Friday, September 30, 2005

Lockheed and Loaded

[Story submitted by Rick Sterling, rsterling@ssl.berkeley.edu]

The Company That Runs the Empire

Lockheed and Loaded

By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Lockheed-Martin is headquartered in the Bethesda, Maryland. No, the defense titan doesn't have a bomb-making factory in this toney Beltway suburb. But as the nation's top weapons contractor, it migrated to DC from southern California because that's where the money is. And Lockheed rakes it in from the federal treasury at the rate of $65 million every single day of the year.

From nuclear missiles to fighter planes, software code to spy satellites, the Patriot missile to Star Wars, Lockheed has come to dominate the weapons market in a way that the Standard Oil Company used to hold sway over the nation's petroleum supplies. And it all happened with the help of the federal government, which steered lucrative no bid contracts Lockheed's way, enacted tax breaks that encouraged Lockheed's merger and acquisition frenzy in the 1980s and 1990s and turned a blind eye to the company's criminal rap sheet, ripe with indiscretions ranging from bribery to contract fraud.

Now Lockheed stands almost alone. It not only serves as an agent of US foreign policy, from the Pentagon to the CIA; it also helps shape it. "We are deployed entirely in developing daunting technology," Lockheed's new CEO Robert J. Stevens told the New York Times report Tim Weiner. "That requires thinking through the policy dimensions of national security as well as technological dimensions."

[...]

Full Story


Comments:
I guess it *IS* all relative. The EP Project's waste of $180+ million is a mere pitance!
 
Is there a point?
 
President Eisenhower's worst fear realized...
 
Lockheed has my vote. I just hope they run the LANL and LLNL like it was private industry. Do you think NIF will survive?
 
A previous poster said: "Lockheed has my vote. I just hope they run the LANL and LLNL like it was private industry." He is free to his opinions of course. I just wonder why he does not go and work for private industry. Why does he feel the desire to crush any alternative? As one who has worked in both private and 'public service' industry I have seen the differences first hand. One is driven by quarterly reports, stock prices, and profit margine. The other has other, longer term goals. One can be 'efficient' at times but has no larger objective than its legal mandate to maximize profits for its shareholders. The other does in fact have longer term objectives as priority. If you prefer private industry then why don't you get a job there?
 
Rick Sterling just doesn't get it, but that is no surprise as he works at LBL, and New Mexico is a long way off. He should stick a bit closer to home, or bone up on his history.
The simple fact is that UC has not "run" LANL for the last 60 years, as amply documented by the Academic Senate. Speaking of the Senate, surprise Rick, LANL doesn't belong to it. The also don't use UC policies, unlike LBL. They simply impose management policies on the employees, in many case without UC approving them, or even knowing about it.
But, the decision is really a no brainer, between management with a proven track record running a DOE lab (Sandia/LM)and one with a proven track record of failure (UC).
 
... But ... but ... but ... What about my BENEFITS?
 
Please, oh please, give us LM, since they run SNL so well! They never, ever have problems with TSRs, etc.!

*That was sarcasm*

I am sincere in my hope that all of you LM fans that you enjoy the Pit Production Business. There is a lot of money to be made there. Adios science -- long gone T Divsion, C Division, EES, P and B. Hello, super-ESA and NMT! But, of couse, basic science just sucks the DP program dry with *evil* LDRD.
 
One of the best things about LM taking over is that they will not be bound by the hiring/firing rules of UC. People will be fired when ever there is funding issues, people will be fired for poor performance, people will be fired for poor decisions. I wonder how many Bloggers with new LM tattoos will find themselves unemployeed in 2007?
 
We shall see 11:10 - it is unclear that LM has a good understanding of the northern NM mentality, even though they run Sandia. Certainly in for some interesting times.
 
The 11:05 poster seems unaware that Sandia also has LDRD,at the same rate as LANL, and uses it to fund science. Surprised?
As to Sandia not being bound by UC policies, thank God for that! It would be nice to install some policies that actually planned for, and rewarded, performance. I have never worked for a LANL manager who actually used performance planning. Too much work!!
As for the "Northern New Mexico mentality", I'm sure Paul Robinson will be shocked to hear about that! I just hope he shows the LANL managers with the "Northern New Mexico mentality" the door. That would be reason enough to get rid of UC; with Van Ness, Kuckuck and the whole lousy crew....
 
To the poster of:
One of the best things about LM taking over is that they will not be bound by the hiring/firing rules of UC. People will be fired when ever there is funding issues, people will be fired for poor performance, people will be fired for poor decisions. I wonder how many Bloggers with new LM tattoos will find themselves unemployeed in 2007?

That is the entire idea of contracting out both LANL and LLNL. It was the best way to get people to leave on their own without being fired or dismissed for any reason. By doing so these facilities will have had nothing to do with you leaving on your own one way or the other. They have given you a choice. You can stay and become an employee of the new corporation and freeze your UC retirment, or you can retire and they will be done with you. The option is yours. You will make that call and do what is best for you. It was and is the perfect plan and I don't think anyone in DOE, NNSA or the UC came up with it. If they did they should be hired to thin out any coporation that has excess people and virtually no mission. What better way their to clean the house. Oh and BTW, I will be one of those that will retire even if that means I have to sell my home and move to another state where the cost of living is cheaper and live on 33%. It's not all good, but then again that is just life and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
 
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