Nov 30, 2008

Is this a precursor to eliminating DARHT?

From a comment on the New LANL Deputy Director post:

I was browsing the job postings this weekend and noticed that HX Division Leader is up for grabs again. Hasn't it just been a couple of months since Kathi Alexander was selected as DL? Now she's out, the Division has been moved into Bret Knapp's Weapons Engineering directorate, and the previous two groups (HX-3 and HX-6) have now morphed into four groups, with a grand total of 60 people in them. (Remember when 60 people was considered a smallish group? Now it's a division!) All four groups have acting GL's in place, presumably pending the selection of the new DL. Knapp's deputy, Craig Leasure, is acting DL.

My question: what the heck is going on over there? Is there a "crisis" that's being managed, or was it just deemed necessary to bolster Knapp's fading Weapons Engineering directorate by transferring HX? Or... since Knapp has been raping and pillaging ADWE so effectively, is this a precursor to eliminating DARHT?


Anonymous said...

Hi Frank,
I don't know if this fits in this slot but I thought that it kind of fit the LAB and everything else that is going on. I am a fan of yours and thought you could use a good laugh or perhaps I should say cry:( Do with it what you want. It is making the rounds on the Web. Not sure who penned it but it makes good reading. Or perhaps you have already seen it. Thanks for putting up with us and keeping the blog alive. Hope you have a nice holiday:)

Subject: A Modern Parable


Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (Ford) decided to have a
canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and
hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason
for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior
management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while
the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company
and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not
enough people were rowing.

sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss
to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally
reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents, and 1
assistant superintendent steering manager.

also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing
the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing
Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners, and free pens for
rower There
was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes, and
other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

next year the Japanese won by two miles.

the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted
development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital
investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the
Senior Executives as bonuses and the next
racing team was out-sourced to India.

The End.

something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving
all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying
American wages.

has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants
inside the US. The last quarter's results:

makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

folks are still scratching their heads.


Anonymous said...

Typical LANS stuff. More and more smaller groups. This creates a lot more management positions. They are making group leaders out of people that would not have been team leaders 10 years ago. All that they are doing is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Anonymous said...

LANL workers also carry the burden of over 200 million dollars in additional LANS-related management costs. The University of California ran LANL for 8 million per year, LANS with its exorbitant fee and other punishing tax increases costs LANL over 200 million per year. So not only is the LANL rower struggling with the burden of 8 managers, each manager is tied to a million-dollar anchor.

The new Congress and new Administration can easily fix this mess. Fixing this problem would establish that this sort of corporate excesses will not be tolerated any longer.

Anonymous said...

DAHRT has been an expensive embarrassment to LANL and the DOE. Maybe it is time to just shut it down and cut the losses.

On the positive side, DAHRT has provided lots of promotions and bonuses. Everytime there is a failure there is a new opporunity for a declaration of success.

Anonymous said...

I think that the messes at LANL and LLNL will be remedied in large part by a significant reduction in the nuclear weapons budget. It's not that there isn't important work to be done but there is so much waste.

Anonymous said...

has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants
inside the US.

It would be unfair not to mention that
Toyota located its plants in so-called
"right to work" States - so that Toyota
could not be forced to deal with a union -
namely the UAW. Toyota doesn't pay
"American wages" either - even in the USA.

Anonymous said...

I have headhunters calling me and looking for talent, two this morning.

If you are looking for new work, contact me.

Anonymous said...

Let us all think about what has happened since LANS took over:

1. The management fee went from $8M to $80M.

2. Gross Receipts tax went from $0 to ~$120M.

3. Contributions are now required to the TCP2 pension fund.

4. We went from 4 ADs to 16 ADs.

5. The number of divisions increased three-fold.

6. The number of groups increased three-fold.

7. 2000 LANS and contract personnel lost their jobs.

Now, let us think of all of the good things that happened. They are listed below:

Anonymous said...

Note that DAHRT has really not run very much. They have spent a lot of time fixing its problems. So, maybe if they shut it down, nobody would miss it.

Anonymous said...

The "Modern Parable" is very sad but true. I have seen this type of thinking at LANL for the past decade, but like the Big 3, LANL will fall....and it will happen soon.

Anonymous said...

RE: 12/1/08 9:20 AM

So what. Toyota and the Honda factories have no problem hiring people and still able to turn out a superior product than the big 3. Unions are stupid and have outlived their usefulness. The big 3 are nothing more than a giant benefits and pension plan. Don't even get me started on a bailout.

Anonymous said...

"3. Contributions are now required to the TCP2 pension fund."


Anonymous said...

