Mar 22, 2009

Comment of the Week

139 comments this week, resulting in a few keepers. Here's one from the "No kidding!" category, on the Hearing: Nuclear Weapons Complex post:

There's a couple of noteworthy comments made by Everet Beckner in his testimony:

5. NNSA should re-examine and reduce the fee-structure for its Management and Operating (M&O) contracts, while simultaneously reducing the federal oversight...DOE and NNSA management and the congress have continued to insist upon endless inspections and oversight activities by the federal government.

9. The present semi-autonomous relationship (within DOE) directed by the Congress when NNSA was formed has created more problems than it has solved.

From my perspective, after reading the various testimony-the RRW is a dead issue.

This one from the Hearing: Nuclear Weapons Complex post suggests new, more topical slogans for LANL:

"Work-free Safety Zone"

"Compliance Serving Society"

"Plan of the Day: CYA!"

"LANL Science, the last 10 percent"

"LDRD: Now with half the fat!"

In the "This person is seriously wound up too tight" category, we find this festering pustule on the LANL-ALL 2278: Note from the director-LANL loses e... post, where the discussion had turned to anonymous bloggers' "rights" to post senseless, mean-spirited garbage whenever the spirit moved them:

7:27 am: Doug said: "Yours would have never seen the light of day when I was running the LANL blog."

Just what I like to hear - a staunch proponent of the First Amendment. Like the blog's entire existence didn't depend on the rights you are so willing to strip from anyone you don't agree with. Glad you're gone, Doug. Especially from LANL, but also from control of this blog. Another poster had it right - you ARE on a "power trip from hell."

An amazing sense of entitlement and bitterness, all wrapped up in a single paragraph. Seriously, if you want to be guaranteed freedom of speech, start your own blog. Also, I hear that Xanax can sometimes work wonders in cases like yours. I'm just sayin'.

Finally, a late-breaking comment on the Senators Call for Keeping U.S. Nuclear-Weapon Research Under Civilian Control post came in while I was writing this. 10:23AM points out some of the real Washington decision criteria regarding military versus non-military control of LANL. Also, 10:23 writes like a pro; I bet he makes a living lining up words in a row for somebody.

Observations of the Lab for-profit competition and outcome demonstrate that Senators and Congress members are not all that concerned about killing the Labs ability to function.

What they're worried about is losing plum committee authority over the Labs they have suffocated to other committees that oversee the DOD.

Less authority in DC means less power, less control, less horse trading, and fewer opportunities to be treated to nice trips by lobbyists and potential bidders on Lab contracts.

It also really reduces the number of places a retiring or deposed official can go to be a 'senior fellow' or 'special consultant' for a nice 6-figure salary.

For example, ask George Schultz about his work for Bechtel on the Board of Directors and as a 'consultant.'

Until next week,



Anonymous said...

"Dear Mister President,

Please don't fix anything. Things aren't as bad as they look. Oh, and don't ask anything about bonuses."


Oh, and one more thing. Those new taxes for people making over $250K? Please be sure to keep LANS salaries confidential. We plan on raising all executive salaries at LANS to mitigate any financial damage to our "best and brightest" executive team.

Anonymous said...

Can I have my bonus in cash?


Anonymous said...

"LANL Science, the last 10 percent"

How about...

LANL, home of the shoes the GRIP!

Anonymous said...

One of the things that Congress likes about management of DOE labs by profit-making organizations such as LANS is the ass-kissing, junkets, etc. from the home companies such as Bechtel. As they say, "follow the money."

Anonymous said...

It would appear that Doug popped a festering pustule.

Anonymous said...

"Senators Call for Keeping U.S. Nuclear-Weapon Research Under Civilian Control"

LOL..."Civilian Control"- a euphemism for Politics.

Anonymous said...

3:27 pm: "LOL..."Civilian Control"- a euphemism for Politics."

Nope - a "euphemism" for NOT military control. A good thing. (See 1946).

Anonymous said...

