Sunday, October 30, 2005

Comments on LANL Blog

Doug/Brad, please post anonymously. Thank you.

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Comments on LANL Blog

I’ve read this blog since its inception and finally decided to offer these comments.

1) People have been most willing to lay the blame on UC for mismanagement of the Lab. While this may indeed be true, when I first arrived here in the 1980s, I became aware that the Lab neither wanted nor needed direct UC management, nor did UC want or need direct involvement with the Lab. We certainly enjoyed our autonomous freedom. We got the good UC benefits; they got the good press and enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with us. It seems disingenuous now to blame them for something we neither wanted nor needed.

2) Nanos was a real piece of work, but who knew? Folks on this blog have chastised UC for keeping Nanos when it was apparent he was in over his head. But put yourself in UC’s shoes. How could they get rid of the man while DoE and the US Congress were patting this man on the back? UC was not exactly in good graces with either entity. Getting rid of Nanos at that time would have only provided confirmation that Nanos was right about us.

3) The US Government is in no way trying to save taxpayers’ money by changing contractors of the Lab. The extra money now needed to run the Lab each and every year can and will never be recovered.

4) Excuse me, but to those folks accusing the current administration of nefarious conduct by competing for the Lab contract must remember, as I do, that the very first mention of competing the Lab contract came when our current governor was the Energy Secretary.

5) The new contract will most certainly be given to the Lockheed-Martin group. The rate at which this thing has been drug out can’t all be DoE’s ineptitude. I think it’s to allow everyone to get used to the idea of change.

6) People who extol the positives of future director Robinson must remember that he’ll only be here a few years at most. Corporate headquarters awaits. I saw it happen to Norm Augustine when I worked for Martin-Marietta. Some Lockheed-Martin pencil pusher will follow.

7) The future of the Lab is known, but not by us. It is known by the DoE and will most certainly be known by the new contractor. The first indication of how the Lab may fare in the future is to notice where the new management decides to live. If they choose to work AND live in Los Alamos, it indicates to me that the Lab’s future may be healthy. If they buy homes in Santa Fe, it means they must be worried about the resale values of the homes in a dying town.

Comments:
I found this interesting because we have middle management at LLNL selling their homes now and moving entirely out of the area a year before the contractor is due to take over. I myself am pulling the plug in 2006 instead of waiting until 2007. I believe there will be many changes and that the labs will never be the same again.

So I guess what you say is true for LLNL too:

" 7) The future of the Lab is known, but not by us. It is known by the DoE and will most certainly be known by the new contractor. The first indication of how the Lab may fare in the future is to notice where the new management decides to live. If they choose to work AND live in Los Alamos, it indicates to me that the Lab’s future may be healthy. If they buy homes in Santa Fe, it means they must be worried about the resale values of the homes in a dying town."

Have a great future.
 
This contribution has so many holes it looks like Swiss cheese, to wit;

1) The problem with the UC non management was that they lied about it, front to back. They were not managing LANL, true enough, but they continuously claimed to be. Of course what they really did was to "fly cover" over the many LANL screw ups. How does this serve the nation's interests?

2) One might explain away UC making Nanos the "interim" Director, to knock a few heads. But, UC made him the "permanent" Director, a huge mistake. I suspect they were just too lazy to run a nation wide search, as they did for the LBNL Director.

3) The DOE can't save money with a new contractor? LANL has been wasting money by the ton. Examples abound; DARHT, ASCI, TA-55 to name a few. Hundreds of millions. And they might even get some pits, hydro shots, computers that work; and a lot less BS.

4) The idea of competing the contract goes back to Secretary O'Leary, not Richardson. Domenici kept blocking it. The competition is an excellent idea, as whoever wins the contract things like TA-55 will be cleaned up. Count on it. There are people in the world who actually know how to run organizations, and even produce pits. UC just isn't one of them.

5) and 6) are contradicted by 7). The future is predicted, followed by a declaration that it can't be predicted. I suggest that the LANL future can't be predicted by anyone, certainly not by the DOE, as they can't control their budget or projects due to Domenici's constant meddling. With this scheme no one is accountable for anything. The only thing one can predict with certainty is that LANL's love affair with nuclear weapons will continue, forever. Domenici will continue to heap pork on LANL's plate, and accountability will continue to be a problem at LANL as long as UC stays involved.
 
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