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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Congressional Testimony Reinforces Picture Of Damage To Labs from Federal Micromanagement

Anonymously contributed:

Congressional Testimony Reinforces Picture Of Damage To Labs from Federal Micromanagement

From the Independent 2/24/2012:
Too big to post all here, see complete at:


http://www.independentnews.com/news/article_897bb9ce-5e59-11e1-bf9f-0019bb2963f4.html


posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 12:05 pm, Thu Feb 23, 2012.
By Jeff Garberson
Critical Congressional testimony last week strongly reinforced concerns expressed only two days earlier in a national report about the damage that federal micromanagement is inflicting on the nation’s three national security laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore.
The testimony was delivered to a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee by several former laboratory directors, including Livermore’s George Miller and Michael Anastasio.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

One can only dream....

"To contrast Livermore’s situation with a very different federal laboratory, Miller cited the case of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While JPL [operated and managed by Caltech] has a larger budget than Lawrence Livermore, he said, it has only about 30 federal employees on site. Livermore has 130.

Miller estimated that it takes one to two Laboratory employees to carry out the tasks created by the on-site federal employees. So if NNSA reduced its on-site staff to the NASA/JPL level of 30, about 100-200 Lawrence Livermore staff could be freed to work productively on science and technology."

Anonymous said...

The micro-management and extreme focus on safety and security over all rational bounds is driving the cost of staff labor rates to astronomically levels, thus killing jobs in the process. It's one of the big inputs helping to cause the 10% layoffs headed for regular staff at LANL during the next month.

People talk about it, reports clearly document it, but nothing ever gets done to stop it. This hyper-risk averse culture at NNSA (and telegraphed to the "for-profit" LLC management) is killing our national security labs!

We have met America's enemies and they are seated in Washington DC. Bloated bureaucracy is enemy # 1.

Anonymous said...

100% correct.

Anonymous said...

The Vultures were not entertained by the Hyena

Anonymous said...

I think many are missing the point. Congress wants one thing from the Labs: no headlines. Anything after that is gravy. If you lock the labs down so badly they can not do any work, that's fine: you've still got the flow of money to the constituents and political contributors, and you've got no headlines.

People (especially from LANL) keep wanting to see some dark conspiracy at work. They don't get it. Nobody cares. I think people prefer the conspiracy theory to apathy because, at least in the conspiracy case, they can feel a little of their old importance. It's more gratifying to be hated than ignored.

But, really, nobody cares. Look around. We've got an astronaut corps (which we are expanding) with no vehicles in which to fly. It took ten years of serious apathy do destroy America's manned space capabiiity. Nobody cares about that either; do you really think they care about a science lab with no science?

Anonymous said...

do you really think they care about a science lab with no science?

February 26, 2012 12:05 PM

Probably not. The amount they pay Bechtel for "no headlines" is a pittance compared what they pay for other garbage.

Maybe after the first couple of US cities are destroyed by the Islamic bomb, they will start to care. Or not.

Anonymous said...

Maybe after the first couple of US cities are destroyed by the Islamic bomb, they will start to care. Or not.

Both. Dead voters get Congress' and the President's attention, but only after they're dead. We only need to look at the apathy before 9/11 to the flurry of reaction afterward to see how this story goes.

Anonymous said...

During my ~40 yrs in this business I’ve watched this hyper-risk averse culture in the NWC create the rampant increase in S&S/ES&H (particularly the past 25 yrs) to the point we’ve become bloated cows. $150k/yr for a security guard?

I’ve come to believe this is the objective – continue to frighten the public with safety & security bogeymen to the point of pricing the Labs/NWC out of business.

If that’s what our country wants – fine…but destroying the assets of our national labs in the process is a terrible mistake.

Not to worry though – I’m on the check-out list & taking my bad attitude with me.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry though – I’m on the check-out list & taking my bad attitude with me.

February 26, 2012 3:43 PM

Good for you. The only appropriate response to an untenable employment situation is to leave it. Regardless of your age, position, or seniority, just get out. End of problem. In today's economy, workforce mobility is the key to workforce satisfaction and advancement. It is also the only way to send a message to crappy bosses: good people they want to keep leaving.

Is the stress of temporary unemployment and a new job search higher than the stress of staying? If you are not good enough at your job to sell your skills elsewhere, or if your skills are not valuable elsewhere, then you have a different calculation to make, because in those cases, your bosses WILL continue to make your life more and more miserable. If you work at LANL, you know that the situation there has been getting worse, with steep, uninflected slope, for about 8 years now. It should be obvious that it WILL NOT get better during the remainder of your career lifetime. What are you going to do about that? Good luck.

