Oct 2, 2008

Weapons designer ponders exit strategy

Los Alamos Monitor

Joe Martz has been a man on a mission for the last six months, giving versions of his thoughts about transforming the nuclear weapons complex.

As the nuclear weapons program director at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the intense and articulate Martz not only has a stake in the outcome, he also professes a longstanding commitment for breaking through some of the limitations of current policy.

In simplest terms, he wants to see a high level capability for designing, certifying, developing and producing nuclear weapons in a relatively short time frame, so that the capability itself would serve as a reliable substitute for at least a large portion of the actual weapons.

If that could be done, Martz and others believe it would maintain a quality of deterrence that has prevented the use of nuclear weapons in international conflicts while sustaining 60-years of reduced war fatalities in the world.

Recently Martz has given a talk to young people at a CafĂ© Scientifique, to the general public via several interviews with the media and to a group of peers at a two-day workshop on nuclear weapons issues sponsored by the University of New Mexico’s Center for Science, Technology and Policy.

On Tuesday, he gave a version of the talk, with some new bonus material, to a seasoned group of nuclear policy experts and advocates at the Los Alamos Committee for Arms Control and International Security.

“I led the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) design team at LANL,” Martz said, referring to a controversial project of recent years to upgrade and optimize a smaller, safer, more secure and less expensive line of nuclear weapons.

While it has won only mixed political support from Congress, the RRW project persists as a recommendation for dealing with an aging nuclear stockpile, while reducing the footprint and increasing the long-term efficiency of the nuclear weapons complex as a whole.

The LANL team’s RRW design ultimately lost out to a blueprint produced by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. But Marz’s involvement in the process of designing a nuclear weapon according to an exacting set of new requirements started him thinking about a related question.

“Could we look at (nuclear) deterrence in the same way?” he wondered. Could there be a way to substitute a set of analytic criteria for optimal deterrence in place of the technical design requirements for a line of weapons. And might those criteria be compared in a way that would lend itself to a meaningful evaluation over a wide range of postures and strategies, including some that did not assume that nuclear weapons were part of the answer?

Deterring the foe
Among the deterrence paradigms that Martz plugged into his systems analysis were such concepts as “nuclear supremacy,” “mutual assured destruction” (the cold war formulation); the current regime of “tailored deterrence” in which a counter is devised to each threat; “threshold deterrence,” which holds a minimum asset at risk as insurance against an attack; and the Indian model of “virtual deterrence,” which counts on being able to reassemble components quickly from a distributed stockpile.

With a “capability-based deterrence,” Martz added, it is assumed that the nature and timing of the threat provide a long enough warning, to build a response.

A final form of deterrence was considered – “deterrence without nuclear weapons,” which assumes that others can be induced to do the same thing and that sufficient deterrence can be provided by conventional forces, economic or diplomatic pressures, and so forth.

Each of these forms of deterrence was then graded according to dozens of criteria, which included such things as protecting national security interests, effectiveness in enhancing the nation’s reputation and costs.

An elaborate matrix was then devised and the criteria were variously weighted to score different deterrents.

Allowing for some subjective elements, and sprinkling in some important assumptions, such as that “the world situation remains as it is today Martz concluded that “tailored” and “capability-based” deterrents were the most robust systems, that stood out among different weighting schemes.

“Tailored deterrence” pretty much describes our current, post cold war posture. “Capability-based deterrence” is similar to what the National Nuclear Security Administration has been advocating in its complex transformation plans.

Martz suggests much more thought and effort be given to “capability” as a way to continue to reduce the stockpile, while maintaining an effective deterrence.

The work itself (the ability to respond to a given threat) becomes more important than the product of the work (the nuclear weapons), according to his formulation.

The audience was constructively skeptical about many aspects of the proposed concept.
“I don’t understand the agility advantage,” Charlie Bowman said, “Russia has plenty of weapons; even China has a few hundred.”

“By getting the nuclear material under control and out of the pipeline through continuing negotiations with Russia and others,” Martz said, the country would have a hedge against rapid reconstitution.

“That’s the long pole in the tent,” he said, suggesting that other defense studies support the concept of a seven-to-10 year window for a resumption of a nuclear build-up.

