Monday, December 12, 2005

Lessons (not) learned

Someone pointed out to me today that the Public Affairs Office is once again imposing long delays on letters submitted to the NewsBulletin, presumably for reasons similar to the July, 2004 censorship campaign. It was PA's decision to impose those extreme restrictions last year that was largely responsible for the decision to create this blog.

If this is again the case, it is an indication that the deep, underlying management problems which existed at LANL under the previous director still remain. Whatever the reason that letters are not being published, or are being published after month-long delays it indicates that there has not been a lessons learned in this particular regard.

Speaking of lessons learned: I clearly recall the former director having promised to deliver a lessons learned about the CREM incident "once he had the facts". He did this at one of his all hands meetings in February. It was at this meeting that he told former DX Division leader Mary Hockady, "I want you to help me with this!"

Recall, the purported 'lost CREM' episode was one of the two justifications used by the former director to support his decision to shut the entire laboratory down. Recently I read that our present director plans to deliver this lessons learned message to the next contractor, but not to LANL staff. What's with that? Perhaps we need to have a "lessons learned" on lessons learned (or not) at LANL.


The whole affair reminds me of a little poem:

We do not what we ought.
What we ought not we do.
We rely upon the thought
that chance will bring us through.
This has the aroma of "Baghdad Bob" Jim Fallin all about it. Of course, he would not implement another censorship campaign without "Sparky" McCumber's approval, so as was stated, we have all the indications of a continued deep underlying management problem here.
The reason that the lessons learned from the CREM incident have not been shared with staff should be obvious. After the FBI report on the incident was made public in January 2005, it was clear to all that Nanos, and by proxy, UC had conducted a massive fuck-up.

No way now to cover up the facts, it is all out there in the open.

Lesson learned from the UC/LANL management perspective? "Oh shit! We really fucked up." How are you going to put any positive spin in that message and convey it to a public that already has all the facts?

That's why there has not been a lessons learned exercise on the CREM incident.
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