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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


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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adios PBGC?

Not only are pensions quickly going bankrupt. The government agency that backs up these pensions is, likewise, quickly going bankrupt!

Be sure you have a solid backup plan if you're in TCP1 and don't count on the PBGC to be there to help!

Financial Times - January 30, 2013

US pension insurer warns of rising deficit

By Norma Cohen, Demography Correspondent

The finances of the US’s multi-employer pension schemes have deteriorated so quickly over the past year that the body that insures them will almost certainly run out of cash in 20 years, according to a new report.

The chances of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation – the publicly created but privately funded body that insures the nation’s occupational pension schemes – going bust went from 1 in 3 at the end of 2011 to more than 9 in 10 by the end of 2012, a report prepared for the PBGC and released on Tuesday said.

The woes of the PBGC are common to pension schemes– and their insurers – in industrialised economies where defined benefit pension schemes form a significant portion of retirement benefit. Weak returns on assets after the 2008 financial crisis meant schemes did not earn as much as they expected, while low bond yields gave rise to much larger calculations of deficits. However, the PBGC noted that the deterioration in the funding status for pension schemes financed by groups of employers was down to a range of factors, one of which was limits on the insurer’s ability to force employers to pay their fair share of premiums.

Unusual SECDEF nominee

Kind of unusual for a SECDEF nominee:

Wonder if he can be confirmed with this background? Wonder what it means for the stockpile and for the labs?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Parney on fiscal uncertainty

Anonymous said...
Excerpts from Parney’s update to LLNL employees on fiscal uncertainty

”In coming weeks the White House and Congress must hash out three deals - one to address the debt ceiling, one to avoid sequestration, and one to get past the fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution expiration - to prevent a government shutdown, or risk serious damage to government programs...

All of these have the potential to negatively impact our Lab's current and future budgets, and the rumors related to how we will respond are ramping up. I can tell you that while we are discussing multiple options and scenarios pending the federal decisions, nothing has been decided and no action has been taken...

...While it is difficult to predict which actions Congress eventually will take and the magnitude of their impact to our Laboratory and sponsors, I instructed my senior managers to be prepared. We are looking at a number of options to address any potential budget shortfall, in whole or in part, depending on the challenges presented to us by these FY13 and potentially FY14 budgets. Again, it is important to understand that no one knows how the situation in Washington will play out.

One thing we will not include in cost cutting is the compensation increase plan. With many of our employees not receiving raises for the last two years when faced with increases in health care costs, higher taxes and, in some cases, mandatory pension contributions, we believe it is important to move forward with this salary increase. Employees will be informed of their salary increases by Feb. 4 and will see changes reflected in their Feb. 15 paychecks, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Instead we may look to other areas for cost reductions, such as temporarily suspended training and travel, limiting procurements and other non-labor costs, postponing the Variable Compensation Program, imposing a hiring freeze, and implementing furloughs or other cost cutting measures.

Since furloughs have been discussed at a few all hands meetings recently, let me elaborate on what we had in mind had the fiscal cliff occurred on Jan. 2; the details were not (and are still not) completely worked out, but the general contours can be described.

First and foremost, the plan was to avoid any large-scale layoffs since the fiscal cliff was most likely a temporary phenomenon, although of unknown duration…

The furlough model under consideration in January would have reduced employees' salaries by approximately 10 percent. A "bank" of furlough leave days would have been credited to each employee equal to the required salary reduction. In this model, each employee would accrue one furlough day leave credit each payroll period - about two days per month. These furlough leave days were intended to be taken within each pay period. Reducing employee salaries and creating a bank of furlough leave days would have had the least impact on employee benefits.

Senior managers would have seen the pay reduction but not receive the time off (the level of management down to which this applied was (and is) TBD).

The Alternate Work Schedule program would have been suspended...

…As you can see there were details that needed further work, but the general idea was to avoid layoffs, maintain benefits, and be in a position to rebound once the fiscal issues had been settled in Washington.

If, as events unfold in Washington, a furlough is announced as part of our mitigation efforts…the general shape of a furlough would probably look something like what we had planned for January.