Half of that time period is assumed for identifying the threat and developing the will to do something about it.

Others questioned the ability of any of the deterrents to work against terrorists or any group with “nothing to lose.”

“That’s a topic for another discussion,” Martz said.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

 
Steve Pearce Proposes
2000 New Jobs for LANL

Sept 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Rod Antone
(505) 414-7701


Albuquerque – Congressman Steve Pearce has proposed 2,000 new jobs for Los Alamos National Laboratory. Pearce said, "Now is the time for boldness and leadership." Pearce went on to say, “Los Alamos National Laboratory ended WWII. Los Alamos National Laboratory was key to ending the Cold War. I know Los Alamos National Laboratory can help end The War on Terror and America’s energy dependency on foreign oil.”

Why LANL, why 2,000 new jobs? After a careful review of an August 2008 report signed by the directors of 10 national laboratories, including LANL’s director, Michael Anastasio, entitled “A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy”, Pearce said, “I am convinced that the epicenter of research for America’s energy and defense is Los Alamos and New Mexico.”

Pearce said, “Los Alamos National laboratory is the only national laboratory with the capability of resolving huge research problems like energy needs, defense and cyber security with a completely integrated approach.”

Pearce proposes 1,000 new jobs to address the threat of cyber terrorism, and another 1,000 jobs to research alternate sources of energy. The first 1,000 jobs would help the lab strengthen its core defense mission while the next 1,000 would enable the lab to develop nuclear, solar, wind and hydrogen cell technologies.

Pearce went on to say, “It is impossible for the lab to meet the expectations of the America public for defense and energy independence without growing Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is necessary to increase funding and staffing beyond current levels to meet the defense and energy challenges of the hour. I will carry this fight in the U.S. Senate as Pete Domenici did.”

These new jobs will repair the economic damage to Los Alamos, Espanola and other Northern New Mexico communities caused by Tom Udall’s vote to cut lab funds last year. Pearce emphatically highlighted, “Tom Udall voted twice to cut $400 million from LANL’s budget. 2,000 employees at LANL would have lost their jobs and another 4,000 to 6,000 more people in the region would have lost their jobs too, that’s a crime”, said Pearce. Referring to Tom Udall’s “duck and hide posture” toward the employees at LANL Pearce went on to say, “Tom Udall voted to cut 2,000 jobs from LANL without ever holding a town hall meeting with the citizens of Los Alamos and Espanola to ask his constituents what they thought of his plan to vote them out of work.”

”Senator Pete Domenici endorsed me, because he knew I would continue support in the U.S. Senate for LANL and its mission.” Pearce said.

"Militant terrorism is at our doorstep, the energy crisis is hurting every New Mexico family and Russian aggression is on the rise. Now is not the time to shrink the mission at LANL and cut 2,000 existing jobs. Now is the time to expand LANL with 2,000 new jobs that will defend America and end our dependence on foreign energy. I am proud of the citizens of Northern New Mexico and their contribution to our defense and energy needs. It’s time they be rewarded for their dedication and hard work."

Anonymous said...

Wow! I bet that would pass!

Thanks for posting that, Mr. Pearce.

Anonymous said...

Why not 4000 jobs? Who could argue about the LANL program accomplishment of the last thirty years? We get our energy from CO2 laser fusion, don't we? And we're protected from missile attack by the neutral particle beam, aren't we? What about our brilliant successes in isotope separation and magnetic confinement of plasma? I challenge the blog readers to add to this evidence of success.

Frank Young said...

Well, now that we're off topic, any news on DARHT lately?

Anonymous said...

Show me the money.

Anonymous said...

Joe M. is a "Weapons designer"?

Anonymous said...

No.

And he doesn't refer to himself as such, either.

Anonymous said...

Joe Martz is the classic "legend is his own mind." He is too young, too inexperienced, and much too admiring of his own analysis (and therefore too convinced of his rightness), to be taken too seriously at this point in his career. He just hasn't "paid his dues" in his (chosen, not credentialed) field. At this point, he is more than a little dangerous to listen to seriously. If you know him, you know what I mean. He is known for shutting off all discussion that doesn't agree with his opinion. He may be very intelligent, and is clearly gaining in perspective, but his temperament and demeanor indicate he is "not there yet"... Some know that he has gotten himself in some nearly catastrophic trouble in recent years based on his hubris.

