Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, resigned Friday.
The NNSA oversees the work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and other nuclear weapons sites across the nation. The NNSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, maintains nuclear warheads, produces fuel for the nuclear navy, and works on nuclear nonproliferation, among other activities.
Gordon-Hagerty, who was also under secretary of energy for nuclear security, became the first woman to lead the NNSA in February 2018.
It’s not clear why she resigned Friday or whether her resignation was voluntary.
Defense News reported that the resignation was driven by almost a year of clashes between Gordon-Hagerty’s office and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, including over budgets.
Bloomberg reported that Gordon-Hagerty resigned after being told by Brouillette’s office that President Donald Trump had lost faith in her ability to do her job, but some administration officials were disappointed that she’d been pushed out, saying that she was widely viewed by those in her field as capable.
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, called Gordon-Hagerty an “exemplary public servant and remarkable leader,” and he was critical of the leadership change and of Brouillette. Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Brouillette “effectively demanded” the resignation of Gordon-Hagerty.
In an interview with Defense News, a Department of Energy official denied that there were major personality clashes between Gordon-Hagerty and Brouillette, aside from the natural tensions of budget discussions, and the official denied that Gordon-Hagerty was pushed out of office.
In a press release Friday, the NNSA said Gordon-Hagerty oversaw the modernization of its 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,” the press release said.
William Bookless, who has been serving as NNSA principal deputy administrator for the last year-and-a-half, is now acting NNSA administrator. Bookless has more than 35 years of experience in the nuclear security field, including more than three decades as a senior physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, according to the NNSA.
NPR reported that Gordon-Hagerty was one of three departures from the Trump administration abruptly announced after the election last week. The other two were Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Chatterjee will remain at FERC, an independent agency, as a commissioner, NPR said.