Furthermore, I again want to emphasize that while all options are being analyzed, no course of action has been decided. We simply do not know what is going to come out of Washington, much less the impact. If and when those decisions come, I will communicate to you as quickly as possible what actions our Laboratory might take, along with the reasoning...”
January 29, 2013 at 7:40 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Those who can leave the lab, should leave! Google. Intel, Cisco, IBM, Chevron, HP labs, Sandia, Lockheed Martin, Juniper, Apple, Microsoft, the list goes on and on. Why have that kind if uncertainty hanging over you for the remainder of your life at the lab? Is that kind of stress really worth it? Your blood pressure will go down 20 points even if you leave to go to a fast paced well managed employer. I promise you. Your health and well being is so much more important that anything the lab can promise you. The lab has nothing to give you. It has no important mission now and in the future. you are wasting your life away tgere. You are better than that. Look out only for yourself. You will not regret leaving and will wonder why you didn't leave earlier. Good luck and keep true to yourself.
January 29, 2013 at 8:05 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
How is the budget looking at LANL and LLNL? At SNL, signs are growing that there will have to be a significant number of folks, especially on the science/research end of things, let go. I noticed that the various major "sections" of the laboratory are putting up barriers to entry, such as refusing to sponsor people for certain security clearances, and requiring these clearances to attend necessary meetings. It has all the signs of a managerial turf marking battle.

Morale is taking a major beating. Normally collegiate staff are starting to view this year as a zero-sum "me vs. you" battle to see who lives and who dies in the next round of funding. Management has made it clear that they don't have our backs and that we will have to look elsewhere in the labs for funding if we want to be here come 1-2 years. But elsewhere in the labs...they are putting of walls.
January 29, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
LLNL is ignoring, or not disclosing the fact to their employees, that exempt employees under CA state law become hourly employees during a furlough. That means if they are asked to come in beyond normally schedule work hours they are to be paid as such (hourly). Additionally, note how their discussions have been to employees (and centered on paying employees less), and not to managers and about how less work will get done (with staff reductions). Perhaps they intend to play the game were NIF, the golden children, and managers will be protected classes, while they pressure or cajole the furloughed staff to come in for free to keep work productivity unaffected. Seems the California Labor Relations Board should take a look at the activities of this LLC (once furloughs are instituted) and ensure all employees have a voice and are protected under relevant state laws. Seems to me in the long run it’ll cost the LLC than they have to gain

Monday, January 28, 2013

George P. Shultz: A Cold Warrior on a Warming Planet

Internet Outreach Coordinator
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

We have a wonderful interview with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz in which he discusses two missions: reducing nuclear weapons and reducing carbon emissions. It's a free article on the subscription side of the Journal. I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Salary information


Why is it possible to google the database of LBNL and LANL salaries from the good ol' UC days but not the LLNL salaries? They must've been public record just the same, right? Where are they hiding?

Why is it possible to google the database of LBNL and LANL salaries from the good ol' UC days but not the LLNL salaries? They must've been public record just the same, right? Where are they hiding?


Wrong. Private companies (LLNS, LANS) are not required to post such salaries, even though they are government contractors. Would you expect to find the salaries of Boeing employees on the web? In fact, the posting of salaries by UC was a UC decision, not a government requirement.

Read carefully, I said --back in the UC days--. They have clearly changed quite a bit in the past 5 years but it's nevertheless an extremely useful dataset for salary negotiations.

LANL salaries (as UC):

LBNL salaries:

So why can I not find anything for LLNL (again, pre-2007)
January 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Go to this website for those retired making over 100k from LLNL!
January 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM
That list is of those who took TCP2. Many are still double-dipping. The amount of combined salary plus pension boggles the mind.

Retired flag officers

Are retired flag officers effective leaders of high government positions outside of their field of expertise or are they simply "window dressing" filling the retired military affirmative-action billet?

"they simply "window dressing" filling the retired military affirmative-action billet?"
I guess you have not been paying attention since WWII or you would not be asking this question.

Who was Best and Who was Worst, and why?

How would you rate the Secretary of Energy – Who was Best and Who was Worst, and why.

Spencer Abraham January 20, 2001 - January 31, 2005
Samuel Bodman February 1, 2005 - January 20, 2009
Steven Chu January 21, 2009 - Present
Charles Duncan, Jr. August 24, 1979 January 20, 1981
James Edwards January 23, 1981 - November 5, 1982
John Herrington February 7, 1985 - January 20, 1989
Donald Hodel November 5, 1982 - February 7, 1985
Hazel O'Leary January 22, 1993 - January 20, 1997
Federico Peña March 12, 1997 - June 30, 1998
Bill Richardson August 18, 1998 - January 20, 2001
James Schlesinger August 6, 1977 - August 23, 1979
James Watkins March 1, 1989 - January 20, 1993

RIF & furloughs

Anonymous contribution:

We were informed this week after our manager attended a meeting for Leadership that LLNL will indeed layoff 5% of all employees by March and then will proceed if necessary Furloughs should Congress again be unable to reach an a agreement. With 7000 employees would this even make an  impact in the overall budget for LLNL? Or are they once again eliminating staff for overall reduction once again?.Our department alone which has eliminated several service employees in the past week the average salary of Managers in this department is 80-150K+ I am somewhat confused why Furloughs not be implemented first and then layoffs? Confused could anyone expand on this topic?