Hey Mickey (1:57 pm)

Let's see. You have badly mismanaged this place. You have appointed some of the worst possible people to key management positions. Their (and your!) actions have driven away many of the best scientists. Your "team" have imposed absurd new rules and procedures that are suffocating this institution and driving away the remaining talent. Motivated by short term self-interest, you and your buddies in the management have brought this once great National Security Lab to its knees, thereby causing grave long-term damage to the Nation.

I'd say, by the modern standard, you definitely qualify for a bonus! In cash.

Anonymous said...

Iran Has Started a Mideast Arms Race

"Make no mistake: The Middle East may be on the verge of a nuclear arms race triggered by the inability of the West to stop Iran's quest for a bomb. Since Tehran's nuclear ambitions hit the headlines five years ago, 25 countries -- 10 of them in the greater Middle East -- have announced plans to build nuclear power plants for the first time."

With our antique stockpile & NWC, here's another reason why America should not let its nuclear weapons labs continue their slide into mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

"The Middle East may be on the verge of a nuclear arms race triggered by the inability of the West to stop Iran's quest for a bomb." - 6:29 AM

Meanwhile, the news reports that Obama has been busy making video tapes to send out to Iranian leaders were he 'makes-nice' by speaking in Farsi.

We are slowly running up the white flag of surrender. America, as we know it, won't be around for much longer. Our super-power status is about to be toppled by a serious decline in national will power.

Anonymous said...

I see things in a different way. We have plenty of nuclear weapons and they are effectively useless. The lab has to become useful to the rest of the country to warrant the lovely salaries. Perhaps a new set of employees can be hired who would be able to successfully compete for energy research monies. I'm not sure how many of the currently employed scientists can compete successfully in a system with real peer review. Try to realize that the lab has little in the line of accomplishment or delivery of results. LANL costs are too high, partially because of the large number of drones. In other words, it's not Anastasio, it's not Nanos. We have met the enemy and it's us!

Anonymous said...

"LANL costs are too high, partially because of the large number of drones."

3:21, from your mouth to the Director's ears. The good news is it looks like the number of those noncompetitive Sci/Eng drones is decreasing, albeit slowly. The even better news is that the Lab is growing in ways to make it more competitive.

The LANS FTE count went from 7622 in Oct to 7902 in Feb. In the same time period, the number of Sci/Eng FTEs went from 1896 to 1884; Mgt FTEs went from 1187 to 1258; Prof FTEs went from 3028 to 3170; Supp FTEs went from 385 to 425; Tech FTEs went from 1126 to 1165.

Anonymous said...

What we need is another couple dozen of those highly-trained, legend-in-their-own-minds Livermore managers. Who knows, if we get enough of those mental midgets running around, we can petition the Governor for a railrunner side-track running from Hide Park to TA-3. I'm sure the Obama administration, Governor Bill, and Mike's cronies would all support that as a "shovel ready" project to help protect American from the boogy man.

Anonymous said...

Interesting note here. At the end of FY2008, there was about $10M in unearned award fee that was collected through taxes. NNSA and the lab never returned it to the programs. Now NNSA wants the funds back but the esteamed laboratory director has spent the monies for his pet projects. So the solution for the CFO is to tax those remaining programs that have uncosted FY2008 budget authority (carryover) to return the monies to NNSA. In short, programs are being taxed twice. The lesson learned is to spend your budget. with reckless abandon because accountability is only necessary for auditors.

Anonymous said...

3/23/09 3:21 PM

Let me first conclude with the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu´s classic words, "So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles," "If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose," and "if you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself."

And your, "I see things in a different way. We have plenty of nuclear weapons and they are effectively useless.", and "We have met the enemy and it´s us!", is an example of a naive and dangerous worldview that most likely will endanger US and put ourself into harms way, and weaken our friends and allies as well, unfortunately it is also the unfolding nuclear policy of the Obama administration.

And finally; US nuclear weapons constitutes the US nuclear deterrence, and they also provide the US nuclear umbrella for friends and allies, and to think that they are "effectively useless" is completely wrong.

Anonymous said...

"Try to realize that the lab has little in the line of accomplishment or delivery of results."


