A troop of arms-control experts is planning to ride to the aid of the Department of Energy's embattled national laboratories. The new U.S. Committee for the National Laboratories, announced this week, hopes to help the labs restore their reputation as guardians of national security in the wake of a string of espionage and mismanagement scandals.
"The labs have been subject to a lot of attacks, and not enough people are coming to their defense," says national security consultant Bill Courtney of DynMeridian in Alexandria, Virginia, one of the organizers of the nine-member committee. In contrast, he notes, flocks of outside supporters rally to the Pentagon's side in times of need.
Courtney says the nonprofit group--led for the time being by attorney and former government arms-control expert Thomas Graham--has been blessed by lab officials and expects to raise funds from corporations, foundations, and individual members. Among its first tasks, he says, will be "to acquaint people with some of the good things the labs are doing."