Friday, January 25, 2013

LANL employee survey

LANL actually conducted an employee survey to assess employee satisfaction. Here are the results:

The leadership team is working together to advance the Laboratory mission: 37.75 %

Career opportunities at the Laboratory are good: 33.73 %

Laboratory managers set good examples: 27.58%

I have confidence in the leadership of the Laboratory: 28.69 %

The morale of my co-workers is good: 27.75 %

Laboratory managers consult employees about decisions that affect them: 25.42 %

The Laboratory rewards those who contribute most: 23.57 %

I believe that action will be taken on the results of this survey: 17.30 %

Other than revealing an abysmal relationship between management and staff, does this survey help us figure out whether the main culprit is inept and vindictive management or a scientific staff that feels it’s not being given a free enough hand?

Radiation released from LLNL since it began

Contributor said: this is so funny:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Leading Contender for Energy Secretary

Carter Said to Be Leading Contender for Energy Secretary
By Hans Nichols - Jan 22, 2013

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is the leading candidate to head the Energy Department in President Barack Obama’s second term, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Carter, 58, a physicist, would replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu and be part of the core administration team overseeing energy and environmental policy, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

Chu, 64, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, may announce his departure from the administration this week, according to two other people.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Los Alamos management gets contract extension despite low score

New Mexico Business Weekly
January 17, 2013
Los Alamos management gets contract extension despite low score
- Gary Gerew

Federal officials gave the Bechtel-University of California group that runs Los Alamos National Laboratory $59.7 million for managing the lab in 2012 and also gave Los Alamos National Security LLC a one-year contract extension through a “one-time waiver” that was granted by the National Nuclear Security Administration, despite LANS’ failure to meet all the criteria for the extension.

LANS could have earned as much $74.5 million for the fiscal year and got 80 percent of that, according to the Albuquerque Journal. It was awarded $27.9 million in fixed fees and work for other entities and another $31.6 million as a so-called “at risk” fee based on performance.

The at-risk fee could have been as much as $46.5 million, but LANS got only 68 percent of the maximum. That was its lowest score since taking over the lab in 2006, according to the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor.

LANS is supposed to earn at least 80 percent of the at-risk fee in order to win an “award term” extending the LANL management contract for an additional year.

That requirement was waived in this case by Neile Miller, NNSA’s principal deputy administrator, according to reports by both the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor and the Los Alamos Monitor, according to the Journal.

A Dec. 7 letter from an NNSA official said Miller “expressed a desire to award LANS the (contract extension) award in recognition of LANS’ acceptance and accountability for problems” with a flawed security system at the lab and for “moving aggressively to correct the issues,” according to the Journal report.

An interesting item in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013

An interesting item in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 signed this month by President Obama into law. This legislation provides policy/budget guidance for the DOD and NNSA. No actual funding, which is contained in the yet to be enacted FY 2013 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. Looks there’s congressional desire to turn the Labs in to actual “national” labs.

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator for Nuclear Security shall commission an independent assessment regarding the transition of the national security laboratories to multiagency federally funded research and development centers with direct sustainment and sponsorship by multiple national security agencies. The organization selected to conduct the independent assessment shall have recognized credentials and expertise in national security science and engineering laboratories.

(2) BACKGROUND MATERIAL.—The assessment shall leverage previous studies, including—
(A) the report published in 2009 by the Stimson Center titled ‘‘Leveraging Science for Security: A Strategy for the Nuclear Weapons Laboratories in the 21st Century’’; and
(B) the Phase 1 report published in 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences titled ‘‘Managing for High- Quality Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security laboratories’’.

(3) ELEMENTS.—The assessment conducted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include the following elements:
(A) An assessment of a new governance structure that—
(i) gives multiple national security agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the intelligence community, direct sponsorship of the national security laboratories as federally funded research and development centers so that such agencies have more direct and rapid access to the assets available at the laboratories and the responsibility to provide sustainable support for the science and technology needs of the agencies at the laboratories;
(ii) reduces costs to the Federal Government for the use of the resources of the laboratories, while enhancing the stewardship of these national resources and maximizing their service to the Nation;
(iii) enhances the overall quality of the scientific research and engineering capability of the laboratories, including their ability to recruit and retain top scientists and engineers; and
(iv) maintains as paramount the capabilities required to support the nuclear stockpile stewardship and related nuclear missions.
(B) A recommendation as to which, if any, other laboratories associated with any national security agency should be included in the new governance structure.
(C) Options for implementing the new governance structure that minimize disruption of performance and costs to the government while rapidly achieving anticipated gains.
(D) Legislative changes and executive actions that would need to be made in order to implement the new governance structure.

(b) REPORT.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than January 1, 2014, the organization selected to conduct the independent assessment under subsection (a)(1) shall submit to the Administrator and the congressional defense committees a report that contains the findings of the assessment.

