Saturday, March 11, 2006

Laughing his ass off

New top-level post, from the

post: (Thanks, Travis)

Management at LANL:

1 Director, 1 Deputy Director, 3 PADs, 15 AD's, 57 division leaders, 57 deputy division leaders for a total of 134. Then there's LDRD, STB, Science Program Office, Tech Transfer, Lanl Institutes, Chief Information Advisor and Chief Information Officer (why do we need both?). Audits and Ethics Director, Community Program Office, Chief Prime Contract, EEO, Ombudsmen, Executive Director, Executive Office Manager, Chief Security Officer, Chief Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, National Security Officer, and Communications and Government Affairs Director for a grand total of 153 PAPER PUSHERS. And then there's the 57 chiefs of staff to help out the 57 divisions understand the rules and regulatoins. Now we're up to 210 PAPER PUSHERS.

If the average salary is 150K (probably low), these 210 PAPER PUSHERS will cost the tax payers over 31 MILLION dollars annually. If the average salary is closer to 200K, the total becomes 42 MILLION dollars annually.

We don't even have an idea of how many group and deputy group leaders there will be. And there has already been one post about a possible serious mistake at LANSCE. This of course comes from not asking the troops how well things are working.

Harold Agnew is probably laughing his [ass] off.

You forgot Chief Morale Officer @ $168,000 per annum.
You can be sure Marquez will arrange for quite a number of Morale Officers.
and the new apparent MANIA for centralizing and reorganizing at whatever cost to save pennies down the road... even if they don't know squat about how things work at the lab... Typical "for-profit" mentality to have a top-heavy organization and then skimp on pencils.....
Anyone have a cogent/intelligent comment on what it takes to run a $2B/year organization? I know that will be hard for some....

You have the floor, A&S. You seem to think you know...

First tell us your qualifications, then dispense your wisdom. We are all ears.

"Now we're up to 210 PAPER PUSHERS." -- Travis McGee

Let's run some numbers...

That's 210 "protected" positions, plus the huge staff that works
directly under this new bloated management. Using a 1:4 ratio
for support staff, that comes to 1050 positions that will likely
be "protected" positions should any funding shortfalls arrive.

Considering that our marching orders from NNSA will be towards
beefing up the production work, add in another 2000 positions that
support this new production work, and thus, won't be touched by
any future funding shortfalls.

Thus, roughly 1-in-3 people working at LANL will feel quite safe
once funding shortfalls arrive and talk becomes ripe regarding
a RIF (aka, "Workforce Revitalization").

Note, however, if you're unfortunate enough to be a TSM doing
science, then you'll probably be seen as high-cost, expendable
labor, and find yourself right in the cross-hairs of the RIF.

Forget what NNSA and LANS keep saying about "valuing science".
The proof will come when the cost of supporting this immense
and expensive bureaucracy, along with the $80 million management
profit fees, GRT, and TCP1 pension costs all ends up triggering
a nasty RIF sometime in either FY 07 or FY 08. When it hits
(and does anyone really believe that it won't?), then just
watch how much LANS and NNSA truly value science at LANL.

But, not to worry. Over the next few weeks, Anastascio's going
to tell us how he'll work things out in regards to programs and
such. I'm sure his vu-graphs will contain lots of rosy views
on how his new way of running programs at LANL will bring in lots
and lots of new funding to feed us. What he probably won't tell
you is how his increases in both FTE costs and overhead burdens
are going to quickly eat up funds that currently support LANL.
The "Big Lie" is about to be sprung upon a mostly naive staff.
NNSA and LANS are driven by what Congress wants, and if some of the scientifically illiterate in Congress decide that LANL will work on NNSA projects, science will really go out the door.

You posed an excellent question, and got little, intelligent response. That was my point.

So, one can always start with the classic "span of control" management notion. How big are groups? 10:1, 20:1, 30:1? If you are Jack Walch, you go to the larger ratio of workers to leader (which I am a fan of, since I hate bloated bureaucracies). Then start doing the math. Groups to Sections/Divisions, Divisions to Departments, then to Directorates.

A problem (embedded in your observation), is the "quota" system across the enterprise. That is, if we have an AD for "X", the we have an AD for "Y", even if X and Y are a factor of five (or more) apart. That is apparent at LLNL, when you have Engineering Divisions bigger than most other Directorates. I suspect you have similar discrepancies at LANL.

Another issue is the overall organizational philosophy. Do you have a matrix or not? Do you have an "academic" flavor around discipline departments or are programmatically focused through program offices? Are you "big science and engineering" centric, or are you going to let the "free range (PI) chickens" have a voice?

