U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette has delegated a consequential swath of power and responsibility to Mark Menezes, the current under secretary of energy, a new email reviewed by the Aiken Standard shows.
Brouillette – who succeeded the 14th secretary of energy, Rick Perry – has afforded Menezes authority to direct the Energy Department's operations, save for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the weapons-and-nonproliferation arm that often operates in its own sphere.
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. "I have also delegated to him responsibility for exercising emergency authorities as well as rule making activities."
Beyond that, Brouillette noted, Menezes will also serve as the department's chief acquisition officer, chair of the Credit Review Board and chair of the Energy Systems Acquisition Board – all in conjunction with his buffet of under secretary of energy duties.
Menezes' newfound powers are a significant step up for him and come at a time when the deputy secretary of energy position, a top-tier post, is vacant. (Brouillette, the former deputy, was confirmed as energy secretary one day after Perry departed.) Reports that would be made to the deputy secretary – again, excluding the NNSA – should now be made to Menezes, Brouillette explained in his Jan. 10 email.
The changes will ensure continued "operational effectiveness," the email states.
As an under secretary, Menezes, a Louisiana State University graduate, serves as the Energy Department's principal adviser on energy policies and technologies. Both Menezes and Brouillette have Hill and lobbying experience.
"As others have said before me, these are both exciting and challenging times to be in the energy space," reads a 2017 confirmation hearing statement from the under secretary of energy.
The Energy Department stewards the Savannah River Site, the 310-square-mile nuclear reservation about 30 minutes south of Aiken and neighboring New Ellenton.