"What the heck is going on over there? Is there a "crisis" that's being managed.." (Poster)

There is a crisis and it is spreading through LANL like a cancer. It's killing off the lab.

Costs are wacky and completely out of control. Overhead is taking a big bite out of all the incoming funds of projects. Crazy new LANS and NNSA policies are making it harder and harder to get any productive scientific work done.

Mike, Terry and the rest of the executive f*k'ups called LANS LLC should be be relieved of their positions. Instead, LAN's top dogs will all receive a big round of bonuses. More Bechtel managers will be getting sweet heart jobs at LANL in the future. Job standards will be lowered to ease their entrance into the lab.

It's a sick situation.

Anonymous said...

DARHT has fired all the shots that WT has built. Knapp will fix that too.

Anonymous said...

Its a sad state of affairs. The idiots in Cyber Security, CIO et al are all a bunch of nuts and no one has any guts to stand up to these idiots with their phising and bogus attempts at baiting employees. I have decided I am not going to OPEN OR READ ANYTHING that comes from anywhere except my own organization. They have the clueless employees all running around scared to wits about opening or doing anything. Then all this misinformation and contradictions on top of it is insanity. The ENTIRE place, DARHT included is a whole lot of smoke and mirrors and no real work.

Anonymous said...

Today came the first information about the TCP1 pension. The Benefits web page says "as of October 31, 2008 the TCP1 plan has lost 25% of its value" they are preparing the workers for a big pension contribution. They don't say if the losses are just this year but we know they started with about 90% funding from UCRP. I guess that means they are now funded about 68%? Does this mean LANS is in default and the PBGC takes over?

Anonymous said...

You guys don't get it. Bechtel milked Boston's Big Dig for years and only kille a couple of people. Now we're getting another nuclear Navy puke to run the ship to replace Van Prooyen. Why not bring back Nanos and crater this place in nine months?

Anonymous said...

The Pension Act of 2006 requires pensions to be funded at an 80% level by 2011. A pension can make up for losses with company profits (none available in LANL's case) or by taking salary contribution from employees. The Act states that pensions which can't reach a fully funded level must take actions including freezing out the pension and cutting back on future benefits.

You can probably kiss your recent 4% raise good-bye. The salary contributions required for TCP1 may swamp all future raises at LANL. Get ready to feel some significant financial pain.

Over at UCRP they've promised to share the economic pain so that UC employees don't pay for any more than half of the shortfall. Under LANS, employees will likely be responsible for making up the full amount.

We'll soon learn that the DOE's "substantially equivalent" promise made back in 2005 was a big lie.

Anonymous said...

Following the Toyota thread, I think the Japanese can make just about any car any color without a US Government bailout. Nuclear weapons...well, not so much.

Frank Young said...

Ousted Japan Air Force Chief Calls for Nuclear Weapons Debate

Anonymous said...

How long do you think it would take Japan to design and build a nuke?

Anonymous said...

I'd bet the 'design' portion is already done.

Anonymous said...

Well, if RRW and recent pit production is any indication, one thing Los Alamos has consistently proved is that having nuclear weapon "designs" on a shelf doesn't mean much in the way of deterrence.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where the self-appointed experts here get their information regard the LANS pension plan. The plan was ~125%funded initially, not 90% and also initially, the fund performed very well. Yes there have been losses, and yes, if the market does not rebound, contributions are possible. Remember we are also required to consider employee contributions if UCRP does, and it looks like they will. (Although they said this before and then changed their minds.) Pension cost are allowable expenses under the contract, so several options are possible in the future and all will likely be considered.

Anonymous said...

"We'll soon learn that the DOE's "substantially equivalent" promise made back in 2005 was a big lie."

One quick step to help close the gap would be to eliminate or reduce the promised retiree medical benefit.

Anonymous said...

The big 3 are nothing more than a giant benefits and pension plan. Don't even get me started on a bailout.

You may not be started on a bailout; but
Speaker Pelosi is:

"Pelosi Says Bankruptcy by Automakers ‘Not an Option’"

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she believes either Congress or the Bush administration will step in to aid domestic automakers because bankruptcy is “not an option.”

“I believe that an intervention will happen,” Pelosi said at a briefing in Washington. “Everybody is disadvantaged by bankruptcy, including our economy, so that’s not an option.”

Pelosi said Congress will either approve new loans for the auto industry or the Bush administration will provide funding through the $700 billion financial-markets rescue plan approved by Congress last month.

Anonymous said...

"The plan was ~125% funded initially, not 90%... remember we are also required to consider employee contributions if UCRP does" - 8:21 AM

It was announced back in '06 by LANS that the TCP1 pension was starting out under-funded after the transfer of cash from UCRP.