Asstroll at work.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not a troll (trying to stir up trouble just because one can), but an idiot most definitely.

Anonymous said...

7:49 pm: "esteamed" Well, your lack of command of the English language has diminished the imapact of your comment. Go get an education. Your MS, or PhD, or whatever, obviously missed the mark in seventh grade.

Anonymous said...

""effectively useless" is completely wrong.

3/23/09 8:01 PM

Blaaaa, we trolls hate logic.

Anonymous said...

Word is that NNSA has decided to snuff out the ASC component in stockpile stewardship. Funding will be severely reduced by 2011 and then completely wiped out by 2012. The sudden news of this is starting to put some employees into a state of shock.

ASC's budget at LANL is currently over $140 million per year with the majority of the money going to fund staff. This is going to be a huge hit in funding for lots of people working at LANL. It will be interesting to see what LANS intends to do, if anything, to help soften the blow of ASC's loss.

Anonymous said...

If ASC is going somewhere, as opposed to being terminated I would give ORNL a good chance of picking up that work. ORNL has already cherry-picked some of LANL's few remaining HPC folks, and are actively growing their HPC staff and portfolio.

Anonymous said...

5:17, as precedent, can you name another major weapons program actvity that NNSA has ever sent to a non-NNSA site?

Anonymous said...

During the March 17, 2009 Hearing On Reducing the Cost of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Dr. Richard L. Garwin made a comment that, imo, seems more problematical than a solution regarding the future of our nuclear design labs:

“As I indicated in my December 2008 Arms Control Today article, I think the RRW design effort has energized the nuclear laboratories and is something that should be encouraged and repeated every five years or so.”

I’m neither a weapons designer nor employee of the Labs but, to me this seems to be akin to saying “Every 5 years or so, let’s pretend like we’re going to design a new nuclear warhead”. How can we keep the best & brightest & maintain this important national capability if we only have a “pretend” exercise? Do we really believe these talents will hang around just to go through a less than challenging exercise ever 5 years or so?

There’s certainly room for more than one opinion on this subject but, I believe this is a debate that will play out over the next several decades & in the meantime, we should not let this important national capability squalor in mediocrity & die on the vine from lack of attention or funding from the current administration.

Certainly, we must continually re-evaluate the role of our nuclear deterrent & the size & capability of our stockpile to meet this new/revised role. But, short of eliminating all nuclear weapons, the people at our nuclear design labs must have challenging work to do if they are to be capable of performing the job America requires.

Anonymous said...

This is a time when precedents are being broken, 6:21. A couple of years ago DOE broke 63 years worth of precedence by terminating UC's contract for LANL. The need for NNSA is being questioned; I really don't expect them to be around in a few years.

Anonymous said...

Big fast computers dont need remote locations. ORNL isnt remote and moving the work there makes sense.

Anonymous said...

But, short of eliminating all nuclear weapons, the people at our nuclear design labs must have challenging work to do if they are to be capable of performing the job America requires.

3/24/09 6:21 AM

We're arranging for additional jobs in both cleanup and in facilities maintenance at LANL. That should keep the "best and brightest" scientists coming to this lab for many years into the future and also help keep the LANS LLC annual profit fees humming along very nicely.

- Mikey

Anonymous said...

"It will be interesting to see what LANS intends to do, if anything, to help soften the blow of ASC's loss." (12:43 AM)

The LANS solution for ASC's demise? Well, we know it doesn't involve greater efforts at project diversification and growth in the WFO domain.

In all likelihood, the LANS solution for this budget shortfall probably involves layoffs, mostly within the scientific staff who remain at LANL. Don't expect them to admit this, though, until right before they decide to roll out a RIF.

If someone else has another idea of how LANS might handle this huge budgetary problem, I'd sure like to hear it. The demise of ASC should also come as no surprise, as NNSA has been saying for years that they planned to eventually shut the project down. Where was the upper management planning for that day?

Anonymous said...

With the ASC project gone, I guess there won't be much need for the Roadrunner supercomputer, either.

Anonymous said...