OMB Directs Agencies To Intensify Planning For Possible Sequestration Cuts

Weapons Complex Monitor
January 16, 2013

OMB Directs Agencies To Intensify Planning For Possible Sequestration Cuts

The Department of Energy and other federal agencies have been directed to “intensify efforts” to prepare for the looming funding cuts known as sequestration. In a Jan. 14 memorandum, the White House Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies to continue their planning efforts in the event sequestration is implemented this spring, including taking such steps as identifying “the most appropriate means to reduce civilian workforce costs where necessary— this may include imposing hiring freezes, releasing temporary employees or not renewing term or contract hires, authorizing voluntary separation incentives and voluntary early retirements, or implementing administrative furloughs”; and reviewing “grants and contracts to determine where cost savings may be achieved In a manner that is consistent with the applicable terms and conditions.” The OMB memo states, “While agency plans should reflect intensified efforts to prepare for operations under a potential sequestration, actions that would implement reductions specifically designed as a response to sequestration should generally not be taken at this time. In some cases, however, the overall budgetary uncertainty and operational constraints may require that certain actions be taken in the immediate-or near-term.”

The sequestration process is set to involve a total of $1.2 trillion in funding cuts, equally divided between defense and non-defense funding, over 10 years unless similar deficit reduction legislation is approved. For DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, sequestration would entail a 9.4 percent cut for defense environmental cleanup funding and cuts of 8.2 percent to nondefense environmental cleanup funding and uranium enrichment D&D funding. For the National Nuclear Security Administration, the sequestration cuts would amount to 9.4 percent reductions to weapons and nonproliferation programs. Sequestration was to have gone into effect Jan. 2, but lawmakers approved a measure to push the cuts back until March. “The Administration continues to urge Congress to take prompt action to address the current budgetary uncertainty, including through the enactment of balanced deficit reduction to avoid sequestration,” the OMB memo says, adding, “Should Congress fail to act to avoid sequestration, there will be significant and harmful impacts on a wide variety of Government services and operations.”

DOE's 'rather awkward situation'
Frank Munger
January 15, 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration did a bunch of stuff in response to the July 28 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. Among the changes was the security contracting arrangement. Initially following the security breach by Plowshares protesters, the security contractor (WSI-Oak Ridge) was subordinated to subcontractor status under the managing contractor B&W Y-12. Later, WSI's contract was terminated, and the security work at Y-12 was folded into the M&O contract.

The latter strategy, incorporating security into the management contract, was kept the same when the NNSA revised its plans for the combined Y-12/Pantex contract and last week awarded the new contract to Consolidated Nuclear Security -- a team headed by Bechtel National and Lockheed Martin.

This situation was referenced in Norm Augustine's Dec. 6 letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The letter was made public this week by the Project On Government Oversight.

In that letter, Augustine ranked in priority the potential ways for revising the management structure, giving top priority to federalizing the guard force although indicating other models could work as well (including the existing arrangement if certain conditions are addressed).

Augustine, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin, added this note in addressing the overall security situation in the nuclear weapons complex:

"The DOE is currently in the rather awkward situation of having (appropriately) abandoned as unworkable the Separate Operations and Physical Security model at Y-12, yet continuing to preserve that same model at the Savannah River Site (SRS) -- with exactly the same security contractor!"

He added: "In discussions with the leadership of SRS it was clear that they are uniformly confident of the suitability and effectiveness of the existing situation. Based upon a one-day visit I would be hesitant to question that judgment since, as repeatedly observed herein, given capable people almost any model can be made to work. However, I would strongly emphasize that some models are markedly more vulnerable to problems than others. It is my view that the Separate Operating and Physical Security structure is such a model."

On second thought: IAEA re-categorizes the operational status for 47 of Japan's nuclear reactors

Contributed by the the Internet Outreach Coordinator, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

IAEA's re-categorization of the operational status for 47 of Japan's nuclear reactors: In an unprecedented move, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today retroactively re-categorized 47 Japanese nuclear reactors from "in operation" to "long-term shutdown."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hey Congress!

Hey Congress. THIS TIME, PLEASE DON'T PUNISH LLL FOR LASL's TRANSGRESSIONS! Domenici's dead. You need one well functioning lab while the other is repaired. Patty Murkowski protected Washington State's PPNL from the severe employee punishments during last NNSA lab palace purges in 2007-2008 when the progressively managed UC regents were replaced with new highly restrictive operations contracts with restrictive that punished each employee 15-20% of compensation without saving the taxpayer a dime.

And if the spinmeister Tyler Putzbylek offers to return to NNSA fix things again, SHOOT HIM and then put a wooden stake in the corpse.


