Sunday, February 27, 2005

Who believes you now, honorable Senator?

From Anonymous:

So Domenici said, according to the Journal North: "I am trying to tell you that we have got to get over this stuff and get
on with the new contract," he said. "Nobody intends to hurt any of you, and,
for God's sake, you know we don't intend to hurt what you're doing."

Honestly, honorable Senator, regardless of anybody's intent, we have already been hurt, our mission has been hurt, our laboratory has been hurt, and our country has been hurt by the retirements that have already taken place, by the abysmal and unneeded shutdown, by the black hole into which our once good morale has disappeared. We will be hurt further as the retirements continue due in part to the apparently inevitable loss of UCRP regardless of who becomes our contractor.

Honestly, honorable Senator, you yourself have hurt us when you called for the contract to be competed, apparently assenting to the characterization of our Laboratory as a "den of thieves" or a "fetid swamp"; you yourself hurt us when you supported the shutdown, apparently assenting to the characterization of our Laboratory as a collection of arrogant cowboys and buttheads.

Who believes you now, honorable Senator, when you say that nobody intends to hurt us?

You are missing a subtlety of Washington politics. The vultures in the house were circling to recompete and destroy the Lab when Domenici leaves. By arranging a competition now, while he is around, he is able to protect us as best the perceived reality in Washington will allow.
I believe that Domenici's comments should be viewed through the political prism. He can not say "fire Nanos" in an open meeting -- he has supported Los Alamos in incredible fashion for 30 years, and continues to support the Lab (he only has 4 year left). He is asking the Lab community to pull together -- he is not saying support the director.

Domenici knows that change is coming. nanos is a short termer -- I am confident it will be announced soon. Domenici will also work to make the RFP right. NNSA has to come to grips on what they have done -- if the contract costs 300 million more in management fees, then the DP program will crater. NO ONE can make the deliverables if 1200 people retire. I suspect that some of the weapons ADs will claim that with appropriate "incentive" they can make the milestones, but that is folly.

Although 90 percent of the staff would love for the Senator to call Nanos a butt head (well, I certainly would love that), it can't happen. However, what was NOT said on Friday spoke volumes.
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