NNSA says they want a leaner, less costly complex while Congress is desperately looking for budgets to cut. Given this match up between buyer and seller, it looks like NNSA may have created a situation in which large budget cuts to the weapon labs are inevitable.

Nuclear Security Official Hints at Leaner, Less Costly Weapons Complex

Washington Post, Mar 24, 2009

The best status report on the U.S. nuclear weapons program and its future was delivered last Tuesday at a session of the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development, where the head of the program declared, "We must stop pouring money into an old, Cold War complex that is too big and too expensive."

...D'Agostino told the lawmakers that 20 pits a year would meet current needs and that he had delayed any further decisions affecting the complex "until the nuclear posture review, because we recognized that that could potentially drive some infrastructure changes."

Anonymous said...

12:25 pm : "The LANS solution for ASC's demise? Well, we know it doesn't involve greater efforts at project diversification and growth in the WFO domain."

Look, LANL is a NNSA laboratory. What possible interest could NNSA have in increasing WFO? Why should NNSA employ scientists who want to work for another agency? There isn't going to be a "LANS solution" to this - LANS will do whatever NNSA wants, which it should as a NNSA contractor. WFO is dead at LANL - the scientists employed on WFO contracts need to move on - they are dead wood to NNSA. If your work doesn't involve "nuclear security" (the interior two letters in NNSA) you shouldn't expect to work at a NNSA laboratory. Unlike the UC years, LANL under LANS will have no interest in "program diversification". Get used to it. If you want comfy LANL jobs but aren't willing to get with NNSA's mission, you are toast.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that NNSA is playing a game of robbing Peter to pay Paul? Perhaps they want to quickly terminate ASC so that they can free up budgetary slack to help pay for things like the new CMMR building.

The thinking over at NNSA appears to be that nice, new buildings are far more important that having a cadre of well educated and dedicated scientists at the labs.

Anonymous said...

"If you want comfy LANL jobs but aren't willing to get with NNSA's mission, you are toast." (9:49 PM)

Please remember that statement when the lab weapon budgets get seriously whacked and you lose your job because of it.

The two letters you speak of in NNSA are riding on a sinking ship. That's where you'll find the burnt toast. Bon appetit!

Anonymous said...

"Nuclear Security Official Hints at Leaner, Less Costly Weapons Complex"
3/24/09 9:34 PM

"Though no one could say for sure where the new administration will come down on the question of the size of the nuclear stockpile, D'Agostino said there "will be probably reduced numbers of what we have now, and maybe at some future date we'll bring in some warheads that are much safer and much more secure than the ones we have now -- but again, the general trend is going down."

* No "probably" about it - the numbers are coming down significantly.

* New warheads "at some future date" - Not under this administration. They've made it clear there'll be no new weapons.

"...a smaller, safer, more secure, and less expensive enterprise..."

Agostino's vision, seems appropriate but, why so shy about safer & more secure weapons...the product of the "Enterprise"?

Anonymous said...

The people who blog about WFO are misguided. Almost 50% of Sandia's budget is WFO, and NNSA has strongly supported that transition. WFO brings in funding that helps pay the overhead and facilities cost for NNSA. Most of the labs, including NNSA labs have very active programs to try and attract WFO $$. LANL has been less successful than others. I don't know if that is a cost of doing business issue, or a competency issue. Maybe a combination of the two.

Anonymous said...

Actually, LANL management DOES NOT want WFO. I have heard it from them.
This goes back to Nanos' time.

WFO is a pain in the ass for them. It always seems to have a customer who wants the work done in spec, on time, and in budget. AND, these customers often object to paying for such things as Nanos' stand-downs.

WFO offers the laboratory opportunities to achieve success on projects and get postive press. Conversely, if the project is crapped up, then there are the embarrasssments.

And, then this is REAL technical work, not just pushing papers. You cannot staff most WFO projects with C students, although D students are just fine for the DOE.

Lastly, NNSA is really not in favor of WFO.

Somehow SNL has managed to overcome all of these problems.

Anonymous said...