Anonymous said...

From National Security and Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, September 2008, pages 17 -18:

Concerns with the Stockpile

The stockpile stewardship program, initiated in the mid-1990s, has largely been successful. At present, our judgment is that the nuclear warhead stockpile remains safe, secure, and reliable. [11] For the near-term, the administration continues to have confidence that warhead life extension programs for W76 warheads for Trident II missiles, and for B61 gravity bombs, are needed and are wise investments to sustain existing nuclear capabilities. However, the current path for sustaining the warhead stockpile-successive refurbishments of existing Cold War warheads designed with small margins of error-may be unsustainable in the future. Specifically, the directors of the nation´s nuclear weapons laboratories have expressed concern about the ability to ensure confidence in the reliability of the legacy stockpile over the long term, without nuclear testing.

Successive efforts at extending the service life of the current inventory of warheads will drive the warhead configurations further away from the original design baseline that was validated using underground nuclear test data. Repeated refurbishmments will accrue technical changes that, over time, might inadvertently undermine reliability and performance. The skills, materials, processes, and technologies needed to refurbish and maintain these older warhead designs are also increasingly difficult to sustain or acquire. Some of the materials employed in these older warheads are extremely hazardous. Moreover, it is difficult to incorporate modern safety and security features into Cold War-era weapon designs.

As a consequence, the stockpile stewardship program is expanding its range of component and material testing and analysis, and is likely to identify more areas of concern. However, without nuclear testing, at some time in the future the United States may be unable to confirm the effect of the accumulation of changes to tested warhead configurations. As the United States continues to observe a moratorium on underground nuclear testing, certification of the safety, surety, and reliability of the existing stockpile of weapons (with their narrow performance margins) will become increasingly difficult. In the near-term, the United States has no choice but to continue to extend the life of these legacy warheads.

However, the Departments of Defense and Energy are pursuing an alternative to this strategy of indefinite life extension; namely, the gradual replacement of existing warheads with warheads of comparable capability that are less sensitive to manufacturing tolerances or to aging of materials. The generic concept is often referred to as the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). The RRW concept promises other attractive benefits such as improved safety and security, production processes that are less complex, elimination of many hazardous materials in existing warheads, and production of less hazardous waste. [12] The directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories believe that modern scientific tools developed for the stockpile stewardship program, including advanced computer modeling and experimental facilities, will enable design and certification of the RRW without nuclear testing.

In the longer term, RRW will be key to sustaining confidence in the U.S. nuclear stockpile. Assuring allies and convincing adversaries of the safety, security, and reliability of U.S. nuclear forces will, in in turn, contribute to the full range of political and military benefits of U.S. nuclear deterrent. Allies with continued confidence in U.S. extended deterrence will have less motivation to develop nuclear weapons of their own. Moreover, once the RRW is deployed in significant numbers as replacements for low-margin-of-error legacy warheads, some or all of the reserve warheads retained in the stockpile for reliability purposes can be retired and dismantled without incurring significant risk.

-------

[11] For example, see the written statement of Thomas P. D´Agostino, then acting Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator, NNSA, before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, March 20, 2007.

[12] It has become clear that the security threat to nuclear warheads has fundamentally changed. The security features in today´s stockpile are commensurate with the technologies available during the Cold War, and with the threats of that time. Modern safety and security features, mandated today, cannot be fully incorporated through retrofits to the legacy stockpile. Modern safety and security technology is best incorporated into the stockpile during the design phase, when there is flexibility in accomodating new features.

(http://www.defenselink.mil/news/nuclearweaponspolicy.pdf)

Anonymous said...

10:08......



Meow!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, 6:36 PM. This is an interesting article indeed. 2000 new jobs at LANL to support "A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy". I guess nobody told Wallace who announced in his all hands meeting yesterday that LANS is no longer interested in actinide science. You see, Terry, Mike and the ADs all supported killing the Actinide Science Grand Challenge. Here is your new headline Pinky, "No more actinide science at LANL (the former actinide Lab)".

