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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Roadmap made up of game–changing technologies

The Laboratory’s roadmap to the future needs game–changing technologies that can meet the emerging needs of the nation.

And Livermore is on its way. Tómas Díaz de la Rubia on Thursday outlined the Lab’s five–year roadmap strategy during an all–hands meeting. He said the Lab needs to focus on recruiting and retaining employees.

Even though there is a constant flow of new ideas from Lab employees and the Lab is highly regarded in the external community, Díaz de la Rubia said the Lab is in a funk.

“Right here, right now, something is not working quite right. The Lab’s engine is sputtering,” he said. “We need to get going again doing what we do best – recruiting and retaining outstanding talent in all areas of the Lab, executing on our mission priorities, and innovating for the future.

“We all need to work together to kick start the engine of the Lab.”

Three leaders from the seven Roadmap to the Future thrust areas gave short summaries of what they determined were strategic areas where the Lab needs to move.

Wes Spain, who leads the cyber and space security and intelligence area, said the needs include “real time situational awareness of complex systems; predictive models of computer information systems and a hybrid of human–machine systems that learn from language and images”.

“We need to crack this nut,” he said. “These are significant S&T challenges, but this Lab is uniquely positioned to do well in these areas.”

Julio Friedmann outlined the regional climate modeling and impacts area. “I don’t think people understand how bad it is and how much needs to be done” in terms of climate change, he said. “But this is good news for us because it presents a great opportunity.”

The two key areas are: understanding climate change and its impacts and delivering zero–carbon or low–carbon energy solutions. Friedmann said the Lab is already addressing these issues by investing in better wind prediction capabilities, underground coal gasificaiton combined with carbon capture and sequestration, and carbon capture at its source.

Mike Carter outlined the nuclear threat elimination that is more of a nonproliferation strategy. Key areas include global fissile materials awareness; autonomous forensics; and cradle to grave material modeling. “We need to stop adversaries as early as possible,” he said.

Díaz de la Rubia said future town hall meetings will focus on the other thrust areas: Stockpile stewardship science, biosecurity, LIFE and advanced laser optical systems and applications.

“We’re not at a tipping point; we’re going up,” he said. “We’re ready to change the world, right here, right now.”


Anonymous said...

The lab is in a funk? Oh.. gee.. I had no idea? As you can see, ULM has the pulse of the Lab. What I find amusing is it would seem we (everyone outside of ULM that is) need to do something about it. We are even being told what it is we should be doing. And so there it is folks. Its all our fault that the Lab is a complete, screwed up, mess and ULM has now officially washed its hands of the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I think it's good that someone in upper management admitted that the lab is sputtering. NNSA is killing us. I hope something good comes from this realization, that frees the Lab's creativity from the bonds of being so afraid to F up that it adversely affects innovation.

Anonymous said...

I thought he was going to pass out the Kool Aid.

Anonymous said...

"Even though there is a constant flow of new ideas from Lab employees and the Lab is highly regarded in the external community, Díaz de la Rubia said the Lab is in a funk."

So their solution, hire new employees, because the old ones have the place in a funk. The managers have done a superb job, but the second rate lab employees are holding them back. How is this for a suggestion for management: come out and admit how you have f***ed up, full mea culpa, then listen to your employees, jettison most of the managers, then for the managers that are left, have them play a project management role and not dictators, have only 4 or 5 managers that set strategic direction. The fundamental relationship this management team has with the lab employees needs to be revamped. This same team will not be able to "get us out of the funk" when they are the cause of it. GM: clear out the entire management ranks, replace them with insiders who were not managers or outsiders that are not tainted. That is the only way there can be credibility and hope for getting out of the funk you created. I think you can start with those thrust leaders, not one of them is capable.. tired lab hacks that just never, ever, go away, but suck the lifeblood out of the lab.

Anonymous said...

April 5, 2009 5:24 PM

Yes, NNSA is killing us so why doesn't management get on the phone to the NNSA and complain instead of having an all hands to lay the blame at our feet? Rubia has more than likely just sent morale to a new all time low.

Anonymous said...

The NNSA labs are way past the RAH-RAH revival point. This type of cheer leading is too little and too late.

Most people who are capable and bright are just looking for a way to get out and I don't blame them. The outlook for any real improvements is bleak while for-profit LLCs are allowed to manage these labs and NNSA continues to call the shots.

Anonymous said...

In order to recruit the best and retain the best, there is only 1 formula Diaz De La Rubia: Make it
worthwhile to work at the Lab!

You cannot achieve that with 1/4 percent raises and a fat layer of Management!

Anonymous said...

Management keeps asking the scientists for "game-changing technologies". If the lab is in a "funk", maybe what we need is "game-changing management". Hey, how 'bout it ULM?! What'cha got for us?

Anonymous said...

Diaz De La Rubia would have us issue more sugar pills for the cancer patient when what's really required is radical surgery to help save the patient. That surgery needs to start at the top (LLNS ULM and NNSA).

Anonymous said...

Face it. The only "game-changing technology" this Lab ever developed was nuclear weapons. MFE, AVLIS, Star Wars, and all the others died on the vine.

Why do we think we can change now? We are no longer attracting the best and the brightest, we are swamped with government bureaucracy, and we cost much more than we're worth.

Instead of game changing, we should be thinking game over.

Anonymous said...

"I think it's good that someone in upper management admitted that the lab is sputtering."

The Lab is not sputtering. It is burning.

Anonymous said...

Lame changing technology

IR&D 100 award of the year---

Have an outstanding, experienced University soley run the lab, without the impediment of inexperienced industrial partners.

This will work much better and it will stem the incredible hemorrhage of talent.

Offer excellent benefits and a wonderful new idea, a defined benefit pension plan that is fully funded.

O'mama is a genius!

Anonymous said...

"The Lab is not sputtering. It is burning..."

It is bleeding talent.


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