Monday, February 06, 2006

Something doesn't add up

A comment from the


DOE's 2007 budget request is now on their website

I checked the "Lab Tables" and something doesn't add up.

LANL is down $10 million from 2006.
FY 2007 = $1,844,461,000
FY 2006 = $1,855,230,000

So how are all the new additional cost[s] associated with LANS running LANL to be paid for by DOE?

BTW, LLNL is up $32 million from 2006;
FY 2007 = $1,240,542,000
FY 2006 = $1,208,443,000

Let's see what the numbers tell us. If the "Lab Tables" are correct, and hold up, then in FY 2007 we might expect $10M + ~$77M (Contractor's fee) + ~$100M (Transition costs) + ~$100M (GRT) = ~$287M less in the budget. That's about 1,055 staff members less funding, at $272K per staff. A 13% budget reduction.

It adds up perfectly. Everyone wondered why the new Administration building was not large enough to house the current staff. Now you know, this plan has been in the works for a very long time. It also seems to explain why Psycho Pete was allowed to wreak so much havoc without any intervention. We've been had by design.
John, do you believe the DOE is smart enough to come up with this devious a plan?
Follow the money.
BTW, LLNL is up $32 million from 2006;
FY 2007 = $1,240,542,000
FY 2006 = $1,208,443,000

If LLNL is up $32M then why is LLNL laying people off by the dozens, closing buildings and some facilities entirely? I think there is some thing called RTBF issues. I haven't a clue to what that is, but I know that nine facilities got their funds cut and they are scrambling on what to do next. It so bad that some facilities which are vital to others may in fact loose their manpower as the people are displaced and just go away, "forever". But I guess that's what they call progress, or maybe it's how DOE/NNSA had it planned all along. We will never know, nor can we do anything about it.
You make an excellent point Travis. I think it may be more a case of perseverance than intellect. We've been under the gun since the days of the tiger teams. But there is little doubt that DOE had a lot to do with foisting the Vice-Admiral upon us. And, I’ve been hearing complaints about space in the new Ad building for years. Maybe it’s just my cynical mind at work but it seems to have been preordained by someone. I think the tracks have been covered too well to do as DOEGuy suggest though. I’d love to be proven wrong on that.
Check out "Crunch Time for NNSA", posted just below (which can NOT be sung gracefully to the tune of "Springtime for Hitler"). Doug's estimate of 1000 fewer staff is close enough for a "first cut" (no pun intended, whatsoever). Now assume that the DOE managerial team's estimate of 300 retirees holds; that means a RIF of 700 in October 2006 by the LANS team. But then those RIFees will be replaced in the next year 2007 by a forced frogmarch over to LANL of LLNL weaponeers (most of whom will refuse to be forced, of course, unless they have already jumped ship to spiffy LANS upper management positions), in order to "consolidate" all the weapons work at LANL--so that LLNL can be reduced in size appropriate to a "green" lab.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Any thoughts from the Livermore contingent?
Brad-- I think the LLNL frogs will have a much shorter hop to take. I have said for some time that I think most of the weapons work will eventually be consolidated in Nevada. Todays article by Roger Snodgrass makes some reference to this possibility. I think both labs will get downsized as much of the experimental work ends up at NTS. That's my guess.
I think both labs will get downsized as much of the experimental work ends up at NTS.

I think that NTS ia a good place for it but I do question how many people want to move to LosVegas, NV and do that commute?

I will bet that all of the weapons related work will be done at LANL and all of the ASCII, Bio and HLS will be done at LLNL.

Yes all of this spells downsizing but remember that is what they want and I think they are going to get it. Just not as fast as I'd like to see it happen or in the manner that I would like to see it happen in order to make a point.

Oh well. It is what it is and eventually all of us will have to fins new jobs outside the DOE complex.
Is anyone surprised that there will be downsizing across the complex? As I mentioned before, when was the last time you saw a phase 3? If your customer is not asking for something, well guess what?

The NW complex reconfiguration report states that all SNM Cat 1 and 2 work as well as most of the experimental weapons work, pit production, etc should be moved to an area which is far removed from any population centers. However it states that the MPF should be able to handle 2 shifts for surge production.
Does anyone see a problem with this? Like the fact that there isn't a large pool of skilled and experienced workers to draw from in some isolated area? Los Alamos is difficult enough to live in due to the isolation.
The Congressional Research Service has a report online ( that points out some of these problems with the DOE plan.
I will bet that all of the weapons related work will be done at LANL and all of the ASCII, Bio and HLS will be done at LLNL.

Would anybody happen to know what character set standard LANL will adopt when ASCII is moved entirely to LLNL?

There are two excellent articles in last week's Economist (1/28 -

2/3) addressing the fiscal stress on British and US pension funds.

They are entitled "Company pensions - Time for a reality check"

(p13) and "Actuaries and the pensions crunch - When the spinning

stops" (p65). While they don't specifically mention UCRS, they do

provide general facts and insights about pension funds that could

lead the reader to conclude that UCRS might not be as financially

healthy as has been generally assumed.

The gist of the articles is that for years actuaries have been

giving over-optimistic evaluations of the financial health of

pension funds including the presence of phantom surpluses. The

flawed projections were due in part to underestimates of future

liabilities (eg employee life spans) coupled with overestimates of

the return on assets held in the funds, particularly those derived

from equities. Fund managers, trustees, and governments accepted

these unrealistic projections with little question, simply because

they were being told what they wanted to hear.

Included are some other eyebrow raising items. Apparently, the

situation in Britain is more severe on average than that in the US,

because the British pension funds give regular COLAs. Also, the

so-called surpluses were used as justification for trustees to

grant "contribution holidays" during which employee contributions

were temporarily suspended. Does this remind you of a fund dear to

our hearts?

Perhaps I am being overly cynical (paranoid?), but it would be

comforting to see an independent actuarial analysis of UCRS based

on the more modern and conservative methods to which the articles

refer. Thus, the proposed UCRP-LANL fund may indeed represent more

than a tawdry grab for money by UC, or an irresolvable spat between

DOE and UC. In addition it may be UC's way of shedding liabilities

from UCRS, ie us. Naturally, I am interested in others' views and

opinions on this subject.
Although I haven't read these Economist articles (having begun economizing by letting my subscription lapse), I have found reasonable commentary in this magazine before. I think your interpretations make sense; I don't think you're being overly cynical or paranoid. Of course they are trying to shed their liabilities (us) by initiating the UCRP-LANL action. The concern for us liabilities (from UC's point of view) is how do we stop them from succeeding in what is obviously (to me and others in this blog) illegal and immoral.
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