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

Why not 4000 jobs? Who could argue about the LANL program accomplishment of the last thirty years? We get our energy from CO2 laser fusion, don't we? And we're protected from missile attack by the neutral particle beam, aren't we? What about our brilliant successes in isotope separation and magnetic confinement of plasma? I challenge the blog readers to add to this evidence of success.

10/2/08 8:16 PM"

I know I should not feed trolls but
they are kind of fun in a sad and twisted way.

Hey idiot every time you say this same crap, people come back with a list of lab accomplishments over the last 20 years that have been highly valuable to the nation.
I will only name one which is the work done on HIV. You simply ignore the facts and repeat yourself. I bet you thought your hero Palin won the debate as well? Once again go crawl back under that rock of yours and leave the world alone. Facts, baby facts!!!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Martz the one who had all of MST's morale funds taken away several years ago for buying unallowable "gifts"?

Anonymous said...

10/3/08 8:36 AM

Hey aren't you the ones that invented Tang and velcro, NOT!!! HIV is still killing people did you invent that too or thought you cured it.

Anonymous said...

"Weapons designer ponders exit strategy" (Monitor News Title)

What an ironic title! From all that I currently see at LANL it appears that a lot of scientists are currently pondering an "exit strategy"... from a sinking and demoralized LANL.

The rise of self-promoters like Joe Martz under LANS' management are part of the problem. LANS may like putting him out on the coffee talk circuits, but he's doing more damage than good with his syrupy self-righteous views and his hokey "vision quests" in channeling the ghost of Hans Bethe.

Anonymous said...

Steve Pearce got the magnitude of his employment figure correct but got the direction all wrong. Sen. Udall will correct Pearce's mistake for him when he takes St. Pete's vacated seat. Udall will work hard to put a minus sign in front of this 2000 figure.

LANL is probably going to get screwed going forward and any Happy Talk from local politicians is not to be trusted.

Anonymous said...

"10/3/08 8:36 AM

Hey aren't you the ones that invented Tang and velcro, NOT!!! HIV is still killing people did you invent that too or thought you cured it.

10/3/08 11:01 AM"

Looks like you could be nominated or the 2008 Foot-in-Mouth Awards.

Anonymous said...

Joe Martz is a maverick, just like Sarah Palin and John McCain. In fact, I believe I just heard Palin espouse the very same views as Joe Martz during Thursday's VP debate, except she was channeling the ghost of Edward Teller. I wonder which ghost Mike Anastasio likes to channel?

And perhaps it's time to put all of LANL on a "vision quest" for more project funding before the operating budget completely disappears.

Frank Young said...

7:19 AM,
Send me some more information please. The "Grand Challenges" website is internal. Are they that embarrassing? I'm imagining they hype the importance of problems LANL is staffed and equipped to tackle, with further funding of course.

Anonymous said...

Mikey channels Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Anonymous said...

Exotic Car Owner's Code of Conduct

Joe Martz (nsxguy@RT66.com) has owned 2 NSX's plus several Italian exotics. He posted this to the Ferrari list and I thought it was worth repeating.

1. My cars will always be clean and well presentable. I will ensure that my cars are in the highest state of mechanical condition and maintenance. Exotics are indeed rare, and to see one is a special experience. I have an obligation to present these cars to others at a high standard.

2. I will always be polite, courteous, and friendly. I will not talk down to or ignore anyone, and I will cheerfully answer all questions. Exotic owners wrongly suffer from a "snob" label. By actively and always countering this, I will strive to change this perception among all whom I meet.

3. Where feasible, I will encourage inspection and observation of my cars. If someone is clean and courteous, I will encourage them to sit in my cars. I will actively encourage photographs. In particular, I will encourage this among younger children. On occasion, I will offer rides to admirers under the appropriate circumstances.

4. With one exception (see 5, below), I will obey all traffic laws or local traffic customs. Especially, I will pass other cars only in marked, safe passing zones, and I will always respect traffic speeds and noise ordinances within city limits. I will always drive in a defensive manner to protect myself and my vehicle. I will not initiate nor will I respond to challenges to race my cars on open public roads.