Monday, January 14, 2013

LANL contract extension questionnable

Los Alamos paper breaks story on LANL contract extension

"There is more to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s 2012 performance evaluation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory than meets the eye.

According to documents obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor, the lab received a one-time waiver from the NNSA fee determining official — principal deputy administrator Neile Miller.

In a letter from former Los Alamos Site Office head Kevin Smith to Miller, the award term (one-year contract extension) originally was not granted. But at the bottom of the letter, the no is scratched out with a notation, “Yes. Contingent on LANS letter attached.”

That LANS letter was written by DOE Senior Procurement Executive Joseph Waddell to lab director Charlie McMillan, dated on Dec. 7. The letter stated that Los Alamos National Security had been granted a waiver for the FY-12 NNSA fee by the Fee Determining Official (Miller).

According to the letter, LANS met two of the three criteria but earned less than 80 percent overall at-risk fees."

LANL issue on tritium gas containment

LANL issue on tritium gas containment

The DoE Office of Safety report just adds to the pile of recent blunders. With the budget cuts looming in the next few weeks, it will be tough for Congress to resist having hearings on such matters.

National labs compliance maze stymies foreign visitor

National labs compliance maze stymies foreign visitor
Elmar Träbert
 Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany

An item by David Kramer in the May 2012 issue of Physics Today (page 26) discusses problems between the National Nuclear Security Administration and the weapons laboratories. Compliance with federal management directives is among the central issues. I offer here a pedestrian view to some of the points raised. I am a visiting faculty member from Germany to the unclassified part of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where I have accumulated several years of work experience over the past 15 years.
A new contractor took over the administration of Livermore a few years ago. As with any new contract, compliance is the goal, even though the value of some details turned out to be questionable. As an example, the new contract curtailed travel support for students, stranding those on assignments away from the lab. They had not been thought of beforehand, but the contract could not be violated or changed.
Also under the contract, all rehires are to be considered as new hires, with the full application of new-hire security procedures. The US State Department’s visa rules permit me only a string of short-term visas once my multiyear one expired. Thus six weeks after one appointment ended, my being employed for another six weeks required the full rehire and visa procedures. An outside company purporting to do worldwide criminal background investigations was tasked with investigating my career and talking to five personal references in the US and Germany. The process got hung up for weeks for the lack of one essential piece of verification: a confirmation of my degrees and the dates I earned them.
At least five times, the same laboratory—by different proxies—had requested that information from the same German university. In the more than 30 years since I received my PhD, the personnel at my university have probably processed some 200 000 students. Even if they were to understand the meaning of a cryptic form faxed from some US verification company, why would they send somebody to the archives to dig again for records that had been documented and shipped several times before? Imagine the labor cost! Curiously, as a cost savings the verification agents are instructed to avoid incurring long-distance telephone charges, so phone interviews with applicant references in foreign countries apparently are delegated to the local US consular staff.
Evidently, “compliance” has a very far reach and helps to significantly reduce the work efficiency even of national laboratories that are supposedly laboring in the national interest.
January 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM

comments (made before post was posted):

1) Why on earth is NNSA allowing visitors from Germany to visit the lab? Who is paying for this the taxpayer? This is an outrage who on earth let this happen. You mean to tell me that Foreign nationals have been visiting the labs for the last 15yrs!?!?

2) The labs are no longer in the business of serving the nation. They are now in the business of making a profit for a company. It is all about the money. If it costs the taxpayers lots of money who cares as long as the profit keeps rolling in. This is the inevitable outcome of a nation in decline. One of the things that made American great for the last 100 years has been science and meritocracy. That age is over now and the rest of the world can see it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


FURLOUGHS? WCI AND COMPS rolled out thier furlough plans this week.
aws work week will be canceled and all employees will be on 5day 8hr schedule with furlough days on friday

Note: This is being contributed anonymously. Scooby has no way of confirming this.

who pays for lawsuits?

The DOE used to pay for all of the expenses of any lawsuit against the LLNL before the transition to "private" LLNS in 2008.

Does anyone knows who pays the LLNL's legal bills now when the it faces a lawsuit from its employees  ?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mobile Nuclear Missiles

Air Force Eyes Return of Mobile Nuclear Missiles
By Bob Brewin

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force has dusted off plans more than two decades old to place fixed nuclear missiles on rail cars or massive road vehicles to protect them from a surprise attack.

The service also wants to explore alternatives to traditional missiles to carry nuclear warheads, which could include hypersonic aircraft capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in an hour, said Phillip Coyle of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, a former associate director for national security and international affairs in the Obama administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

On Monday, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., kicked off a study on modernizing or replacing its current fleet of Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles housed in underground silos in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. The work includes potential upgrades to the command and control system.

The center said it wants industry and academic help in analyzing the future of its Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles. The options include no upgrades, incremental fixes, new missiles stored in silos, and new mobile or tunnel-based systems.

