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Friday, October 25, 2013

Los Alamos view on Livermore

DIR-13-253 SUBJECT: ANNOUNCEMENT OF BRET KNAPP AS LLNL ACTING DIRECTOR Parney Albright announced he is stepping down as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Director at the end of the month in order to pursue broader interests in the national security arena. Board of Governors Chair Norm Pattiz announced today the appointment of Principal Associate Director for Weapons Programs Bret Knapp to the position of Acting Director of LLNL, effective November 1, 2013. The Los Alamos and Livermore Boards have advised Secretary Moniz and the Acting NNSA Administrator Held of Parney’s departure and have coordinated with them on the designation of Bret as Acting Director while the search for a permanent replacement is completed. A national search for a permanent Director will commence shortly under the leadership of University of California. It is in the nation’s interest to have two strong nuclear security science laboratories, and I have committed to the Boards my support to Bret as he assumes this important role. Bret is no stranger to Livermore having worked there for 26 years before coming to Los Alamos in 2006. He has built strong and effective relationships across the laboratory community, the DOE/NNSA, the Department of Defense, and with other stakeholders. In Bret’s absence, I have asked Craig Leasure to serve as the Acting Principal Associate Director for the Weapons Program. I ask for your full support of Craig during this transition period.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

This may be true and I'll give him that. he was a people person but that's not what ULM is allowed to be. They have to follow company rules and be heartless. When they see shortfalls in the budget that have to put the projects and company first and shit-can as many people as fast as possible to stay on budget no matter how small it is or how small it's going to get. This is why Parney is gone and Brett Knapp is in. Brett's new job is to balance the budget before the new director is appointed / elected. This way the new guy can come in and all the dirty work will be done. I'd venture to say they need to work fast and have the house cleaned before Dec 25th and especially before congress realizes that Odumbocare is going to absorb all the funds that will be made by those who will be shown the gate plus a lot more. It’s for this reason I suspect budgets for LLNL and LANL will be reduced even more over the next few decades. Brett will then go back to LANL and start raising hell there too. It's all so very simple people.

Anonymous said...

In America today under the Obama administration and the SDF (Socialist Democratic Party) our countries motto is – “The good of the few (the Rich) outweigh the good of many (the Working/Middle Class)”

Anonymous said...

I've been reading more or less the same thing on here for the past four years. With the exception of the big layoff soon after the transition none of these obvious and simple predictions have come true. Apparently prognosticating isn't a strong point of people who frequent this forum.

Anonymous said...

11:54 AM, Ronald Reagan would probably feel at home in today's Democratic party. Yes, I'm serious. Both parties have moved significantly to the right over the past three decades. Referring to the Democrats as socialists would be cause for much laughter if not for the fact that many who spout that line actually believe it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I see the two party's as being extreme left wing anti-American socialist pigs where one could only hope a meteorite would hit dead center in the middle of a convention when all of them are together. We have Democraps and RINO’s and that’s pretty much sums up Washington, DC

S said...

It's hard to take folks who only offer endless hate seriously.


As to the Labs: Obama appears to want us to do even more of what we used to do (Which is to innovate and to create for the good of the country) because he understands that the whole country benefits from the things we do and that the profit motive of some corporations does nothing more than to drive up the cost.

Freeware* vs. Proprietary – If you will

* Not that there won’t be nominal fees for the use.

Anonymous said...

October 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

You are delusional. "Obama appears..."? Based on what?

Anonymous said...

Freeware vs Proprietary

When all is said and done it will not be free and neither is any of Odumbo's offerings, especially national health care. But lets get back to balancing LLNL's budget, how it will be done and how many have to go before Christmas. That is my main concern.

Anonymous said...

It's time to get rid of BOTH parties and have Congressmen who do what the people of America want them to do not want there party tells them to do.

S said...

"But lets get back to balancing LLNL's budget, how it will be done and how many have to go before Christmas"

So you'd rather discuss and throw out a bunch of wild speculation than to talk about what our President has been proposing we do and others won't let him?

-----

I don't know Knapp but I hope that he cares enough about this Lab and the town he grew up in to do all he can to push us in a productive direction.

