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Friday, November 2, 2012

Will things change?

Anonymously conributed:
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So with only a few days left until the election does anyone want to speculate how things might change or stay the same at the labs. Please keep it civil and on track. I will start off and say that if Obama stays than things at the labs will stay about the same as they have. If Romney gets elected I have no idea.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

You are asking the wrong question. The Labs' fate will be nearly independent of who is elected President. The real question is who controls Congress, since Congress controls the Labs' fate, not the President.

Secondly,"things at the labs will stay about the same as they have" is not possible. Sequestration is coming unless a lame-duck session of Congress fixes it. It won't.

November 2, 2012 8:50 AM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Romney's pledges towards increased military spending is mainly in conventional warfare capabilities?

I can imagine a few non-NW niche areas that would have overlap with, and therefore, benefit the labs if there is a funding increase. Maybe Romney would bleed off some of the climate and energy/energy-policy research at the lab, though the amounts are so small to be picked up on the radar.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it more about how the sequestration process plays out rather than who’s President. Congress will (imo) have more affect than the President and I haven’t a clue as to the end product. My guess is “Fiscal Winter” will set in and public outcry will become a tsunami.

Anonymous said...

My guess is “Fiscal Winter” will set in and public outcry will become a tsunami.

November 3, 2012 5:42 AM

A mixed metaphor, but accurate nonetheless. "Fiscal Winter" is a phrase that should be picked up by the media - you should copyright it. Kudos.

Anonymous said...


Fiscal winter sounds about right. In other words there will be cuts of some level for everybody.

The thread is a bit boring lets try to spiff it up a bit.

Romney wins. Massive cuts tied with extreme capitalism. All the work at the labs can be outsourced to other countries and for a profit to boot! As for science... well if science is so great the private sector or China can fund that crap. Privatization of the military, police force, fire department and all education. Why should I pay for the police to defend people who cannot defend themselves. Remember Benghazi!

Obama wins. Economic breakdown with the collapse of the dollar. Massive cuts to defense. Moral fiber breaks down. Labs downsized to save money. All of the military is told to stand down. Football and Nascar is banned for being to dangerous to watch. Prohibition against soft drinks. Organized crime forms around the illicit trade of candy bars, light bulbs, fast food, and episodes of swamp people. Fat tax, Breathing carbon tax, listing to AM radio tax. If you smart loud noises will be beamed into your head, if you run fast weights will be added so everyone will be equal. Dogs and cats sleeping together.

Gary Johnson wins. The labs change to figuring out the best way to grow good pot and pigs start flying.

Anonymous said...

Romney wins... All the work at the labs can be outsourced to other countries...

November 3, 2012 7:20 PM

Nice try, bucko, but no cigar. Try to outsource jobs requiring TS Q clearances? Nope. Just a little over the top, your analysis. But tongue in cheek, it works for a few yucks. Unfortunately some of us take all this seriously, not needing "spiffing up."

Anonymous said...

It's really simply, if Obama wins America is gone forever and socialism is in. America will be no more. If Romney wins at least we'll have someone with a brain in office that knows how to run a business and just maybe we'll get the national debt paid off, and socialism will be put off for four more years. The problem being is this. The more people the socialist Democratic Party can get onto some sort of government sponsored welfare the more votes for them and the greater chance they have of becoming a dictatorship. It was put really simple on the radio one day just a few weeks before election. They asked. - “Are you going to vote for a president that’ll actually encourage you to work for a living or a president that’ll guarantee you a monthly check at the tax payer expense” == and there you have the WIN in the nutshell. Vote Republican or Embrace Socialism

Anonymous said...

“Are you going to vote for a president that’ll actually encourage you to work for a living or a president that’ll guarantee you a monthly check at the tax payer expense”

No matter who wins the people at the lab will be getting a check at the tax payers expense.

Anonymous said...

Global Security Newswire
Presidential Candidates' Paths Diverge on Nuclear-Weapon Policies, Arms Control

Nov. 2, 2012
By Lee Michael Katz
Special to Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- President Obama and Mitt Romney have staked out diverging paths for nuclear weapons policy, global nonproliferation approaches and arms control, according to a review of their positions and interviews with issue experts.

Romney is generally skeptical of the value of nuclear weapons reductions and other arms control measures, whereas Obama has largely embraced these as policy tools. Obama, for example, wants to seek Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, while the Republican challenger’s advisers do not see that as a possibility during a Romney administration.