Heads up:

Word is out that LANS has hired a contractor to sniff all packets with a DEST address of

That address resolves to (place close attention, kiddies):

; <<>> P2 <<>>
;; global options: printcmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 11755
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 7, ADDITIONAL: 4

; IN A


;; AUTHORITY SECTION: 62893 IN NS 62893 IN NS 62893 IN NS 62893 IN NS 62893 IN NS 62893 IN NS 62893 IN NS

;; ADDITIONAL SECTION: 82119 IN A 85607 IN A 170140 IN A 85905 IN A

;; Query time: 47 msec
;; WHEN: Wed Mar 25 18:41:57 2009
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 281

That's right -- LANS is watching to see who visits *this* blog. Not just from LANL. From *anywhere*.

Read at your own risk.

Post at an even greater risk.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Anonymous said...

4:45 pm: "Somehow SNL has managed to overcome all of these problems."

Sandia has done this by demonstrating that it will survive with or without NNSA, and that NNSA's need for Sandia is greater than Sandia's need for NNSA. Contrast this to LANL, where LANS only exists as a company in the context of the NNSA contract It was created out of thin air for the only purpose of bidding on the LANL NNSA contract). No NNSA contract, no LANS, no LANL. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

"Lastly, NNSA is really not in favor of WFO. Somehow SNL has managed to overcome all of these problems." - 4:45 PM

I agree, 4:45 PM. Regardless of what NNSA may say to the public and Congress, I do not believe they really want to see WFO at their labs.

The reason that SNL got away with project diversification is because they started to grow their WFO portfolio well over a decade ago, before a dysfunctional NNSA even existed.

It was easier for Sandia to get their WFO seeds planted when they were working under a much more diverse agency, the DOE.

It is not just segments of LANS management that are fighting against lab diversification. It's also the NNSA.

As long as LANL and LLNL stay under the control of a broken NNSA, these labs are going to see a continuing slide into mediocrity and a growing focus on mundane tasks that involve: (a) cleanup, and (b) facilities engineering. Science will take a back seat and project diversification will not happen. The final result will be "labs" that are really nothing better than facilities and a dwindling number of scientists who are willing to work at either LANL or LLNL. We are becoming the Los Alamos Facility, or LAF. The name "laugh" seems like a proper acronym.

Anonymous said...

There are Divisions at LANL where almost half the funding depends on ASC money. Even if ASC funding is partially salvaged and the cut backs are only at the 50% level, I don't see how endangered Divisions can take these hits without a large round of layoffs.

What is management's plan to avoid this approaching train wreck? The technique of 'Watchful Waiting' doesn't seem to be the answer.

And does NNSA have any idea just how bad morale is at their labs and how much worse it will become when layoffs of scientists result from zeroing out the ASC funding? Do they even care?

Anonymous said...

Yet another NNSA screw-up arises. This one wasted $4.8 billion...

Duke drops pact to use bomb fuel

Contract to buy MOX fuel from government plant was allowed to expire.

By Bruce Henderson, Charlotte Observer
Mar. 17, 2009

Duke Energy's contract to buy nuclear fuel made from bomb material has expired, leaving the government with a $4.8 billion fuel-making plant under construction with no takers for its product.

Duke was the only U.S. utility in line to use the mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel and had tested it at the Catawba nuclear plant on Lake Wylie. The federal government had selected Duke to put MOX into regular use, along with conventional fuel, at Catawba and its McGuire plant on Lake Norman.

...“They should have showed they have customers before they built that plant,” said Tom Clements of Friends of the Earth, which opposes MOX production. “There's a lot of smoke going on, and I just want transparency.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Energy agency overseeing MOX, said the lapsed contract won't hurt the program. Duke and other utilities have expressed interest in using the fuel, said spokesman Darwin Morgan, and the eight years until production begins will allow time to negotiate contracts.

...“Things are happening just as we imagined years ago,” said physicist Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “For a utility to tie up its fortunes with the Department of Energy is just asking for trouble.”

Anonymous said...

We have found one of our POGO memo leakers, says DOE, and he was just suspended from his job.

His name is David Lee. Does anyone at LANL know this guy?