5. Operating my cars as God, Enzo, and Ferruccio (or Colin) intended will occur only on open, rural routes free of heavy traffic or on appropriately designated race courses. On public highways, I will use my highest powers of observation and diligence to ensure that I place myself, my vehicles, and the public in no additional danger. I will be aware of the environment and road conditions, and I will not drive at excessive speeds on unknown or suspect roads. When approaching blind corners or hills, I will assume that an obstacle exists and will take appropriate defensive measures.

6. I will share my passion and excitement for exotic cars with others through community service and charitable events. I will actively seek out community organizations such as local police departments and schools and offer my cars for use in events such as DARE programs, homecoming parades, pep rallies, etc. Many communities have "Make a Wish" foundations for sick children. If given the opportunity, I will offer a day with myself and my cars to such organizations in an effort to brighten an otherwise trying life for someone less fortunate than I.

7. I will be honest and open with other enthusiasts, and I will accurately represent my cars to prospective owners and buyers. I will keep complete records, and I will always follow up with purchasers of my cars to ensure that they continue to gain maximum satisfaction and appreciation for cars that I have owned and serviced.

8. I will always have a smile on my face when inspecting, driving, or showing my cars to others. I will never forget how fortunate I've been to own such automobiles and I will constantly remind myself that the future is uncertain, and that today may be as good as it gets

(Copyright 1998, Joe Martz)

Anonymous said...

12:11, you must have cut off #9, "I will use my car to attract women who would otherwise be beyond my reach."

Anonymous said...

Come on Steve, since you are dreaming ..hecks lets ask or 10,000 jobs, he he he then we can all have a good laugh. Sounds good on paper but you have absolutly no clout..

Anonymous said...

Dear 8:36,

I worked as a PI at LANL for more than 20 years and for 15 years elsewhere. I can assure the other readers that you won't be able to find your list and that LANL, dollar for dollar is one of the least productive research institutions in the country. It becomes particularly obvious when you compare the non-weapons budget with LANL patent license fees. The yield is less than a tenth of any university with a reputation for research.

Anonymous said...

"Dear 8:36,

I worked as a PI at LANL for more than 20 years and for 15 years elsewhere. I can assure the other readers that you won't be able to find your list and that LANL, dollar for dollar is one of the least productive research institutions in the country. It becomes particularly obvious when you compare the non-weapons budget with LANL patent license fees. The yield is less than a tenth of any university with a reputation for research.

10/3/08 2:43 PM"

This is total bulshit. You say this crap over and over. It was shown many times on this blog and previous blogs that LANL is the most productive lab in the DOE complex. It was shown time and time again that in terms of science that LANL has the most publications and citations of any institute in the United States. The crap you bring about patent license fees makes no sense because you comparing to the engineering departments at the Universities. LANL is a science lab not an engineering lab. Everyone already knows this, where have you been?

You sound like that wingnut Chriss Mechels, any relation?

Anonymous said...

3:24, actually the top grossing university licenses are typically on biomedical patents. So I guess LANL should open a med school?

Anonymous said...

Responsive infrastructure: 18 years to make a pit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they could cure my anal glocoma with a med school. I've been having a real hard time seeing my ass going to work there everyday.

Anonymous said...

10/3/08 2:43 PM

Don´t forget the Manhattan Scientifics/Metallicum and their acquired patent license rights from LANL to manufacture and market these new super-strong "nanostructured" metals, of doubling strength, lighter as well, i.e. aluminium as strong as steel, and a future use in the medical device industry, sports industry, transportation industry, and defense industry.

(www.mhtx.com)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the exotic car posts on Joe Martz, 12:11 PM.

You've confirmed my suspicions that Martz is largely a blow hard, self-righteous ass. Where does he get the money to pay for all of those expensive sports cars, I wonder? The 2006 LANL salary list shows him making $151K. That's not enough mulla to be owning all of these exotics. Is he a Trust Fund Baby?

Anonymous said...

"anal glocoma"

lolrof... thanks, I needed that :)

Anonymous said...

