Not until Rick Perry is no longer the Secretary. There is simply too large of a 5th Risk catastrophe. Or get former Secretary Moniz’s endorsement 1st.
Excerpt The Fifth Risk
former Texas governor Rick Perry. Perry is of course responsible for one of the DOE’s most famous moments—when in a 2011 presidential debate he said he intended to eliminate three entire departments of the federal government. Asked to list them he named Commerce, Education, and . . . then hit a wall. “The third agency of government I would do away with . . . Education . . . the . . . ahhhh . . . ahhh . . . Commerce, and let’s see.” As his eyes bored a hole in his lectern, his mind drew a blank. “I can’t, the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” The third department Perry wanted to get rid of, he later recalled, was the Department of Energy. In his confirmation hearings to run the department,
Perry confessed that when he called for its elimination he hadn’t actually known what the Department of Energy did—and he now regretted having said that it didn’t do anything worth doing.
The question on the minds of the people who currently work at the department: Does he know what it does now? In his hearings, Perry made a show of having educated himself. He said how useful it was to be briefed by former secretary Ernest Moniz.
But when I asked someone familiar with those briefings how many hours Perry had spent with Moniz, he laughed and said, “That’s the wrong unit of account.” With the nuclear physicist who understood the DOE perhaps better than anyone else on earth Perry had spent minutes, not hours. “He has no personal interest in understanding what we do and effecting change,” a DOE staffer told me in June 2017. “He’s never been briefed on a program—not a single one, which to me is shocking.”
Since Perry was confirmed, his role has been ceremonial and bizarre. He pops up in distant lands and tweets in praise of this or that DOE program while his masters inside the White House create budgets to eliminate those very programs.
His sporadic public communications have had in them something of the shell-shocked grandmother trying to preside over a pleasant family Thanksgiving dinner while pretending that her blind-drunk husband isn’t standing naked on the dining-room table waving the carving knife over his head.
Meanwhile, inside the DOE building, people claiming to be from the Trump administration appeared willy-nilly, unannounced, and unintroduced to the career people. “There’s a mysterious kind of chain from the Trump loyalists who have shown up inside DOE to the White House,” said a career civil servant. “That’s how decisions, like the budget, seem to get made. Not by Perry.” The woman who ran the Obama department’s energy-policy analysis unit received a call from DOE staff telling her that her office was now occupied by Eric Trump’s brother-in-law. Why? No one knew. “Yes, you can notice the difference,” says one young career civil servant, in response to the obvious question. “There’s a lack of professionalism.
Over and over again, I was asked by people who worked inside the DOE not to use their names, or identify them in any way, for fear of reprisal. “People are heading for the doors,” says Tarak Shah. “And that’s really sad and destructive. The best and the brightest are the ones being targeted. They will leave fastest. Because they will get the best job offers.”