In 1984, the Air Force began developing a small intercontinental ballistic missile called the “Midgetman,” which was carried on a massive, blast-resistant 200,000-lb. wheeled vehicle. The project was canceled in 1992 after the Cold War ended.

In the late 1980s, the Air Force also hatched a plan to place 50 missiles formerly stored in silos on rail cars deployed to seven states. This project was canceled in 1991 after the Air Force shifted funding to nuclear bombers.

In September 2011, the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported that China had developed a mobile missile system, the same month Russia indicated it planned to revive its rail car based missile program, which began in 1983 but was scrapped in 2006.

Coyle said he was concerned that proliferation of mobile missile systems could lead to another arms race. “The Air Force will need to be careful that they don't stir up a hornets nest with proposals for mobile basing or advanced concepts other than the traditional booster and re-entry vehicle. The former could cause Russia or China to redouble their efforts on mobile basing of ICBMs, set off a new kind of arms race, and weaken U.S. defenses,” Coyle said.

He added that if the Air Force decides to pursue hypersonic aircraft to deliver nuclear warheads, this could confuse nuclear-armed countries such as Russia, which would not be able to determine if supersonic aircraft traveling at 4,000 miles per hour were carrying conventional or nuclear warheads, and potentially react with a nuclear strike.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

LLNL security restructuring

A message from the LLNL Director on security restructuring

Several years ago, NNSA began the process of removing Category I and II special nuclear materials (SNM) from the Lab as part of a larger effort to consolidate SNM stockpiles across the NNSA complex. The de-inventory process at Livermore was completed late last year and, as a result, the Laboratory's security requirements have changed.

In the coming weeks, the Laboratory will begin downsizing its protective force by conducting a measured reduction in force (RIF) of up to 126 security police officers and support personnel (This RIF will not affect other organizations at the Lab). The RIF is being conducted in a couple of stages beginning as early as next week.

For the last three years, these security officers and support personnel have safeguarded our Lab in a very professional and safe manner, knowing this RIF was in their future. That they continued to serve in the face of this difficult transition speaks to their high level of professionalism and dedication, not only to this Lab but to our nation. Please join me in extending our thanks and appreciation for their service. They will be sincerely missed as valued members of our Lab team and community.

Some of NNSA's accomplishments in 2012.

Some of NNSA's accomplishments in 2012.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hagel and NNSA

The President nominating former Sen.Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as Defense Secretary, could be interesting for NNSA.

Hagel is a board member of Global Zero (international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons).

He coauthored last year a report that called for the US (through negotiations with Russia) to reduce over a ten year period the US arsenal to a maximum of 900 total nuclear weapons. This included going from the delivery system triad to a dyad (10 Trident subs and 18 US based B-2 bombers). Eliminating tactical nukes deployed overseas and converting US nuclear ICBMs to non-nuclear prompt global strike ICBMs (with conventional warheads). Also a downsized NWC; no PF-4,CMRR, or UPF. Only 4 types of nuclear weapons would be kept; W-76 and W-88 on Trident SSBNs, and the B61 (mods 7 and 11) and B83 on B-2 bombers.

I wonder what would now happen if NNSA got moved into DOD.Don't really think this will happen, but it looks like there will be a customer (SecDef) that has a really different vision and smaller future in mind for the NWC and DOD nuclear forces.

It could really really get interesting if they put another Global Zero member (like former LLNL and DOE nuclear weapons executive Philp Coyle) over NNSA.

The full report is at:

Bechtel and Lockheed Martin team wins Y-12/Pantex contract


A team headed by Bechtel and Lockheed Martin has been selected to manage two of the nation's key nuclear weapons facilities -- Y-12 in Oak Ridge and Pantex near Amarillo, Texas, according to multiple sources familiar with the pending announcement.

The new contractor will be called Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Energy, is expected to make the official announcement today and tout the potential savings to the government by consolidating management of the two production plants, even though they are in different states and 1,000 miles apart.

The team selected for the job has a ton of experience in the DOE contracting world, and both Bechtel and Lockheed Martin have deep roots in Oak Ridge. ATK, a defense and aerospace company with headquarters in Virginia, is also part of the winning team.

Bechtel currently shares the management role at Y-12 in a partnership with Babcock & Wilcox, B&W Y-12 LLC, which has held the Oak Ridge contract since 2000. Bechtel also has been involved in the partnership that manages Pantex, where nuclear warheads undergo their final assembly and their initial disassembly after being retired from the arsenal.

Lockheed Martin (or its predecessor Martin Marietta) managed Y-12 for 16 years, 1984-2000.

The announcement culminates years of study and a procurement process that took about two years. Competing teams reportedly spent millions of dollars to prepare their proposals -- and update them on multiple occasions to meet changing requirements -- for managing national security facilities that form the production base for the nation's nuclear deterrent.