"In simplest terms, he (Martz) wants to see a high level capability for designing, certifying, developing and producing nuclear weapons in a relatively short time frame, so that the capability itself would serve as a reliable substitute for at least a large portion of the actual weapons."

Geeze, that's the same sort of vision that NNSA's Tom D'Agostino has and guess what? It will never happen. Congress has made it clear that they won't fund it. The time and energy used to keep bringing this dead vision back to life is being wasted. NNSA will be lucky if Congress even gives their weapons complex enough money to keep LEP going on life support.

Anonymous said...

After all the hard work LANL has done to get rid of about 2000 employees over the last two years, Pearce suddenly wants to pump it up by the same amount? I don't think so. It would only end up causing painful RIFs when the money never showed up from Congress to pay for these new positions.

Anonymous said...

"Dear 8:36,

I worked as a PI at LANL for more than 20 years and for 15 years elsewhere. I can assure the other readers that you won't be able to find your list and that LANL, dollar for dollar is one of the least productive research institutions in the country. It becomes particularly obvious when you compare the non-weapons budget with LANL patent license fees. The yield is less than a tenth of any university with a reputation for research.

10/3/08 2:43 PM"

Hey ass troll it looks like you got slapped down yet again. Facts will do that to every time. Thanks for playing. ;)

Anonymous said...

It is weird that Martz is still being referred to as "the nuclear weapons program director" and as the guy who led the design team for RRW. He was given the job title Program Director when he was appointed "Capture Manager" for RRW. That was essentially a marketing strategy role, not a true leadership position over the design activity. And in the past two years he has not "directed" any part of the NW program, he's just kind of been floating around in this weird new spokesmodel role. Joe - please get a real job.

Frank Young said...

Somebody just tossed me a really hot potato. I haven't rejected it yet, but I really need to learn more before I publish it. Send me an email or another comment with more details please.

Anonymous said...

Frank, please be extra careful about that "hot potato". If you don't feel comfortable posting material, then don't do it. Use common sense and trust your intuition.

I sometimes worry that there are certain people who would love to try and get this blog shut down by passing you material that should never be posted in public.

Comprende?

Anonymous said...

Joe Martz is the classic "legend is his own mind."

Yes, and with an ego to boot, promoting himself as Mr. RRW, when he is nothing but a third tier scientist who refuses to engage with anyone he sees as a threat, and cannot answer serious technical questions from his peers. Hard to imagine why he has not ended up in Washington working at NNSA in Defense Programs, where he would fit in perfect with all the other phonies.

Anonymous said...

Frank: Re: "Hot Potato"

Go for it. If you don't have a security clearance, you can't even be told that something is classified, let alone be expected to protect it. If it was given to you anonymously, so much the better. If your gut really hurts releasing it, then don't. If it concerns a particular person or activity, without technical details, it probably isn't classified, and your conscience should be your guide,

Frank Young said...

It's not classified. If it was I would not only not publish it, I would not have even mentioned it. Sorry for the suspense, I'll say more if and when I can.

Anonymous said...

OK, Frank, now you are really beginning to perk up everyone's interest.

Anonymous said...

Even if Indians as a class were not specifically covered in the lawsuit, the females among them should have been included.

Anonymous said...

There is no story. Frank just made this up to boost circulation!

Anonymous said...

I want the "Hot Potato"! Hope it's really hot!

Anonymous said...

I want the "Hot Potato"! Hope it's really hot! (4:41 PM)

And slather it with lots of creamy butter and extra sour cream. Don't be stingy with the bacon bits, either.

Load it up! We're all starving for a hot story that fills us up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, off-topic. With reference to the headline, I was given the false impression that Martz was leaving Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...

Joe Martz is Los Alamos born and bred. No chance he'll leave. He'd be a babe "lost in the woods" elsewhere, where he'd actually have to produce something instead of just talking.

Anonymous said...

Dang it, Pinky. The potato's cold.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:27 PM - this is what a microwave is good for - to heat up that potato when the time is ready. Just wait - like a microwave pizza, I am sure it will be really, really good. :-)

Anonymous said...

...so the hot potato was really a frost-bitten tomato that thawed in your hands and piddled on your shoes?