation of meetings.


This Charter may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the NLCOO members at a regularly scheduled meeting or by email.

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