FWIW I think I went to school with his older brother. Then again there could very well could be 2 Knapp families in town in the early 70's.

S said...

"Based on what?"

Obama proposes $2 billion plan for clean energy technology research

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-15/politics/37738445_1_clean-energy-president-obama-obama-first

----------
Bringing Technology from “Lab to Market”
Leading up to the President’s signing of the America Invents Act, the Administration worked with Federal agencies and private-sector partners to launch a series of new “Lab to Market” initiatives. The initiatives are aimed at helping to achieve the President’s goal of strengthening “commercialization of the nearly $148 billion in annual federally-funded research and development”, as first proposed in January 2011 at the launch of the White House-led Startup America campaign. These efforts encouraged Federal agencies to streamline their technology-transfer procedures, support additional government-industry collaboration, and encourage the commercialization of novel technologies flowing from our Federal laboratories.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology#id-3

-------

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some of you don't know this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Obama proposes $2 billion plan for clean energy technology research

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-15/politics/37738445_1_clean-energy-president-obama-obama-first

Please send the $2B to LBL since that's what they do best. LLNL has already proven $7.5B will get you nothing.

Personally I'd like to see the $2B spent on building solar tracking solar panels in the desert plugged into the grid. We'd get a far better return.

Anonymous said...

Livermore deserves Knapp. Los Alamos deserves Leisure for accepting Knapp all these years.

Anonymous said...

It is Leasure and I am unfamiliar with him. How will LANL's PADWP fair under his rule?

Anonymous said...

ummm i meant "fare"

Anonymous said...

To the poster using Odumbocare and other name calling. That is the lowest possible form of debate. Perhaps you could elevate to ad hominem attacks. The constant attack of some socialist issue is tiresome. The fact is the FY14 PBR for NNSA is much higher than the Republican lead House marks for FY14. This is a consistent trend over many years.

Please just go away. This a Blog about LLNL 9and sometimes LANL) not your hatred of Obama.

Anonymous said...

"Livermore deserves Knapp. Los Alamos deserves Leisure for accepting Knapp all these years."

This is a training progtam for Knapp so he can return to LANL and be its Director.

Anonymous said...

I heard there was a secret SSVSP for Lab directors.

Anonymous said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some of you don't know this stuff.

October 25, 2013 at 2:29 PM

What everyone who "does the math" knows is that so-called "clean energy technology" can't possibly satisfy the projected world-wide demand for energy over the next 20 years. The entire developing world will burn coal and oil, and in doing so will surpass the US in economic growth as a percentage of GDP within the next 5 years. The US will build windmills and feel good about itself. Yay.

Anonymous said...

I second 10/25/13 4:28 PM's motion. Moderators, please do a better job of keeping this blog free of non-LLNL related matter. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Bret (with one "T") grew up in Livermore, graduating in 1976 from LHS.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that a rather loud few are completely unable to keep on topic. Let me help: this topic involves speculation about why Parney Albright resigned.

As a number of people have pointed out, the prognostications on this blog tend to be grim. Does anyone have any real information about what Parney's motivations might be.

Certainly you don't leave if things are great and every morning you can't wait to get into work. Parney had a tough job and he may not have felt this way for some time. And perhaps all he saw was more of the same in the future.

Parney was a popular director with a lot of people at the lab. People felt that he was honest and he tried to do his best for the employees.

The only fault that I might ascribe to him is that he did not succeed in putting into place, either in global security or the lab as a whole, a structure to bring in more projects. But I doubt that this was the reason that he left.

So does anyone have anything solid to contribute other than the speculation I've indulged in? Do you think that you might be able to keep on topic and leave politics out of it?

Well, we can always hope.

Anonymous said...

8:43 PM

The speculation I've heard, and it is solely that, is that Parney got cross ways with the wrong people in the funding stream and this was necessary to keep LLNL's place at the trough. It certainly doesn't seem like an idea he came to completely on his own, given the abruptness of his departure.

For whatever it's worth. At least it's not another unhinged political raNT.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the constructive comment, 8:48 PM.

One thing should be clear to anyone: the Lab cannot simply cut its way to success. At some point the end of that path leads to shutting down the lab.

Anonymous said...