Anonymous said...

"It is also the only way to send a message to crappy bosses: good people they want to keep leaving."

Boy,are YOU out of touch with the real world. The LANS managers don't give a rusty fig about how "good" you are. They just want you gone, especially if you are "good" enough to command a high salary.

Anonymous said...

Boy,are YOU out of touch with the real world. The LANS managers don't give a rusty fig about how "good" you are. They just want you gone, especially if you are "good" enough to command a high salary.

February 27, 2012 5:22 PM

Wrong. They need to meet their PBIs to get their bonuses. Lousy employees can't do that for them.

Anonymous said...

Today's ABQ Journal had an article by John Fleck that listed where the LANL budget hits were coming from. Here's the info Fleck was given. It comes directly from the NNSA (according to Fleck):

* Minus $140M in the Weapons Program
* Minus $100M in other NNSA Programs
* Minus $60M in Work for Others (WFOs)


I was surprised to see the $60M loss in WFOs. Director McMillan gave no specific break-out figures like this during his All-Hands meeting last week and failed to mention the large hit to WFOs. He only mentioned that the lab was facing $300 million in funding losses with about $200 million of that being for labor costs and the rest for materials costs.

Add the above up and you've got $300M in funding losses just as McMillan announced. That's a huge hit!

Too bad LANS management has done nothing to help beef up the lab's declining lab budgets with more WFOs. Instead, they've bungled these WFO projects with burdensome policies, increased the research labor rates to astronomical levels by taxing them with enormous overhead rates and thereby actually *reduced* WFOs at LANL by a huge amount!

And for this the LANS LLC profit partners make around $80 million per year? What a sick joke.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see the $60M loss in WFOs.

Why? D.C. is tighter than a drumhead right now. Most WFO is other Federal agencies, and everyone is hunkering down. People aren't asking what new program to start, they're asking which existing ones close out.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I was surprised to see the $60M loss in WFOs.

Why? D.C. is tighter than a drumhead right now. Most WFO is other Federal agencies, and everyone is hunkering down. People aren't asking what new program to start, they're asking which existing ones close out.

February 27, 2012 9:04 PM

One other decision that LANS gave up was the W78 LEP. Why is the world would McMillan and Knapp give up this weapon (and funding) full-well knowing they were going to be short of funds? Because they have no vested interest in the long-term viability in LANL. You name it, they just don't give a shit about LANL or Los Alamos. Both McMillan and Knapp are about as much use as tits on a bull.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see the $60M loss in WFOs.

Why? D.C. is tighter than a drumhead right now. Most WFO is other Federal agencies, and everyone is hunkering down. People aren't asking what new program to start, they're asking which existing ones close out.

February 27, 2012 9:04 PM

Someone must have forgotten to tell SNL. They reported an increase in WFO.
What went wrong at LANL? The trend was up for last couple years.

Anonymous said...

In other news: in March LANL will start conducting an extensive program of random searches for vehicles entering the Lab. I kid you not, check out yesterday's announcement on the Lab's front page. Just as everybody is testifying how LANL has been turned into a scientific prison, the management comes up with this brilliant idea.

Just to be clear: random inspections have nothing to do with real security. Since only a small fraction of vehicles can be inspected, this won't stop a potential terrorist. What it will do, however, is give another permission for the security goons to harass and abuse scientists and engineers on their way to work every day.

Amazing.

Anonymous said...

How ironic that the WFO decline at LANL is posted on the thread for the hearing for the recent NAS study. Recommendation #1 from the study was to increase WFO at the NNSA labs.

Anonymous said...

'I was surprised to see the $60M loss in WFOs. Director McMillan gave no specific break-out figures like this during his All-Hands meeting last week and failed to mention the large hit to WFOs.

February 27, 2012 8:37 PM'

Duh! Maybe, just maybe, a set of really talented lawyers scrubbed the speech to make it fit within the desired box. When NNSA permits the Labs to take on WFO the Labs agree that they are not hiring additional staff to do the work. Ergo, decline in WFO can NOT be a reason to cut the workforce.

Anonymous said...

