How it all works: From policy to programs

Neile Miller

Senior Director for Business Operations, Mission Support and Test Services, LLC, (MSTS), Nevada National Security Site

Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2021 at 09:00 am Pacific Time (US and Canada) via Zoom

If you are an NSF member, you will receive an invitation by email to this online event. Please check your email and RSVP your attendance. If you would like to attend this meeting, become a member today!


This is the second program in NSF’s new partnership with Mission Support and Test Services (MSTS) series. MSTS is the managing contractor for the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), formerly the Nevada Test Site, located outside Las Vegas, and owned by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Department of Energy. Our NSF-MSTS series will highlight Nevada’s role in global security through programs, workshops and other discussions about nuclear policy and security, counterterrorism, climate and energy security, and other timely topics. We welcome our new NSF members from MSTS and Las Vegas and look forward to your participation in NSF program and events.

“We will take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, while ensuring our strategic deterrent remains safe, secure and effective and that our extended deterrence commitments to our allies remain strong and credible. And we will engage in meaningful dialog with Russia and China on a range of emerging military technological developments that implicate strategic stability.” (Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, Biden-Harris Administration, March 2021)

In our NSF program in February, we got an excellent early look at the Biden-Harris national security team and strategy from our ever-knowledgeable NSF Program Committee members, Keith Hansen and Rae Huffstutler. Proving that NSF is always one step ahead, the Biden-Harris Administration released their Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (called NSC-1) a few days later. You can see the full document on the White House website: Biden-Harris NSC-1

Digging further into the nuclear policy issues for a new Administration is always a challenge with details rarely available until the first Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). With many familiar and experienced national security hands at the helm in the Biden-Harris Administration, the first NPR will likely move faster than usual. In anticipation of that, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a thoughtful webinar in early February that included a conversation with former Undersecretary of Defense, Michele Flournoy. For all you dedicated NSFers who are eager for homework before our next program, I recommend listening to the Carnegie webinar at: Nuclear Policy and Posture in the Biden Administration

As the nation shifts from one Administration to another significant national security policy shifts, and even dramatic course corrections, are not unexpected. That said, programs at the national security agencies that are expected to implement these policy changes cannot always adjust course at the tip of a pen. This is especially true for our nuclear security programs.

When I asked our speaker, Neile Miller (MSTS, Senior Director for Business Operations and former NNSA Acting Administrator) what a shift in nuclear policy meant for the nuclear and other national security programs at the Nevada National Security Site, I heard her pause just long enough to grab her White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) hat off the shelf. After blowing the dust off both her OMB and NNSA hats she likened adjusting course for nuclear programs to steering a battleship – slow and very risky. If fuel for the battleship, delivered via a budget pipeline from Congress, runs low the battleship may find itself adrift on the high seas without a policy rudder.

To put some meat on the policy bones that we are very fond of discussing at NSF, Neile will share her experience and insight on what it takes practically to turn policy into programs and the perils of piloting a national nuclear security agenda when both the Executive Branch and Congress also have their hands on wheel.

We welcome your participation in this event and your questions to our presenter. Remember that our Zoom webinars are open to the first 100 registrants, so please register early.

If you decide later that you are unavailable, please delete your registration to allow others to join.


Neile Miller is Senior Director of Business Operations for Mission Support Services (MSTS), the contractor managing the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), serving as the chief strategist and lead for government affairs. Miller is former Principal Deputy and Acting Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Department of Energy (DOE). Prior to joining NNSA, she served two tours in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), responsible for programs at DOE, Department of Defense, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. After leaving government service, Ms. Miller worked in the private sector providing large and small businesses with strategic insight and organizational guidance. Miller holds a master’s degree in international affairs and economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College. She lives and works in Washington, DC area.

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