I heard from an ex-lab employee now in the Pentagon that there's a strong rumor going around that Defense Secretary Bob Gates is quietly pushing hard for Obama to move NNSA to DOD. Gates doesn't think the triangle - DOE/DOE(NNSA)/Congress - is still the most effective way to manage nuke weapons complex. He's more comfortable with DOD fighting its own battles for programs, and wants to cut out a layer of middle management (DOE) from the equation. The feeling is the new Secretary of Energy, Dr Chu - who is only interested in "real" energy research and basic science - won't cry that much if NNSA and its weapons programs go to DOD. Chu, coming from LBNL, knows very well the headache and distraction that the weapons complex has been to past Secretaries of Energy. He also doesn't want this legacy on his desk that's already full with Obama's daunting agenda for an energy independent future.And another:
This divorce is not a done deal, and it will painful to some "special interest" groups. However, if Gates wants it and Chu's okay with it, with Domenici gone don't expect the new Congress to put up much of a fight if Obama gets convinced by Gates it a good idea.
12/16/08 7:06 AM
I think 7:06 AM is on the right track with this rumor. Dr. Chu is all about alternative energy research. He comes from an open LBL style culture and doesn't wish to be bogged down with classified programs and the vast problems of the declining NNSA weapons complex.And finally:
Odds are increasing that NNSA will be moved over to the DOD side of the house. Big changes are in store for both LANL and LLNL if this happens.
12/16/08 10:25 AM
It's early to speculate, but what would be the pros and cons to work life at LANL if it was under DOD command?I'm interested in both, but let's start with the cons. Are there any good reasons not to "cut out the middle man"? It sounds like a change that would cut costs and increase responsiveness, not to mention freeing DOE to focus on the monumental tasks on it's plate.
12/16/08 10:29 AM