Personally, I believe the two labs got distracted from their core mission space and that gave rise to a plethora of peripheral missions/sponsors that now complicate our life. These, in turn, create their own life forms (read: bureaucracies).

Since you asked, my qualifications span: dirty fingernail engineer, Group Leader, Division Leader, Deputy Program Leader, Department Head, and Principle Deputy Associate Director.

I applaud what you have done, and just get annoyed at the inane responses to some of your thoughtful ententes.


For starters, his name is Jack Welch (GE), and not Jack Walch.
And Welch's management at GE was brutal. Under Welch, GE began
an annual program of laying off a set percentage of employees
each year. That is an example which I hope LANL never follows!

As far as the organizational philosophy, I've been at LANL long
enough to realize that there is none. Words like "matrix
management" get bandied about, but the truth is that LANL's
organizational structure has always been somewhat muddled.
This comes about because of the nature of the place (ie, lots
of very bright and independent thinking scientist) and because
there hasn't been a single, unifying mission since the mid-70s.
However, in spite of, or maybe because of our chaotic management
style, we've still managed to achieve great things.

LANL's mission morphs as the times change, and a multi-disciplined
approach is one of the things that allows for this to happen.
When we had a powerful enemy, the USSR, our main mission
was nuclear weapons, but it was not our ONLY mission. When the
90's "peace dividends" came and military down-sizing took place,
it was working with US industry and CRADAs. When that couldn't
completely cover for the labs, then "stockpile stewardship"
became the new cheer, and heavy simulation and computer science
efforts came to the fore. After 911, the mission seemed to
move towards threat reduction. At the present, Brooks seems
to be attempting to move us back to the good ol' days of actually
designing and testing (somehow) new nuclear weapons. However,
I think it is doubtful that Congress will be willing to fund
Brooks new vision. But, though the emphasis on missions has
changed, the lab has ALWAYS taken a broad scientific approach,
which is good. In nature, the overly specialized species
tend to get wiped out when change comes. The day that LANL
becomes just a "weapons only" lab will be the day that it
truly begins to die.

You seem to discount the "free range chickens" (ie, TSM PIs)
who work at the labs. Being a former PD-AD, I'm not surprised.
However, much of the great science that gets done at the DOE
labs is done by individual PIs. High-handed upper management
attitudes like yours will surely end up running off some of the
best and brightest minds we have at LANL. Don't tell the
working scientists at this lab what to do. Instead, try
LISTENING to us! That's what good management is suppose to
do. They listen. And from the sound of your post, Arcs_n_sparks,
I can tell you did very little listening while you were holding
down your Principal Deputy Associate Director position.

You would have done much better as a manager if you had spent
less time reading Jack Welch and far more time reading the works
of a better man, like Peter Drucker.
Everybody is entitled to their opinions, A&S, and I thank you for sharing yours. I completely disagree with it, however.

LANL was already suffering under a crushing burden of overhead costs when I retired last July. Now, more top-heavy than ever under the new management structure, and bereft of most of the interesting WFO programs that fled the lab under the dubious leadership of former director Nanos, *nobody* will want to do business with LANL but NNSA/DOE, which is apparently what was desired by those who call the shots.

I feel that the end result of this contract changeover will be exactly want DOE and NNSA seem to have desired: to purge LANL of all science except that which is devoted to nuclear weapons, and their manufacture.

I recommend that you do a careful read of "good2go"'s comments, as I think has has a pretty accurate view of what is happening at Los Alamos.

I actually agree with most of what you and good2go have to say. The "Welch" was a late night typo, and if you read carefully, I mostly pose questions, not opinions. My only opinion was diversion from mission focus. For the record, I have never read anything by "neutron Jack" and agree the he had a brutal approach at GE. I was trying to get back to how many people does it take to run a large organization? What are the guiding principles? Jack wanted larger spans-of-control to avoid bureaucracies; that was the sole point of the reference to him.

A reasonable view of national security extends beyond the nuclear weapon space, but that is an emotional issue that gets clouded by various stakeholders. Certainly, the national security oligolopy enjoyed by the two labs falls off significantly once you move off nuclear weapons.

The cost structures for that capability then complicate life for PI-driven science. If their research is outside of the nuclear weapons space, then they will likely have sponsors complaining about costs. This gives rise to debate about internal cost structures (lab vs. office space charges, G&A rate relief, etc...).

