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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

White House Requests Study of National Lab Governance

Anonymously contributed:

Another study that will lead to zero "positive" change at the labs... Btw, didn't Parney work at IDA?

Weapons Complex Monitor
April 4, 2012
White House Requests Study of National Lab Governance

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has tasked the Institute for Defense Analyses’ Science and Technology Policy Institute to study governance of the nation’s federal laboratories, and former Under Secretary of Energy for Science Steve Koonin will head up the review effort, NW&M Monitor has learned. The study is expected to examine whether the governance structures in place at the laboratories—including the government-owned, contractor operated model in place at Department of Energy/NNSA labs—is appropriate to meet national security challenges into the future. OSTP and Koonin did not respond to requests for comment, but Koonin is expected to hold invitation-only information-gathering sessions over the next month to aid in the review.

In a recent study of the NNSA’s nuclear weapons laboratories, the National Academy of Sciences called the agency’s relationship with its labs “dysfunctional” and “broken.” Koonin was notably outspoken about the state of the science at the NNSA’s weapons laboratories during the NAS study, suggesting that the switch to private management of the labs had taken its toll on science. “It’s been a challenge to maintain a vibrant scientific enterprise,” Koonin said at the time. “That’s not to say there isn’t some great stuff going on, but if you look at the totality of the effort, I don’t think it matches what we had decades ago in the basic research area.” Koonin left the Department in the fall for a post at IDA.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

LLNS/LANS is going to put and END to this study by offering Koonin a lucrative Management position. Mark my words. Betchel can buy anything or anyone they want. NNSA created this "monster" and THEY can't even stop it.

Anonymous said...

This is not complicated. One just has to look at the original Contract 48 (and similar Contract for LANL), and compare it to the latest contract. "Mutuality" was the cornerstone of the relationship. Now it is just a standard business contract with 80% non-value-added B.S. thrown in.

Anonymous said...

April 4, 2012 5:47 PM

You just may have a point Bechtel is ruthless just look at this and think that this is exactly what they are doing to LLNL and LANL. They will suck every thing they can from them.

Bolivia

In September 1999, Bechtel signed a contract with Hugo Banzer, the elected president and former dictator of Bolivia, to privatize the water supply in Bolivia's 3rd-largest city, Cochabamba. The contract was officially awarded to a company named Aguas del Tunari, a consortium in which Bechtel held a 27.5 percent interest. Shortly thereafter, claims surfaced that water rates in that city went up an average of about 50 percent and that even collection of rainwater was being made illegal as a result of the privatization contract.[8] Both of these actions resulted in the Cochabamba protests of 2000. Many had to withdraw their children from school and stop using doctors because of higher costs for water. Martial law was declared, and Bolivian police killed at least 6 people and injured over 170 protesters. Amidst Bolivia's nationwide economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the economy, the Bolivian government withdrew the water contract.

In 2001, Bechtel filed suit against the Bolivian government, citing damages of more for $25 million. Bechtel argues that its contract was only to administer the water system, which suffered from terrible internal corruption and poor service, and that the local government raised water prices. The continuing legal battle attracted attention from anti-globalization and anti-capitalist groups. This topic is explored in the 2003 documentary film The Corporation, in the 2010 Spanish film Even the rain by Icíar Bollaín and on Bechtel's website. In January 2006, Bechtel and the other international partners settled the lawsuit against the Bolivian government for a reported two bolivianos, after intense protests that followed a ruling on jurisdiction favorable to Bechtel by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes

They are are also love to get every dollar they can.

While Bechtel appears for the moment to have the upper hand in the Bolivian lawsuit, the corporate giant has not been as lucky in its hometown of San Francisco. The Board of Supervisors voted last June to cancel a $45 million program management contract awarded to Bechtel in 2000 by the city government to oversee the reconstruction of the Hetch Hetchy public water system.

The vote took place soon after a four month investigation by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alternative weekly, showed that out of nearly $8 million paid out to Bechtel for its first year of work, at least $5 million was a complete and total waste of money.

"In some cases the waste is astonishing: for instance, Bechtel took a city database of projects, resorted the information, transformed the data into a different format - and sold it back to the city for nearly $500,000," wrote reporter Savannah Blackwell.

Other examples of Bechtel's over-billing included tens of thousands of dollars' worth of personal expenses for Bechtel employees including laundry service, numerous meals at fancy restaurants, a $54 tab at Happy Donuts, and in one case, an umbrella and a dental pick. The city is paying far more for Bechtel staffers than it pays own employees who receive no such perks, making Bechtel extremely unpopular in its own hometown.

There is also book
Friends In High Places: The Bechtel Story : The Most Secret Corporation and How It Engineered the World

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone (Koonin, National Academy, JASONS, GAO, etc.) studying, dissecting, analyzing, and scrutinizing if the LANS/LLNS LLC model is viable? It's NOT HARD; it doesn't work folks, ELIMINATE IT!

Anonymous said...

The answers are obvious. Get rid of DOE, NNSA, and end the LLC contracts.

