U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette continues to shake up his multibillion-dollar Energy Department, this time reworking its policy office and downsizing staffing there, according to an email obtained by the Aiken Standard.
The policy office currently reporting to the under secretary of energy, Mark Menezes, will be moved into Brouillette's portfolio and rebranded as the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy. The "streamlined" office – requiring a smaller staff – will more effectively and with more agility handle all policy at the department, the Tuesday, Jan. 28, memo explains.
"This future restructure will result in movement of some of the current (Office of Policy) staff to other organizations within DOE," the internal message reads.
The same email offers a list of seven people who will work intimately with Brouillette, including Larry LeGree as a senior adviser for nuclear security affairs and Noelle Spencer, who joins the department from the office of Vice President Mike Pence.
The changes come after Brouillette, who succeeded former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, put Menezes in charge of the Energy Department's operations, save for the weapons-focused National Nuclear Security Administration. Menezes will oversee "all aspects of human capital, information technology, cyber security, acquisition, and real property," according to a Jan. 10 email sent to Energy Department workers, a significant boost to his authority and power.
In a mid-January interview in North Augusta, Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar said delegating the responsibilities to Menezes made sense. The two worked closely under Perry.
The Energy Department is in charge of the Savannah River Site, the 310-square-mile nuclear complex about 30 minutes south of Aiken.