The next president might be expected to grapple with Russia’s increasing reluctance to continue Cooperative Threat Reduction efforts, despite a continuing risk of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons proliferation.

The possibility of an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities could loom early in the next presidential term, as might a decision about whether the United States should use its own military to stop any potential effort by Tehran to build a nuclear weapon.

“That undoubtedly will be a concern of any administration, assuming that force has not been used prior to the new administration taking office,” said William Potter, speaking in his capacity as a professor of nonproliferation studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Closer to home, the newly elected president will also have to contend with other major issues affecting the U.S. nuclear arsenal. These include efforts to modernize an aging stockpile and infrastructure amid potentially drastic defense budget cuts triggered by law.

Campaign rhetoric and pledges of action often run up against political and financial reality once the election is over. That means, among other matters, despite Romney and Obama’s vow to maintain a strong defense posture, nuclear weapons might face budget cuts.

“No matter what the presidential inclination is for the next four years in either administration, first and foremost the budget and the economy are the issue,” said Robert Smolen, former Bush-era deputy administrator for defense programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration. “They’re going to balance major defense needs against balancing the budget, reducing the deficit and competing with all kinds of domestic programs which have a lot more advocacy right now.”

http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/presidential-candidates-paths-diverge-nuclear-weapon-policies-arms-control/

Anonymous said...

While I don't agree with Obama on everything, I don't agree with Rommney on anything.

That said, I see both Chu and D'Agostino gone no matter who wins.

Chu has been a disappointment, I thought with his Lab Director background he'd get DOE/NNSA off of the backs of the labs and make their science missions the primary purpose they exist - instead of the current mission of just complying with DOE Orders/Regulations. Unfortunately the real power is clearly with the federal civil servant senior managers who could care less who is Sec of Energy, and fight any change.

DOE HQ regulators have been held in check to some degree by Chu, doing more "assist visits" than the compliance/inspections under Bush. Expect under Romney to see them running back to inspection mode.

D'Agostino would have been gone after the 2008 election, but the Obama transition team couldn't find anyone competent to take the dead end and thankless job of heading NNSA. So they went with the idea of treating it sort of like the FBI Director position, and making it a non-political position.

Don't know who Rommney would pick for Sec of Energy, but it probably won't be someone with a background in science or nuclear weapons. More likely a businessman from the fossil fuel exploration and delivery sector. For NNSA he'd probably go with someone on loan from DOD, a senior uniform type. The idea being to move NNSA closer to DOD without actually moving it into DOD.

Anonymous said...

"No matter what the presidential inclination is for the next four years in either administration, first and foremost the budget and the economy are the issue,” said Robert Smolen, former Bush-era deputy administrator for defense programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration. “They’re going to balance major defense needs against balancing the budget, reducing the deficit and competing with all kinds of domestic programs which have a lot more advocacy right now.”"

So that means big cuts.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Steven Koonin (current LANS/LLNS board member) is on the short list for Secretary of Energy in a second Obama administration. He may also be on the short list for NNSA Administrator. Wouldn't be surprised if he's on Romney's list for NNSA Head too.

Remember he was Under Secretary for Science at DOE, Chief Scientist for BP, a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech, and Caltech Provost. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the JASON, and is an adjunct staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He has a BS in Physics from Caltech and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from MIT.

I'd personally rather see him over NNSA than DOE. He's knows more about nuclear weapons science and the NNSA labs than most of the others on the short list for NNSA Administrator.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for Romney no matter what since I've never liked the clown we have in office now, plus I think Romney has more brians in his little toe than any socialist the Democratic Party could dream up.

Anonymous said...

November 4, 2012 7:52 AM

Thank God, I suspect it will be someone who knows how to build alternative energy resources using solar, geo-thermal, wing and wave plugging all of these into the grid therefore reducing our oil consumption or should I say need, starving the Q-tip world into a recession of their own where I hope the fools never see daylight again and become part of their sand dooms.

Anonymous said...

" if Obama wins America is gone forever and socialism is in. America will be no more."