US Nuclear Science Lab Removes Chinese Tech Over Security Issues

Looks like LANL is in for some more Congressional hearings.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | January 07, 2013
U.S. NUCLEAR LAB REMOVES CHINESE TECH OVER SECURITY FEARS. Reuters reports that a leading U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory recently discovered its computer systems contained some Chinese-made network switches and replaced at least two components because of national security concerns. From the piece: “A letter from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, dated November 5, 2012, states that the research facility had installed devices made by H3C Technologies Co, based in Hangzhou, China, according to a copy seen by Reuters. H3C began as a joint venture between China's Huawei Technologies Co and 3Com Corp, a U.S. tech firm, and was once called Huawei-3Com. Hewlett Packard Co acquired the firm in 2010. The discovery raises questions about procurement practices by U.S. departments responsible for national security. The U.S. government and Congress have raised concerns about Huawei and its alleged ties to the Chinese military and government.”

Freedom for "Excluded" Workers at LANS

Today is the first day (1/7/13) that "excluded" workers at LANS were eligible to apply for other jobs. We had been prohibited for doing so for 1-year since the last VRIP. Note also that LANS did a great job during the past year to ensure that we will remain in these "crappy" jobs (e.g. Facility Engineers) into the future, since there are virtually no open job advertisements for Regular Employees at LANL. I'm also posting this to give folks at LLNL and SNL a heads-up on what is coming your way. Hecka of job LANS leading the way, hecka of job!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Request to separate LASL and LLL topics into separate sections?

I there a way that you can separate LASL and LLL topics into separate sections?

Each has limited interest in the others instumentalities. Kinda like your spouse leaving open the bathroom door.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Congressional Representative for LLNL

After Upset Win, House Freshman Looks To Make A Name For Himself
by Aarti Shahani
January 03, 2013

A 32-year-old Bay Area prosecutor will be sworn in to Congress on Thursday after ousting a 40-year incumbent.

California Democrat Eric Swalwell — who will be the second-youngest member of Congress — capitalized on his opponent's gaffes and used old-fashioned door-knocking and high-tech mobile phone outreach to win votes.

His first challenge in Washington might be getting people to pronounce his name correctly. Even senior members of California's congressional delegation have gotten it wrong, saying "Stallwell" instead of "Swalwell."

"It takes everyone time," he says.

Swalwell has lived in Washington, D.C., once before, as a summer intern. The job was unpaid, so he worked mornings at a gym and evenings at a Tex-Mex restaurant.

"Many times members of Congress would come in and, you know, I would give them their meals," Swalwell says. "And I tried to memorize their faces in the congressional facebook, which was a kind of printed directory that they used to hand out."

Swalwell wasn't planning to run for Congress. He was on a weekend vacation in Maryland with two childhood friends and made an appointment with Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., to talk local business. At the last minute, Stark changed what was supposed to be a face-to-face meeting into a quick phone date.

The episode disappointed Swalwell and led him to view the 81-year-old incumbent as someone who had served honorably in the past but who "I just didn't see as being up for it anymore."

Swalwell made a spur-of-the-moment decision to run against Stark for the House seat. Everyone from Democratic Party gatekeepers to his own parents told him he was throwing away his career.

He says they told him: "This is the biggest mistake, you know, of your life because you're going to lose. And ... anything you want to do in the future, you can just write that off. You know, it's not going to happen."

Richard Schlackman, a political consultant in San Francisco, says he didn't think Swalwell "had a chance in the world."

"Incumbent Democrats don't usually lose in the Bay Area," Schlackman says.

He says Stark, the incumbent, helped Swalwell build name recognition by refusing to debate him and falsely accusing him of taking bribes.

"Pete Stark was doing a great campaign against himself," Schlackman says, "and it's a classic example, more importantly, of a candidate who hasn't had a real race in years."

Because California has open primaries, the top two vote-getters face off in the general election. In the showdown between the two Democrats, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other big names endorsed incumbent Stark, as is the custom. Swalwell relied on local politicians and local money for support, yet he won by a comfortable margin of about 4.5 percentage points.

Swalwell, whose hometown is Dublin, Calif., plans to live in his district four days a week, to stay in touch with his constituency. And he wants to secure federal research money for his district's largest employer, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

He says it needs that money "because too often, the capital is so great that no private organization or startup is going to be able to make those types of upfront investments."

Senior lawmakers say it'll be hard for the freshman Swalwell to raise cash — perhaps just a little bit harder than getting Capitol Hill to say his name righ

CMRR Lives...

CMRR Lives...

