Sandia Labs News Releases

New Sandia Labs Director named

Former Sandia executive returns to lead the nation’s largest lab

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dr. James S. Peery has been named the next Director of Sandia National Laboratories, the country’s largest National Laboratory. Peery, who began his career at the Labs in 1990, succeeds Dr. Stephen Younger, who is retiring at the end of 2019.

Dr. James S. Peery

Dr. James S. Peery has been named the next Director of Sandia National Laboratories. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories) Click the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Peery becomes the 16th Laboratories Director in Sandia’s 70-year history and will officially lead the Labs beginning Jan. 1, 2020. He currently serves as Associate Laboratory Director of National Security Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Peery’s appointment was announced to the Sandia workforce this afternoon by Stevan Slijepcevic, chair of the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC Board of Managers and president of Honeywell Aerospace Electronic Solutions. NTESS operates Sandia Labs for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc.

“The Board of Managers unanimously selected James following a nationwide search that included a review of more than 80 candidates,” Slijepcevic said. “James rose as our clear choice because of his familiarity with the DOE/NNSA mission, knowledge of Sandia, vast national laboratory leadership experience and deep knowledge of nuclear weapons, cybersecurity, computational science, high performance computing and systems engineering.

“He also has extensive experience in scientific and engineering code development, as well as in technical program management and development,” Slijepcevic said.

Peery said the opportunity of leading the nation’s largest laboratory and the institution where he started his career is an honor.

“Since its beginning in 1949, Sandia National Laboratories has been led by amazing, talented and dedicated people,” Peery said. “I am humbled to become Laboratories Director at a time when Sandia is experiencing a significant increase in work supporting our nation’s nuclear deterrent.  We will continue Sandia’s traditions of delivering on our national security missions, supporting our communities and developing our workforce.”

Although he began his career at Sandia, Peery left the Laboratories in 2002 and served in several leadership roles at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He returned to Sandia in 2007 and was named vice president of Defense Systems and Assessments in 2015. He left Sandia a second time in 2017 when NNSA named NTESS as the Labs’ new management and operating contractor.

“The Nation owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Younger for his contributions to our nuclear security for nearly 40 years,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator.

“As a scientist, civil servant, and senior leader in the Nuclear Security Enterprise, Steve has brought incredible passion and commitment to his work. For those of us lucky enough to have called him a colleague, and those of us even luckier to have called him a friend, he has been a source of reassurance and inspiration,” Gordon-Hagerty said. “I have full confidence that Dr. Peery will be able to pick up where Steve left off and will continue Sandia National Laboratories’ history of successfully fulfilling its mission of ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of America’s nuclear stockpile.”

Younger, who will retire Dec. 31, led the NTESS team that began managing Sandia in 2017.

Slijepcevic said Younger’s retirement brings to a close an exceptional career of service to the nation.

“Steve was a leader of several institutions that are crucial to national security, and we sincerely thank him for his many years of exceptional service to the nation,” Slijepcevic said. “Since May 2017, Steve has led the nation’s premier science and engineering laboratory through unparalleled growth of staffing levels and unprecedented amount of work and focus on hypersonic delivery systems and the nation’s nuclear weapon life-extension programs.”

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

Media contacts: Michael J. Baker, 505-284-1085,; Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 865-574-7308,