Tuesday, March 28, 2006

LA-UR-05-9307: Ethics, Crises, and Due Process: Security Incidents at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Hi Doug,

A colleague wrote the attached for an MBA degree course he is
enrolled in. (He's a good nuclear physicist in real life). I think it
has an interesting perspective on recent goings-on at LANL and
thought others might be interested. Would there be any interest in
posting this on the LANL blog? It's already been cleared for
distribution.

Cheers,


___________________________________________-

1. Introduction

My reason for this paper is summed up in the following quote1 from the LANL Newsbulletin’s
Reader’s Forum early in 2005, which refers to events around the Laboratory shutdown
in the summer of 2004:

At least one thing could easily be done to raise the morale: tell us what really
happened
over at Dynamic Experimentation (DX) Division. Show us the
evidence. Acknowledge
all system failures. Convince us that the personnel
actions are justified.

Few employees know even the basic facts that led to the shutdown, and almost none know the
thinking behind the decisions made at the time. Even worse, there has been little discussion
about how the events may have been related to others over the last 15–20 years or how those
problems will be perceived and dealt with by a new contractor. Instead, the advice from our
leadership, as represented by a comment made by Senator Pete Domenici, has been “Get over
it.” Although many employees would be happy to put the events of the last decade behind
them, others such as the writer above are still looking for some understanding that would
make such closure easier. Given the schedule for announcing the new contractor, the last
weeks of 2005 may be the last opportunity

[...]

Full Paper

Comments:
It never hurts to maintain a written record of history. Thanks to the author, and to the person who submitted it to the blog.

--Doug
 
I cannot find fault with this paper by Roger Byrd, except for the beginning sentence of the first full paragraph on page 28:

"Fast-forward to the spring of 2005."

That should have been 2004, as one can see by the context.

Not a bad record for a paper on the history of the Great Shutdown of that infamous year.

-Brad
 
After reading the post and its comments, it occurred to me that there is one word that, better than all others that I can think of that reperesents LANL today:

spav·ined
adj.

1. Afflicted with spavin: a spavined horse.
2. Marked by damage, deterioration, or ruin: a junkyard full of spavined vehicles.
# posted by Roderick Spode : 3/28/2006 05:26:04 PM
 
This is a very well-written paper that details major events which have impacted LANL morale. An upcoming discussion and a resulting policy regarding the employment of Foreign Nationals (FNs) by LANL might also have a very negative impact on LANL morale.

Picture a rigid policy with a condition such as not employing an FN unless you can show that no American citizen can do the job.

Picture a rigid policy that suggests that all FNs are suspect.

Picture a rigid policy that states that all FNs can be exploited because they are not loyal to the U.S.

Picture a rigid policy that states that the work an FN can do for LANL might be outweighed by the risk of employing one.

Picture a rigid policy that 60 years ago would have excluded the many scientists who developed the bomb.

Picture a rigid policy that is really profiling at its worst.
 
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