Well just to play a bit of the Devil's advocate one could argue that more socialism in America would be a good thing. One has to understand what socialism is before one says how bad or good it is. Germany,Sweden, Norway, Luxenbourg, the Swis and Denmark are all are much much more on the side of socialism than the United States yet these counties are have a much higher standard of living. On the other hand one also has Greece, Spain and Italy. Saying socialism is like the Soviet Union is of course absurd since that country was trying to go to extreme socialism or communism. Say what you want about Sweden but it is not a communist country. You can also say that in many ways Canada, New Zealand and Australia are much more on the left than the United States yet these countries are doing just as well if not better than the United States. On the other hand Singapore and in some sense Hong Kong are the most capitalistic areas in the world yet are also some of the least free places to live. Also Colombia is the most right wing country on earth, would you want to live there? Also places like China and Saudia Arabia have either extreme capitalism or a considerable right wing elements in them. Finley if you want really want government out of your life than Somalia is the place for you.

When you say crap like Obama is a socialist communist you really sound like an uneducated idiot who has no clue what they are talking about. There may be good reasons to keep America away from more left wing politics but saying that the alternative is communism is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

"Germany,Sweden, Norway, Luxenbourg, the Swis and Denmark ... have a much higher standard of living." - it is really not a valid comparison to compare the US to countries who don't need to spend much on defense, nor who are expected to be a world power and stand up to international hoodlums.

Anonymous said...

The US doesn't "need" to spend so much on defense either...

We choose to.

Maybe we should choose differently and let everyone chip in and carry the load, since we don't seem to get any respect or advantage for being the world's military.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama has held back on drastic cuts to the nuclear weapons complex funding until now. Once he has his 2nd term secured and no longer has to worry about facing another election he'll act boldly. He clearly doesn't like nukes.

If Obama wins, expect to see big downsizing at all the NNSA labs. Perhaps something in the range of 20% from current staffing levels.


Mitt Romney seems to be big on defense and wants to keep America completely stocked with weapons of all types.

If Romney wins, expect to see small layoffs at the labs (say another 5%) as the support of "science" may be less than before. However, I think there is a good chance that a Romney administration may listen to some of the GOP members of the House and at some point decide to move NNSA into the DoD and away from DoE.

Either way (Obama or Romney) the future at the NNSA labs looks shaky going forward.

Anonymous said...



Well it's Obama. Lets see what happens.

I say Chu sticks around but Koonin would be good.

Anonymous said...

November 6, 2012 8:41 PM
Sore looser.

Anonymous said...

The only worse than a sore loser is a sore winner :)

Anonymous said...

And the winner is... Status Quo

Anonymous said...

And the winner is... Status Quo

November 7, 2012 6:06 AM

You just don't get the effects of the upcoming sequester, do you? "status quo" is not possible. Budget cuts of 15 - 20% are inevitable by January 1. Pay attention to the news. No action by the lame duck congress means drastic tax increases across the board and massive budget cuts. They are already law, requiring repeal and replacement by congress before Dec. 31. Not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

"They are already law, requiring repeal and replacement by congress before Dec. 31. Not going to happen."

Ok - in a month or so, you can come back & explain to us how they kicked it down the road past Dec 31 2012.

Anonymous said...

You just don't get the effects of the upcoming sequester, do you? "status quo" is not possible. Budget cuts of 15 - 20% are inevitable by January 1. Pay attention to the news. No action by the lame duck congress means drastic tax increases across the board and massive budget cuts. They are already law, requiring repeal and replacement by congress before Dec. 31. Not going to happen.

November 7, 2012 9:22 PM

The NNSA labs may likely face a reduction in force, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a good opportunity to trim the fat, and let go of less productive employees. If you are a top performer, there should be little concern, however if you are a recent hire or a marginal employee-polish your resume.

Anonymous said...

Budget cuts: Known as sequestration, $1.2 trillion would be cut automatically from the budget starting in January,half of it from the Pentagon, unless a deficit reduction agreement is reached.

Obama said during the final debate of the presidential campaign that sequestration “will not happen.” To make good on that promise, though, he will have to work with a deeply divided, hyperpolarized Congress.

The president has said he would support a deal that makes the sequestration cuts go away if they can be offset by tax revenues. Comments made on election night by House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, however, suggest that GOP
lawmakers do not see the president’s victory as a mandate for higher taxes.

During the coming lame-duck session, a short-term deferral of the tax increases and sequestration is the best that
anyone can hope for.

So contractors can expect to remain on edge for several more weeks, until a new Congress strikes a deal to push off
sequestration until the end of March. That is when funding for the Defense Department is scheduled to expire under
the current continuing resolution for fiscal year 2013.

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