Thursday, November 03, 2005
By Andy Lenderman The New Mexican |
November 3, 2005
Enormous pressure on the federal budget and a leading critic of how the national labs are managed have collided in Washington with U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N .M.
Domenici has been long regarded as the unbeatable protector of lab funding — and jobs — in New Mexico.
He faces an Ohio congressman who argues that the glory days of nuclear-weapons spending are over.
U.S. Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio , has questioned how much to spend on the country’s nuclear-weapons complex. Now, urgent needs like the war in Iraq and hurricane devastation are competing with money for the labs.
“I believe that with a new contractor, whomever gets it, there’s going to be some new life breathed into this lab,” Domenici said. “... And I’m kind of upbeat about the future.”
(Looks like St. "Just-Get-Over-It" Pete has been getting lessons in Texas grammar from G.W. Bush--"whomever gets it"?) Nevertheless, there's a glimmer of hope here; we can all be "kind of upbeat," I guess.
-Whomever gets the contract.
(Word from DOE HQ to UT, via an anonymous source, to be read with a thick Texan Slim Pickens kind of drawl in mind: "Get crackin'; you boys got a better'n 70% chance of gettin' it.")
Domenici thinks LANL funding will go up, he clearly
believes that the future for nuclear weapons research
does not look overly bright. These comments by Domenici
should be noted.
NM politicians are expecting LANL growth to come from
greater research in the areas of Homeland Security
and Energy. But in these areas, we'll have to compete
against other contractors who can do this work at a much
lower FTE cost.
LANL must bring FTE costs down by a significant amount if
we are to have any hope of increasing our research work
in these new areas. I trust that our new managers realize
this, and begin paring the massive bloat that has built up
at LANL over the last few years. Bringing FTE costs down
will be painful, but doing it now will help put the lab on
a much stronger financial footing for the future.