And where would any employee contributions you speak of come from? The LLC $80 million annual profit fees? The thread bare LANL operating budget? Or maybe from those charitable executives over at Bechtel who don't mind sharing their other sources of corporate profits with the LANL employees?

I sincerely hope 8:21 AM isn't a member of the LANS TCP1 pension. If so, then it's a good indication that the sheeple-ization process at LANL has progressed much farther along than anyone could ever imagine!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Kathi Alexander got the heave-ho in this shake up?

Anonymous said...


One of our blog pension experts may have said back in 06 the TCP1 pension plan was underfunded upon the transfer of funds. I challenge to provide any proof that LANS made such a statement.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Kathi Alexander got the heave-ho in this shake up?

Does anyone know why every manager in the entire HX Organization got the heave-ho in this shake up?

Anonymous said...

8:59...Nobody gets the "heave ho" at Kathi's level. She was "reassigned" because Brett is going to hand pick a lap dog.

Anonymous said...

Greg Close, Oct 16, 2008 (LANL: The Rest of the Story):

"2) TCP1 was not 7% underfunded in Aug"

"3) I have been working on the draft communication explaining our strategies and contingencies for TCP1 and hope to get it finished, approved, and distributed soon. Stay tuned."

Anonymous, Blog Post, Mar 19, 2007 (LANL: The Corporate Story):

"LANS will receive $1.28B from UCRP for these employees.

UCRP's job was NOT to transfer the right amount to LANS, but rather to RETAIN the amount they needed for the existing retirees and inactives. The $1.28B represents the excess on their books to LANS.

By UCRP's own calculations (found deep in the news release appendices), they reckoned that those 6,600 will actually need $1.4B in LANS.

They point out in the footnotes that LANS will have its own actuary with its own calculations, and that therefore the LANS amount may differ.

Bottom line, by UCRP calculations, the LANS pension plan is already $120M *underfunded* as of June 1, 2006. So the open question is how aggressively will LANS tackle the new TCP1 pension fund and get it properly funded, on top of all of the other budgetary woes?

Or will a simple change in actuarial assumptions be good enough to cover the shortfall?"

Here's what we officially know:

Terry Wallace's presentation made in early October to hundred of people announced that TCP1 was underfunded by 7% as of August 31st. Greg was absolutely wrong with his statement. This 7% decline was before the beginning of the Great Collapse which happened during Oct & Nov.

The LANL Benefits page currently states TCP1 is underfunded by 25% as of Oct 31st. Markets have fallen by a significant amount since this date.

Who do you believe? Take your pick, but some of the posters on this blog are already proven to be poor sources of "inside" information on the state of the TCP1 pension. Whether or not it was underfunding on June 1st of 2006 is besides the point. We have offically been told it is 25% underfunded as of the end of October. Most corporate pension are reporting losses of around 30% at this date. I would suspect that TCP1 is now approaching these same underfunded levels.

While UC has put out a memo saying they will share the pain with their employees in fixing their pension underfunding, LANS has been completely mum on this subject. I think their silence on this issue speaks volumes.

It would be wise to financially brace yourself for big demands that will be coming from LANL employee salaries in the near future to salvage TCP1. Unlike UC, don't expect LANS or NNSA to contribute a penny to this effort. We'll find that DOE's promise of a "substantially equivalent" pension was a lie.

Anonymous said...

10:1, you need to read a little more carefully.The article on the benefits website said the trust had lost ~23%. It did not say the trust was underfunded by 25%. Furthermore, while the final amount transfered was based on and A-B =C,where B =the amount kept by UCRP and C=the amount left over, the amount tranfered to LANS, was determined by LANS and DOE/NNSA actuaries to be more than full funding of the LANS liability.

Anonymous said...

"Brett is going to hand pick a lap dog."

Clearly. The job ad for HX DL has already closed. Lap dog should be in place shortly. Hey, maybe it will be Craig Leasure! It makes perfect sense, considering that he knows nothing whatsoever about hydrotesting, but has demonstrated that he is willing to be the perfect toady. And he is great at "downsizing" having given away several of LANL's capabilities already.

Anonymous said...

The old HX management was replaced with those who know less and follow Brett's orders better. You can kiss hydrotesting goodbye and say hello to Brett's perverse notions about engineering con-ops and facilities. Brett is sure to go far with the Bechtel boys.

Anonymous said...

"..the amount tranfered to LANS, was determined by LANS and DOE/NNSA actuaries to be more than full funding of the LANS liability."

12/5/08 8:36 AM

Yeap, that makes me feel a whole lot better about the state of TCP1. If LANS or NNSA says it, well, then it must be correct.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why every manager in the entire HX Organization got the heave-ho in this shake up?

Yeah. Bret Knapp 505-665-7212