Yes, I know there are other WFO programs at LANL. But I am also aware that NNSA has clearly stated that the new, improved LANL was to have a core mission centered around plutonium weapons work. I'm just glad that I'm not still at LANL trying to continue to bring in WFO within current management environment.
I admit that the term LDRD Welfare Queen kind of tickled me. I had not heard it before, but in retrospect it is oddly fitting, based on my past LDRD experiences.
Our comment of the Week:
To a certain extent I agree with you. When the cold war ended, the lab made a conscious decision to retreat back into its core mission (NW) rather than to try to keep and expand a diversified portfolio. The only science facility that they really worked to protect was LANSCE. While this was politically expedient and worked reasonably well for over a decade, LANL is now paying for that decision. You can blame that decision on Sig Hecker.
If LANL truly wanted to maintain its science and its staff, what they should consider doing is to give any staff member who brings in a new contract a certain percentage of it as a bonus. That would probably solve any funding shortfalls in short order. Of course, that isn’t going to happen because the primary goal of LANS/NNSA/DOE is control, not performance or doing good science. It took the DOE ~60 years to finally get LANL to knuckle under and accept “guidance” from Washington. If either the LANL managers or the NNSA managers don’t control LANL’s budget, then they don’t have any leverage. They don’t like staff members ignoring them.
The reason I made my earlier comments about bringing money into the lab is that when I worked at LANL it used to really frost my butt to go out and bring in outside funding only to have it taxed and given to some LDRD welfare queen who was spending their entire career living off of the largess of the laboratory. If these people are really as good as they think they are, then they are the ones who should be developing new programs for the lab. LDRD should be seed money for programs, but it has largely deteriorated into a mechanism to maintain the lab’s technical base.