Here's the LA Times story that broke tonight:

Los Alamos' security flaws exposed

An Energy probe into a plutonium mix-up reveals faults that the N.M. nuclear weapons lab must address, an official says.

By Ralph Vartabedian

9:09 PM PDT, March 25, 2009

An Energy Department investigation has alleviated fears that a significant amount of plutonium was missing from a national laboratory, but it has also heightened concerns about flaws in the system for controlling the U.S. stockpile of weapons materials.

The investigation began in February, shortly after a routine inventory at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico found a plutonium shortage estimated at 2.2 pounds, setting off a frantic national effort to determine what happened to the material.

The confidential investigation concluded this week that statisticians at the lab had miscalculated the amount of plutonium at its facility and that none was actually missing.

While the finding eliminates the worst-case scenario -- that the material left the facility and ended up in rogue hands -- it raises doubts about the lab's management at a time of growing concern about nuclear terrorism.

Brad Peterson, the Energy Department's chief for defense nuclear security, acknowledged in an interview that the closure of the investigation does not clear the laboratory but rather points out deficiencies that must be addressed.

"There are many corrective actions that need to be taken, and we are watching closely," Peterson said. "We are very concerned, obviously."

...Kevin Roark, a lab spokesman, said there was never any possibility that plutonium was stolen, owing to tight physical security measures that he could not discuss.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department's office in New Mexico has suspended an employee, David Lee, on suspicion that he leaked the February letter.

"They are trying to lay the rap on me," Lee said in an interview, though he would neither confirm nor deny the allegation.

Officials at the local Energy office declined to comment.

Tom Devine, an attorney for the Government Accountability Project, which represents whistle-blowers, said that even if Lee had leaked the unclassified letter, the action was protected under U.S. law.

Anonymous said...

From the looks of this recently issued DOD Defense Science Board Report (below), it looks like the DOD wants strong support of ASC. Conversely, the NNSA wants to wipe it out by 2012. Yet, some folks at LANL are adamant that they want LANL to remain under the control of a dysfunctional NNSA and not DOD!

Here's a link to a PDF of the DOD report on ASC. It's dated March '09:

Here's some of what it says in the executive summary:

"The Task Force concluded that, since the cessation of nuclear testing, ASC has taken on the principal integrating role in assuring the long term safety and reliability of the stockpile. It is also an essential tool in addressing specific stockpile issues. Furthermore, ASC has played a leadership role in re-establishing US leadership in high performance computing. The use of ASC and ASC-derived technology for other national security, scientific, and commercial applications has also increased dramatically, and high performance computing is viewed as an extremely valuable and cost-effective approach to many of the user’s important problems.

However, it is not likely that ASC will meet the compelling goals states in its roadmaps and planning documents at the currently projected levels of funding. Furthermore, the high end of the US computing industry may be negatively impacted with implications for the much broader range of potential users in the DOD, other federal agencies, and the commercial world. Accordingly, the Task Force strongly recommends sizing the budget of ASC to meet its nuclear weapons objectives and retain US leadership in advanced computing."

There are other portions of this DOD report that make for very interesting reading and are highly supportive of ASC. With strong wording of support like this for ASC, it appears that the weapon labs might fare much better if they were placed under DOD control, rather than being left under a broken NNSA. Of course, our local NM delegation doesn't agree.

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:51 PM,

What's the name of the contractor? You would have no way to know the other information without knowing that. Or are you just a bullshit artist?

Anonymous said...

Sniffing the net is no big deal, the technology to do it has been around for a while. The NSA does this for a living.

What is a big deal is having sufficient bandwidth, processing power, and access to the backbone and core routers. I'm wondering if a private contractor could get that access.

Anonymous said...

"With strong wording of support like this for ASC, it appears that the weapon labs might fare much better if they were placed under DOD control, rather than being left under a broken NNSA. Of course, our local NM delegation doesn't agree."

Where ever it's located (based on Fig.4) it looks like we'll need to hire FN's to do the work.

Anonymous said...