Lastly, I do disagree with good2go on this:

"You would have done much better as a manager if you had spent
less time reading Jack Welch and far more time reading the works
of a better man, like Peter Drucker."

First, g2g does not know who I am and how I have done, and perhaps most importantly, how people that have worked with me view me. Second, I have read Drucker. No debate that he was a better man than Welch.
I could not believe my ears when Mike A. said the Chief Science Office would be in PADSTE. I guess Director Mike is not up to being the Chief Scientist of the Lab, he needs CSO. Bowles/Sharp have not really helped the Lab S&T community in the least, only their friends. I have not heard from a single bench level staff that thinks they have been helpful. I sit in T-div and from what I can tell they have only done things to better themselves. Sharp comes down to T-div. about half his time and sits in his office acting like an important savior of the Lab, gimme a break. Those two are real chameleons (sp?) and have pulled something over on LANS. Just watch LDRD become the "Lab Fellows" funding source.
Fair enough. Thanks, A&S.

I contend that the management structure of the new contractor is in part driven by DOE/NNSA's apparent desire to drive off all science at LANL that is not DOE-funded nuclear weapons science, which would leave DOE with a captive workforce. Cost is no object.

The result is a LANL that no longer holds any appeal to me.

I believe this statement to be correct:” I feel that the end result of this contract changeover will be exactly want DOE and NNSA seem to have desired: to purge LANL of all science except that which is devoted to nuclear weapons, and their manufacture." I also believe that the first department to get cut by any means possible will be science. I truly believe that the science end of stockpile stewardship is over and that N(IF ) by 2010 should resemble MFTF, which for all of you that are not at LLNL has been sold for scrap metal and is two thirds demolished.

Lets face it. LANL is a weapons lab and the "fantasy four" are all weapons people and now are all AD's if you haven't notice. They too at one time were "dirty fingernail engineers who became Group Leader, Division Leader, Deputy Program Leader, Department Head, etc, etc , etc. Knowing this I would expect that all of the weapons work will be transferred from LLNL shortly after the new contractor takes over in 2007, leaving LLNL with very little if anything to do except Homeland Security. How long they can milk this program has yet to be seen, but I do know that they are very good at taking a small project and through procrastination delay the results for decades in order to retain their jobs. Knowing that this is common practice I have a gut feeling that this is probably why DOE sought privatization. I believe that there will be many small under-funded projects that will require answers in short order, and if the results are not viewed as satisfactory by DOE the funding for those projects will be pulled and DOE will move on to the next lowest bidder. Having said that this tends to make me believe that a lot of the unclassified science will be going overseas where scientist are abundant and yet the results obtained will be just as good.

It’s a matter of our scientific base replicating our industrial base for the almighty dollar at the expense of our livelihood.

So maybe it isn't too bad that all of the weapons work is coming to LANL since it will mean job security for all that are actually associated with pertinent aspects of its assembly and verification. However I do expect that within 90 days after the official take over by LANS there is going to be a reevaluation of their needs, which should result in a RIF even though you were sent a letter in the mail stating that you still have your job. What that card will not say is, "for how long". The good news is that you at least have jobs. I may be wrong but I believe that in the end LANL is going to come out the winner.

If you’re into sweet revenge here is a little insight. Please take note that some people of LLNL even after watching your transition period still have no idea that they are living on the edge and that they too should be making plans accordingly. I’d say that at least 90% of them are brain dead and haven’t a clue as to what is going on simply because management does not actively take part in disseminating vital information that is pertinent to their employees welfare. Instead upper level management has off site meetings claiming that they are saving money by doing so, in order to prepare viewgraphs and presentations that say to their employees, “it going to be fine and that there is nothing to worry about”. At the same time those very same people that are in possession of privileged information are becoming more self-servant then ever before in hopes to position themselves in a job classification that likely will not be abolished after the transition. Have no doubt that the feeding frenzy at LLNL has begun.
I cannot believe that nobody has bothered to point out that the new lab director is set to earn 1.4 million dollars next year!? To my knowledge, the current and immediate past directors earned only around $350,000. Regardless of the fact that LANL/LANS is now a for-profit company, how can one just an increase in the Director salary by a factor of 4?
Just don't investigate Mike's $1.3M but I have heard from a good source that at least one of the "fantasy four" has had his salary increase by four times what he was making at LLNL. I would bet that if it was done for one of them it was done for all of them. Now the chore will be for someone to get those records and make them public.

Do they care what happens to you? Not a chance. They have their's and that is all that counts..., from their prospective.
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