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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NNSA's decline

Anonymous said:

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace today (10/28/2008) — Topic: The Future Of U.S. Nuclear Weapons. I caught most of it on C-SPAN and have tried to paraphrase it below. It also looks like you’ll be able to listen to it yourself in the future via this link:

B-1 Bombers and four Trident Submarines no longer have a nuclear mission

In 1992 we unilaterally stopped nuclear testing and developed a Stockpile Stewardship Program

The U.S. has completed all reductions for START

The U.S. is planning to reach a 2/3 reduction of our 2000 nuclear deployed force numbers by 2010 as part of Moscow Treaty, nearly two years early

The U.S. will have 75% fewer nuclear weapons than at the end of the Cold War

A new defense triad developed:
Strike capability consisting of existing capabilities
Defense capability including a limited ballistic missile defense
New infrastructure to support

Rising and resurgent powers, rouge nations -- we need to keep a deterrence

Other countries lacking funding are putting more reliance on their nuclear force

Russia and China are not considered adversaries but we cannot ignore their developments

Proliferation: the fewer nuclear armed states, the better

We simply cannot predict the future, our track record has not been that great

The genie cannot be put back in the bottle

If we can accept that nuclear weapons are still relevant, must continue responsibility

Recent issues of Air Force handling of nuclear weapons and related material

1990’s streamlining folded some nuclear related components into regular supply chain

Another element to credibility: Safety, Security, and Reliability of the weapons

Our weapons are currently safe, secure, and reliable

Long term prognosis -- Bleak

No new design since the 1980’s, no new devices have been built since the 90’s

A serious brain drain of veteran nuclear scientists and technicians

NNSA has lost a quarter of work force since 90’s

Half of nuclear lab scientists are over fifty years old

By some estimates, three-quarters of experienced workforce will be at retirement age in several years

Weapons were designed on the assumption of a limited shelf life then replacement

Sensitive parts do not last forever and developed with narrow technical margins

No test to certify these weapons since 1992, test data becoming incomplete

Currently the U.S. is the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal or has the capability to produce a new nuclear warhead

To be blunt, there is no way to maintain a credible deterrence while reducing the number of weapons in stockpile without testing or pursuing a modernization program

Funding for a Reliable Replacement Warhead program has only been supported at a conceptual phase and now the funding for that has been cut

The program did not deal with new capabilities; it dealt with the future credibility of our nuclear deterrent

The U.S. must transform from an aging cold war nuclear weapons complex to a smaller, less costly, modern enterprise that can meet our nations nuclear security needs

A new paradigm is required for the post cold-war world era

Need ability to deter a range of potential adversaries from taking a variety of actions

Also must face nation states passing weapons into the hands of terrorists

Need to design redundant systems to make attack appear pointless

As long as human nature is what it is…

- - - - - - -
I retired early when the management of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab transitioned from the University Of California to LLNS. I saw the funding issues, I saw the moral issues, and I endured the management issues. I smile though as I reminisce to when I contributed my limited pieces to the puzzle.

p.s., My thanks to those who maintain the "LLNL, The True Story" web site.


Anonymous said...

Let's see...

-Long term prognosis -- Bleak

-A serious brain drain of veteran nuclear scientists and technicians

-NNSA has lost a quarter of work force since 90’s

-Half of nuclear lab scientists are over fifty years old

-By some estimates, three-quarters of experienced workforce will be at retirement age in several years

Sounds to me like it's time to lower the morale and begin another round of layoffs and budget cuts at the NNSA labs. Maybe NNSA, Congress and the for-profit LLCs can manage to get rid of all the remaining expertise in just two more years or less. Wouldn't that be an accomplishment they could all be proud of!

Anonymous said...

Think of the NNSA weapon labs as the Ford Motor Company of the research world... former iconic institutions that are currently heading into scientific bankruptcy because of extremely poor management. Unlike Ford, though, no "bailouts" will be forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand nuclear deterrent strategy. If a weapon is viable, then it is viable. I have yet to hear anyone claim the current stockpile to be anything but. Beyond that, it only matters what your enemy thinks you have in hand rather than what you actually have that counts in deterrent strategy. If you don't get that then I invite you to look at rouge regimes that either have or will have weapons. The weapons that they have tested have been shown to be vastly inferior to our own yet by the way this country and others around the globe react you would think they just got hold of the most advanced weapons technology on earth.

People like you that go around bemoaning the state of the current stockpile, longing for the "good old days", are our enemies best friend.

Anonymous said...

And that is what Gates admitted to publicly. We all know it's really much worse.

Add nukes to the list of items we'll now have to import from China.

Anonymous said...

October 28, 2008 10:36 PM

I agree with the lay-offs and as a far as three-quarters of experienced workforce will be at retirement age in several years, LLNS could give a darn less. There objective is to bring in all fresh blood before you leave at much higer wages as you can see by your little piss ant 1% in a needed 20% year, have you train them and then kick your butt out the door with no thanks. Got it.

Anonymous said...

Since NNSA slapped us in the face, I enjoy seeing it screw up.

Anonymous said...

I particularly enjoy watching the blubbering Miller fail.

Can't wait for him to resign and for Moses to take over -- then LLNS will really suck, it will be great fun to watch.

LLNL is dead. The corpus is animated by decomposition gases.

Morale problem? Nah, we feel great. It is delightful to see ULM fail and we get paid to do it.

It is amazing how incompetent the new faces in strategic human capital are... can really tell none of them are UC caliber.

Anonymous said...

What feels strange and is hard to get used to is that ULM is failing, NNSA is failing and WE are helping them do that. Is it possible for the people in the trenches to get to ULM and have a direct line of communication with them(and I dont mean using Ask George on the LLNL intranet)?
People in the trenches will have to go through a layer of ULM-pleasing, tail-wagging middle-management to do that!
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

LLNL is failing because that is the plan. NNSA only needs and can only afford a small production complex. Their mission is to find a politically expedient way to get rid of most of the highly paid research staff at LLNL.

Raising the cost of research labor to astronomical levels is one way they can go about it. If you can't find sufficient funding, then you won't be around for much longer, will you?

Dropping benefits and lowering salaries over time is another way in which they can lower morale and get people to leave.

They can't tell you about this devious plan to your face, but it should be clear by now what NNSA and their well paid henchmen in LLNS are trying to do.

Anonymous said...

LLNS is failing. That's good enough news for one day.

Anonymous said...

"..and WE are helping them do that.."

Nonsense, old boy. Employees were once the strength of LLNL. Unter LLNS they are just capital.

Instead LLNS - Congress's lapdog - is paid a $45M yearly fee, extracted from employees pockets, for what? Has there been one improvement? Even one thing that hasn't been ruined by LLNS Midas touch?

Don't feel guilty. The crew didn't sink the Titanic, but they did get a good view.

This one is allllllll Congress and NNSA and I loooooove it.

God is just

Anonymous said...

October 31, 2008 9:00 PM

You forgot president Bush. It was his NNSA and his congress that did this to us.

Anonymous said...

Has there been one improvement? Even one thing that hasn't been ruined by LLNS Midas touch? -- 9:00 PM

Yes, I can think of one. Salaries for the top 1% at LLNL went way, way up. Funny, that?

Anonymous said...

November 6, 2008 9:46 AM

Do the math, that is 0.5%. It won't be 1% until after the next round or two of layoffs


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