Advanced computing is too difficult and costly to perform. The guys over at NNSA tell me that it's time to kill this stuff off so we can concentrate on more important tasks, like cleanup ops and keeping our facilities humming along. I always listen to what NNSA has to say. They pay a nice bonus!

- Mikey

Anonymous said...

From the DOD's Defense Science Board "Report on Advanced Computing" (Mar 09):

= Page 16 =

"However, the DOE-NNSA presentations were notable for:
* The absence of very high level program representatives
* The lack of resource requirements needed to meet the milestones
* The occasional view that:
- The personnel issues of attracting and retaining people would be solved at the Labs despite declining resources and bureaucratic constraints.
- Outside support from other agencies would appear because it was a good idea and was needed."

= Page 40 =

"Laboratory staffing trends for computational science at the weapons Laboratories are troubling. As noted in Figure 1 on page 16, the staff levels for code development have dropped by nearly two-thirds in less than a decade. There is considerable anecdotal evidence of a flow of talented computational scientists to the Office of Science labs which are now joining the forefront of computing. In part this is due to the diminishing resources at the NNSA labs, and in some measure, because of the security and bureaucratic restriction constraints at the weapon labs."

Houston, we have a problem.

DOD seems to want to see the ASC program both grow and prosper. Meanwhile, NNSA just decided in closed meetings to kill it off entirely by FY2012.

Way to go, NNSA! You're doing a heckavajob.

Anonymous said...

Why is Tom D'Agostino being allowed to stick around and run the NNSA complex straight into the ground? What's the hold up in the lucrative VP slot that Bechtel or BWXT have waiting for him?

Anonymous said...

Let's see... in the last year we've had the DOD Chiles Report ("morale at the labs is bad"), Stimson Center report ("move the labs to a new organization called ANSA or they'll slowly die"), and the DOD Defense Science Report ("the labs are losing critical staff and NNSA is not funding advanced computing").

None of this stuff will make a bit of difference. Congress is waiting around for the nuclear posture review which will arrive in Jan 2010. When it arrives, they'll take their sweet time looking it over and do absolutely nothing other than telling the NNSA to "go get me another rock!"

Meanwhile, the weapon labs are in a state of serious decline. Sig Hecker calls them "prisons". And so it goes.

Anonymous said...

11:21 PM, not all at LANL think only in terms of your beloved ASC, the same with NM delegation in Congress. This is why moving to DOD is not an option. Of course it does not mean NNSA should stay in the way of both ASC and all other activities, as it does now. It would be good if NM delegation did see this aspect as well.

Anonymous said...

"This is why moving to DOD is not an option." - 12:45 AM

It's obviously not your option, but it's a fast growing option with many of the staff who still work at LANL. I hope that either DOD is successful in a takeover of the NNSA labs or something is worked out in terms of an ANSA type governance. NNSA is a bad joke!

Anonymous said...

10:52 am "I hope that either DOD is successful in a takeover of the NNSA labs..."

This is a sad joke. No one in DoD wants to "take over" the NNSA labs. The DoD, at least, recognizes what a disaster it would be politically and constitutionally, for the military to control nuclear weapons developmnent and testing. History should not have to be repeated here.

Anonymous said...

"The DoD, at least, recognizes what a disaster it would be politically and constitutionally, for the military to control nuclear weapons developmnent and testing." - 8:15 PM

You're living in an ancient past that no longer exists, 8:15 PM. That dog won't hunt any longer.

The Cold War is over and the US is no longer testing or developing new nuclear weapons.

Putting the weapon labs under DOD or ANSA would work just fine given the current situation. If they stay within NNSA, we already can observe the trend and it is not hopeful.

Do you happen to work directly for DOE or the NNSA, per chance? It sure sounds like it.

Anonymous said...

12:39 pm: "Putting the weapon labs under DOD or ANSA would work just fine given the current situation."

Right - the DoD has never has a serious cost overrun or a project that was just cancelled in the middle. There sure aren't any generals who feather their own nests. And, morale at the DoD "research" labs is just fine. Yep, should work out great.

Anonymous said...

Morale at DoD labs is, in fact, very good. You need to broaden your limited view.