Anonymous said...

Yawn... another study, one of many already performed. They all pretty much say the same thing: lab morale is low, management is risk averse to a ridiculous extremes, costs are sky-rocketing under the for-profit LLCs, micro-management is being taken way too far and the level of scientific excellence is in decline.

Sig Hecker, former Director of LANL, even went so far as to call LANL a "scientific prison" that had lost its way under the for-profit management scheme of the for-profit LLCs. He told that to a Senate Committee several years ago.

Result of all these studies and comments? Nothing changes. The downward trend remains. This White House study will be just like all the others.

Anonymous said...

Here's something for this committee to look into. The performance of the LLC is graded annually by the NNSA. The score is based on many things, but none of them has anything to do with the health and quality of scientific research at the Lab.

How exactly did that come to be?

If the committee were just to dig into this one question, it would gain a great deal of insight into the origin of our problems. Like the fact that people in charge of grading the LLC actually have no technical knowledge in the relevant subjects. These guys then cover up their basic incompetence by generating piles of irrelevant and onerous rules and then demanding 100% compliance.

just dig into something like that and see for yourself, Dr. Koonin.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone (Koonin, National Academy, JASONS, GAO, etc.) studying, dissecting, analyzing, and scrutinizing if the LANS/LLNS LLC model is viable? It's NOT HARD; it doesn't work folks, ELIMINATE IT!

April 4, 2012 8:03 PM

Why end this "cash cow"? LLNS/LANS SEM is profiting monetarily and all these "high-level committees" are making spare money analyzing the hell out of us. Only one problem, no one is being commissioned to, wants to, or needs to MAKE A DECISION. It's too risky!

Anonymous said...

No safety/security issues - how could things be any better?

Anonymous said...

As I stated at my most recent All-Hands meeting, "Follow the money". You'll find all your answers there.

I did and it's now making me $2 million per year!.


- Charlie "MIT" McMillan
- LANS Director... until Bret Knapp takes over

Anonymous said...

The federal government is incompetent. Top to bottom fools.

The only successful programs are some legacy systems that are being dismantled by the fools, who have no capacity to undo what they have done.

So American decline continues. The children lack the values of their ancestors and poorly serve the country.

The one sensible thing the Tea Party has asked for is smaller federal government, to stem the rate of American decline.

Anonymous said...

Why waste more trees for the printing of yet another official document that uncovers the decline and poor moral of the weapon labs under the for-profit Bechtel team and a totally dysfunctional DOE/NNSA?

It will be ignored like all the rest.

Anonymous said...

Why waste more trees for the printing of yet another official document that uncovers the decline and poor moral of the weapon labs under the for-profit Bechtel team and a totally dysfunctional DOE/NNSA?

It will be ignored like all the rest.

April 6, 2012 5:14 PM

Too true. And for the simple reason that NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE (statistically speaking) gives a royal damn about the "decline and poor morale of the weapon labs." Not the public, not the press, not the politicians, probably not even your neighbors. Why should they care (except for national security, nuclear deterrent, yada yada yada)? Give Joe Sixpack on the street looking for a job to feed his family one single reason why he should care about YOUR problems. Develop incontrovertible evidence of criminal activity, illegal use of government funds, violation of workplace regulations, or some other major malfeasance, and you might get the attention of someone whose opinion will matter, and actually get them to give enough of a crap about it to cause some change. Otherwise, give it up. Stay or leave, but just suck it up and live with the consequences of your choices in life. "Bechtel is bad, Bechtel is bad, Bechtel is bad" is not going to make it. Grow up. "Why waste more trees" you ask? Why waste more of your precious time on Earth with this nonsense??

Anonymous said...

What's ironical is that the DOE-IG is crawling around LANS through our asses at the working level, and yet, fraud, waste, abuse, corruption and incest is rampant at the Senior Executive Management (SEM) and they won't touch those guys. It's very obvious the DOE-IG "has been instructed "hands-off" the Big Boy's" at LANS! The whole DOE/NNSA needs to be abolished.

Anonymous said...

LANS is a tapeworm.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
LANS is a tapeworm.

April 7, 2012 6:02 AM

So is LLNS

Anonymous said...

LANS is a tapeworm.

April 7, 2012 6:02 AM

So is LLNS

April 7, 2012 3:13 PM

Maybe the meaning of this is intelligible to some, but not me. Causing the organism to starve? Reducing nutrients to the body? A parasite? This is supposed to be insightful?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
LANS is a tapeworm.

April 7, 2012 6:02 AM

So is LLNS..."

And O'bama is a jackass, Jerry Brown is a fool. Barry Zito is a pitcher, sort of.

Now that we've got perjoratives off the menu, what's next?

Anonymous said...

April 9, 2012 8:17 PM

Yeah yeah... and George Bush is an ignorant moron and Dick Cheney is Darth Vader's eviler clone... Looks like this thread is officially dead!

Anonymous said...

But Clinton has more fun. He had a head for it.

Anonymous said...

7:22 You got it despite yourself!

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