National Lab Director Talks Climate Change, Infrastructure, and More – WSU Insider
More than 125 people packed the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center on the Pullman campus on Wednesday to learn how advances in science and technology are influencing the country’s response to threats ranging from emerging diseases to climate change.
Kimberly Budil, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, delved into these topics and more in her talk – National Security on the 21st.st Century: deterrence, bio-resilience, energy and climate. Budil traveled to the Pullman campus to give the John and Janet Creighton Distinguished Lecture from the Institute for Shock Physics.
Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine demonstrates the scale and diversity of threats that nations must address in the modern world, Budil said. Of particular note are the cyberattacks that can be carried out on aging critical infrastructure and the ease of bringing military assets into space.
“Our old ways of thinking about conflict need to change and evolve and be much more multi-dimensional than they were before,” Budil said.
Budil leads a workforce of 7,400 employees and manages an annual operating budget of approximately $2.7 billion. In her role as Director of the National Laboratory, Budil sets the strategic vision for the laboratory and works to ensure successful programming and operations to advance the country’s science and technology activities.
During his speech, Budil discussed several threats to national security – climate change, nation states and hostile groups, emerging diseases – and how scientific advances are evolving to better understand and respond to these threats. In particular, the use of computing power in modeling the impacts of climate change. Over time, the relatively short forecast lead times currently available will be able to project further and further out, giving scientists and policy makers a better idea of the impact of climate change on specific regions.
Collaboration is also key to achieving scientific and technological advances, both between allied nations and between public and private entities, Budil said.
After his lecture, Budil answered questions from the audience on topics ranging from advances in nuclear fusion power to the response to COVID-19 and how scientists plan to respond to the next pandemic.