From/MS: Michael R. Anastasio, A100
Date: September 6, 2007
SUBJECT: FY08 Budget Uncertainties
As you are aware, the budgeting process for LANL is long and complicated. This year is no exception. Although I had hoped that the Laboratory budget uncertainties would have been resolved by now, that is not the case. In fact, despite the efforts of the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and our congressional delegation, our budget will likely be subject to a continuing resolution for several months. This creates a significant problem since it is unknown when a budget will be approved or what the budget will be. We believe the magnitude of the problem ranges from a best-case scenario flat budget to a budget cut by more than $350 million.
Last night I received a note from NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino expressing his concerns about the uncertainties associated with the fiscal year 2008 budget and the potential for a continuing resolution scenario.
Tom's note, which went to all NNSA sites, said:
Since we have no ability to estimate how long we may have to operate under these conditions, we have to anticipate that it will be for an extended period of time. This situation unfortunately will cause some significant impacts to our sites' operating budgets and could affect our workforce. In addition, at a few of our sites, even if the impacts of a continuing resolution are avoided, changes to missions and work for other programs will likely cause workforce impacts in FY 2008.
Thus, as a hedge against the uncertainties of the budget and its timing, we need to begin planning for a possible restructuring of our work force. I have said before that we have had no plan for a reduction in force (RIF), nor were we planning for a RIF. The steps we have taken over the last year have served as a hedge against employee layoffs. These actions include cutting non-personnel costs, reducing spending and managing attrition across the Laboratory. But given the current budget uncertainty and given that the biggest cost for the Laboratory is personnel, these steps may not prove to be sufficient.
We are just beginning the planning process and there is a wide range of scenarios for which we must plan. While you can expect to hear and read estimates regarding possible employee impacts from a variety of sources there is no way to project specific outcomes this early in the process.
Under section 3161 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1993, the Secretary of Energy approves and implements a Work Force Restructuring Plan whenever there is a determination that a change in the work force is necessary at a defense nuclear facility. The purpose of this plan is to mitigate the socioeconomic effects of prospective budget reductions and resulting work force restructuring on affected contractor and subcontractor workers and on our communities. You can find more about 3161 plans within the
DOE Web site.
Delaying such prudent contingency planning only compounds the problem. Thus, I have formed a team who will meet with DOE and NNSA beginning next week to start developing a Work Force Restructuring Plan. Additionally, while we're initiating this planning process because of our current budget situation, we must keep in mind our prospects for future years. This plan will also put us in a better position to deal with any budget uncertainties in the future.
It is important to keep in mind that this is a planning process and that we have not yet worked out the details of our plan. Our preparations will be grounded in fairness with a lot of care and thought behind them. Looking at the Laboratory as a whole, our plan will focus on preserving the right jobs and people so that the Laboratory can successfully carry out its missions.
We are early in the planning process and I don't have many answers or even know all the questions that may be asked, I wanted to inform you at the outset, and I will continue to keep you informed as the process moves forward.
I find this personally difficult. And I understand that these decisions affect individuals, families, and entire communities. While this is distracting, we cannot let the anxiety and uncertainty created by this situation divert us from ensuring that our best and brightest successfully carry out our missions and serve the national interest. Our vision remains to be the premier national security science laboratory for the 21st century. We will continue to make limited strategic hires during this period as well as give our raises this year, paying special attention to ensure that our best people are paid the appropriate salaries.
I would like to close with a safety and security message. With the anxiety these uncertainties will surely create, now more than ever it is critical that we look out for each other's safety and security and take time to think before we act.