President-elect Donald Trump has been surprising many with his various selections to fill his administration leadership. In addition to a number of non-politician business people, Trump has picked some politicians such as former Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry.
The selection of Mr. Perry to lead the energy agency would offer a rich paradox: During a televised debate in 2011, when he was seeking the Republican nomination, Mr. Perry intended to list the Department of Energy among agencies he wanted to eliminate, but he could not remember its name.
While Texas is rich in energy resources and Mr. Perry is an enthusiastic advocate of extracting them, it is not clear how that experience would translate into leading what is also a major national security agency. Despite its name, the Department of Energy plays the leading role in designing nuclear weapons and in ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation’s aging nuclear arsenal through a constellation of scientific laboratories.
About 60 percent of the Energy Department’s budget is devoted to managing the National Nuclear Security Administration, which defines its mission as enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.