Obama Inks Defense Spending Legislation
Jan. 3, 2013
By Diane Barnes
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Wednesday signed off on a 14-year deadline for completing a controversial nuclear arms laboratory and storage site, despite a previous push by his administration to postpone the project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The structure -- a planned component of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project -- is required to become fully operational by the end of 2026 under the newly inked fiscal 2013 defense authorization law. The legislation permits up to $70 million in new funds for the building's construction in the budget year that runs through Sept. 30, and it makes available $120 million in money previously appropriated for the project.

The bill establishes a $3.7 billion spending cap for the structure, which is intended to assume the responsibilities of a decades-old plutonium facility at Los Alamos. The text would require the Energy Department to give lawmakers a "detailed justification" for any projected CMRR spending in excess of the threshold.

Obama took issue with several elements of the legislation, but said "the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great to ignore."

The bill contains "deeply problematic" restrictions on implementing a bilateral strategic arms control treaty with Russia, the president wrote in a statement. The section in question requires various presidential certifications to Congress focusing on funding, management and modernization of strategic delivery systems. Republicans have criticized the administration for failing to follow through on nuclear funding pledges made during the push for Senate ratification of the accord.

Obama, though, noted that language to "adequately amend" the New START pact provisions is contained in separate legislation to address the budgetary "fiscal cliff," The president also signed the latter bill into law on Wednesday.

The defense authorization law establishes ceilings of $527.5 billion for base Defense Department spending, $88.5 billion for overseas operations and $17.4 billion for defense-related nuclear programs overseen by the Energy Department. It bars further appropriations for the Medium Extended Air Defense System, despite an administration request for continued funding of the multinational antimissile program through fiscal 2013.

The text calls for a special congressional panel to examine options for altering the management of U.S. nuclear weapons operations, which are now overseen by the Energy Department's semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration. A number of GOP lawmakers previously pushed to limit DOE involvement in the nuclear arms complex, arguing the restrictions could relieve schedule and budget overruns experienced by NNSA projects.

A group of House Republicans failed to win approval under the legislation to fund construction of an East Coast ballistic missile defense interceptor installations. Still, the text mandates a Pentagon review of at least three possible new sites, including no fewer than two locations in the eastern United States. Long-range interceptors are currently deployed in California and Alaska.

The measure establishes Iran's energy, port, shipping and shipbuilding industries as “entities of proliferation concern,” paving the way for possible new sanctions targeting those areas.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Retirees can sue Livermore lab over health care

Fom the San Francisco Chronicle

Bob Egelko
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A state appeals court has revived a lawsuit by retired employees of the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory over UC's decision in 2008 to switch their health insurance to a private plan that covered less and cost more.

The four retirees presented evidence that the university had promised them lifetime health coverage and can try to prove that the shift to a lesser plan was a breach of contract, the First District Court of San Francisco ruled Monday. The court reversed an Alameda County judge's decision to dismiss the suit.

Although they have not filed a class-action suit on behalf of all retired lab employees, Dov Grunschlag, a lawyer for the four retirees, predicted that their case would lead to reinstatement of all Livermore retirees' UC health coverage.

The ruling "reaffirms that California law will protect the right of people who worked for public entities for many years to continue receiving the health coverage that was promised to them once they retired," Grunschlag said.

The university said it remains hopeful of winning when the case goes to trial.

The plaintiffs worked at Livermore for decades and had retired before 2007, when UC transferred management of the lab to a partnership called Lawrence Livermore National Security, which includes the university and private companies.

UC then terminated the retirees' government-sponsored health insurance and assured them that they would receive equivalent coverage from the new managers. But the court said the new plan is inferior and more expensive. Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch dismissed the suit in May 2011, saying it was unclear that the university had ever promised the employees lifetime coverage - and that even if such a promise was made, it was not legally binding.

But later last year, the state Supreme Court ruled in an Orange County case that public employees could rely on a government agency's express or implied promise of future health benefits.

In this case, the appeals court cited such statements as an assurance in a 1979 UC retirement system handbook that employees with five years of service have "a non-forfeitable (vested) right to a retirement benefit" including university contributions.

A number of UC publications "contain language that could be read as implying a commitment to provide these benefits throughout retirement," said Presiding Justice Barbara Jones in the 3-0 ruling.

The ruling can be viewed at

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A deal has been reached in the Fiscal cliff.

A deal has been reached in the Fiscal cliff.
 Sequester delayed by two months.
"It would also temporarily delay the sequester -- i.e., billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts -- for another two months. The cost of continuing current spending levels will be paid for through an even mix of tax revenue increases and later spending cuts. Half of those cuts will come from defense spending; half will come from nondefense spending."

So the pain continues however it looks like 5% cuts for the labs at least. RIF's who knows. However we pay LLNLs and LANS 5% of our lab budget so maybe we have an idea of where to cut?

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