A $140M loss in the weapons programs at LANL. This rests entirely on Brett Knapp (Principal Associate Director of the Nuclear Weapons). I know for a FACT that he was unaware on the W78 LEP being transferred to LLNL. This guy has virtually no contacts in Washington and has alienated those that he knows or know him. By the way, has anyone noticed he is not appointing or selected any one to his former job, the Associate Director of Nuclear Weapons? This guy is King of the Hill in Los Alamos, unfortunately he is also an incompetent self-consumed bungling idiot!

Anonymous said...

Please, Knapp is no dummy. He is self-serving to the core, and certainly has something to gain by selling out the w78 to his Livermore cronies. Even the lapdogs he has acquired are too smart to become his deputy. This is not a case of benign neglect. Rather, it is a case of carefully orchestrated destruction. Knapp is a giant wrecking ball. He is extremely good at what he does.

Anonymous said...

*This guy is King of the Hill in Los Alamos, unfortunately he is also an incompetent self-consumed bungling idiot!*

This is more likely to fit Wallace than Knapp.

Anonymous said...

Please, Knapp is no dummy.

February 29, 2012 6:39 AM

I've known Knapp since he was a snot nose engineer at LLNL. He does not command high intellect, technically of otherwise. He was literally a "part chaser" early in his career and got a few breaks along the way. Given this, he is likely to trip up at some point and will take a hard fall. Not a matter of if, but when!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately his fill will take people out who don't deserve to be taken out. And people like him always seem to land on their feet.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever forget... it was Director CHARLIE McMILLAN who put the bully, Brett Knapp, into this important PAD position at LANL.

Yes, Knapp is a self-absorbed idiot (somewhat in the mode of Pete Nanos), but it was the "wily coyote" named Charlie that set him loose to do damage to the LANL weapons program.

The buck stops at the Director's desk. He also buckled and caved to the former LANL position of defending CMRR. What does he care? He's a short termer who will be taking his large wads of cash back with him to Cali once this cluster-fck at Los Alamos is over.

Anonymous said...

He's a short termer who will be taking his large wads of cash back with him to Cali once this cluster-fck at Los Alamos is over.

February 29, 2012 9:04 PM

Who Charlie or Knapp? I know, the answer is yes, both these f****ers. Both these California surfers are riding the big wave here at Los Alamos. I can hardly wait to see a "wipe-out", because wipe-outs are inevitable at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Alright already. We get it, there are some unresolved *mommie* issues on display. Give it a rest, for goodness sake!!

What’s the point of using this forum to continue to run such a vicious personal attack on Knapp?
Sure, it’s *the LANL way* to hate all ADs that come from the outside and mount spiteful rumor campaigns until the venomous gossip finally prevails and they are replaced with some internal worker.

Try being FOR something of your own for a change and not having the reputation of always being AGAINST something that isn’t home brewed. In a sad way it is reminiscent of the malicious tactics of Hiram Wesley Evans who didn’t stand FOR anything but did lead another movement of hatred AGAINST everything that wasn’t like him.

Anonymous said...

@9:25 AM, interesting take. Macbeth is more like it.

Anonymous said...

So, the people pointing out the LANS managerial destruction taking place at our US nuclear weapon research labs are like the former head of the KKK of the 1920s, Hiram Wesley Evans?

Wow, that's some comparison 11:47 am. Looks like the person with some serious issues may, in fact, be you.

Anonymous said...

Knapp needs to go. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Not only will Brett Knapp not go, he's being groomed by LANS to be LANL's next Director. Ouch!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not only will Brett Knapp not go, he's being groomed by LANS to be LANL's next Director. Ouch!!!!

March 2, 2012 8:45 AM

Imagine a mean-spirited hack with no scientific credentials and no professional accomplishments standing in the shadows of the likes of Oppenheimer, Bradbury, Agnew, and Hecker. It is time for all self-respecting scientists to leave LANL, and time for UC to leave LANS. Nothing can justify remaining a part of this unfolding travesty.

Anonymous said...

And, February 27, 2012 5:22 PM, they all wear black top hats, have mustaches, and roll their hands together, laughing menacingly.

Anonymous said...

"Imagine a mean-spirited hack with no scientific credentials and no professional accomplishments standing in the shadows of the likes of Oppenheimer, Bradbury, Agnew, and Hecker. It is time for all self-respecting scientists to leave LANL, and time for UC to leave LANS. Nothing can justify remaining a part of this unfolding travesty."

March 2, 2012 10:12 AM

---

AMEN to that!!! This is, indeed, a complete travesty being lead by DOE/NNSA and their good friends over at Bechtel and LANS. I've lost all my respect for UC and the LANS Board of Governors.

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