Do the math! The lab has reached the tipping point and is unsustainable as a broad based national security enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Parney took the big three and divided by two while realizing his ass was hanging out there. Knapp, who is the biggest ass out there, decided he could still do better by becoming LLNL's hatchet man for the next six months.

Anonymous said...

Knapp seems to have an agenda or grudge against scientists and engineers that know more than he knows, which is virtually everyone at Labs. Wasn't his father a technician at the Labs? What is Knapp's problem? Was he abused or neglected as a kid?

Anonymous said...

One thing should be clear to anyone: the Lab cannot simply cut its way to success. At some point the end of that path leads to shutting down the lab.


October 25, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Might be a good thing. I think they can cut at least 50% more. Global security needs to stay. The rest can go wayside until the deficit is paid in full.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMLHPnxkOwA

Anonymous said...

If global security has its own funding, without taxing other programs, it should stay.

This is true of all groups (except chartered support groups). You need to have your own funding, not exist by taking a percent off the top from others.

Anonymous said...

Retuning to the OP, this memo from Charlie points to some of the main reasons for the 2013 state of the laboratories. For most of the Cold War, the two design locations were serious competitors against each other, whereas now they have an intertwined leadership. The board moving Bret from LANL to LLNL is just like a division leader moving a group leader from one group to another.

The country either needs two design labs or it doesn't. If it does, then they should be far less co-dependent than the state today. If it doesn't, then the necessary functions should be consolidated and the other location re-purposed.

thief said...

The country either needs two design labs or it doesn't. If it does, then they should be far less co-dependent than the state today. If it doesn't, then the necessary functions should be consolidated and the other location re-purposed.

It might have needed two at one time....maybe not so much now. Stand alone facilities like Terascale, Global Security that are productive and bring in funds (and have newer physical facilities) can probably function fine as stand alones. I don't know about "Moses Money Pit" though....might have to walk away from that like the lab has been forced to do in the past with its boondoggles! It's cool though I hear they're building a high speed boondoggle down Fresno way so you guys should have no difficulty finding alternate employment building "Jerry's Folly"!

Anonymous said...

"Bringing in funds" should not mean (directly or indirectly) taxing other programs to pursue your ideas.

If no one wants to pay you, why force them too.

thief said...

"Bringing in funds" should not mean (directly or indirectly) taxing other programs to pursue your ideas.

I can't speak to the funding sources for programs with which I am not associated but the intent of my statement was that those entities would be obtaining funding from willing subscribers not skimming from other organizations.

Anonymous said...

Global security is the grim reaper for the lab, operating on a completely different model. If people want to compete for peanuts contracts from DC and then not pay for the resources they use and leverage off, they really ought to break out on their own, or go to a place with that sort of culture - LBL for example, or universities.

thief said...

Global security is the grim reaper for the lab, operating on a completely different model. If people want to compete for peanuts contracts from DC and then not pay for the resources they use and leverage off, they really ought to break out on their own, or go to a place with that sort of culture - LBL for example, or universities.

Can either LBL or a University maintain an adequate security program that would allow them to perform the kind of work that Global Security currently does?

Anonymous said...

Doing wonderful work is great, but you need a client to pay you directly to do it & pay you enough to cover your resource use.

If not, that's how you end up with outrageous overhead costs.

Anonymous said...

That right there is how the lab will be lost. Maybe no one in Washington cares about that.

Anonymous said...

"This is a training progtam for Knapp so he can return to LANL and be its Director."

October 25, 2013 at 5:25 PM


Bingo! Poster 5:25 PM is right on target. BTW, if you haven't done so, Livermore, take a close look at the educational credentials of your new boss, Brett Knapp. They're very unimpressive.

Knapp is far from having a PhD... just a MS in Mech. Engineering from Cali State. Fortunately, that's all that is required for a modern lab Director at the NNSA "science" labs. Sad, isn't it?

Oh, and his chief function since leaving LLNL and coming to LANL several years ago was to be the executive team's "head chopper" for LANS. Brett Knapp is well known around LANL as a very brutal man. He's most likely been sent back to LLNL to further downsize the place and utilize his anger management problems as an asset while he proceeds to kick butt.

Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

What everyone who "does the math" knows is that so-called "clean energy technology" can't possibly satisfy the projected world-wide demand for energy over the next 20 years. The entire developing world will burn coal and oil, and in doing so will surpass the US in economic growth as a percentage of GDP within the next 5 years. The US will build windmills and feel good about itself. Yay.

October 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM

I hope its windmills, geothermal, sea and solar all at the same time and all plugged into the grid. As far as what the rest of the world is doing I don't care. They can do as we do if they wish on their on funds not ours. Many are already doing more and better using todays technology.

Anonymous said...

The decision to select Knapp is a clear indication that Mara/Anastasio still have a strangle-hold on the Labs. Clearly, Pattiz could not make this decision on his own.

Anonymous said...

4:46 AM nailed it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Correction to October 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM:

Bret's degrees are B. S. from Cal Poly and M. S. from UC Davis, both in mechanical engineering.

Anonymous said...

As far as what the rest of the world is doing I don't care.

October 27, 2013 at 4:40 AM

So it's not about pollution or global warming, but about making yourself feel good? Yay.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that green energy isn't, and it does not make a dent in the needs to fuel the global economy. Learn to live with carbon fuel pollution, or learn to make nuclear reactors safe. Or, live in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Learn to live with carbon fuel pollution, or learn to make nuclear reactors safe. Or, live in the dark.

October 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Sorry, although I agree with your point, there is a third option beside "living in the dark." It is making carbon-based fuels as clean-burning as possible by technology and by matching the right fuel to the right use, and reducing the amount of pollution generated by transportation of fuels by truck and rail, i.e., build more pipelines.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that green energy isn't, and it does not make a dent in the needs to fuel the global economy. Learn to live with carbon fuel pollution, or learn to make nuclear reactors safe. Or, live in the dark.

That's all good but what you guys are doing at NIF is not going to resolve the energy crisis world wide. It's a weapons research took that is not clean and with the use of Pu soon it most definitely will be as worthless as they come. Again I'd much rather see every nation in the world at this very moment start construction wind mills, sea wave, dams, geothermal, and above all solar tracking array on every square miles of unused land we have and look toward apparatus which use less energy. Oh and one more items which needs work is a battery which cam full recharge in a few minutes and give you 300 miles travel in a full size vehicle or stations where you can swap the battery out robotically in the same time. Public transportation. NFW, been there, done that and hatted every minute of it. Again, we don't want to be nuts to butts on PT like Europe.

Anonymous said...

Wow, did you ever miss the point! Read the post again, carefully this time.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that green energy isn't, and it does not make a dent in the needs to fuel the global economy. Learn to live with carbon fuel pollution, or learn to make nuclear reactors safe. Or, live in the dark.

I would rather drive around in a Hummer with a "Don't Pollute" bumper sticker on the back.

Anonymous said...

Here is some lighthearted trivia for all of you to participate in.

Name the directors and senior lab officials current and past, who owned these cars:

Lamborghini
Ferrarri
Lotus
Tesla

Anonymous said...

As a former LANL ‘Weaponeer’, banished by Knapp to the ‘hinterlands’ of LANL, I’m overjoyed with him returning to ‘Brand X’, for however long (permanently would be good!) With due deference to my weapons colleagues at Livermore, all I can say is ‘Best Wishes’—you raised him, you can keep him! He’s an insecure, underachieving ‘hatchet man’ and nothing more--should be perfect for his new assignment. His departure will significantly raise the overall intelligence of BOTH Labs.

Anonymous said...

Name the directors and senior lab officials current and past, who owned these cars:

October 27, 2013 at 6:40 PM

What, penis envy again?? Geez, get a life.

Anonymous said...

NIF was never about energy production, even if ignition had worked its purpose was to back up the illusion that it was about energy production while being too big to kill, thereby protecting a chunk of future funding from DOE and protecting part of the lab. Now that NIF has failed to achieve its namesake purpose, it is a dead albatross around Moses' neck - Moses was eventually thrown overboard, but years too late to keep him away from the crossbow and burdening the whole lab with the curse.

Anonymous said...

It's definitely not envy. It's more an attempt to shame. If you think otherwise, prove it and tell us which directors own which cars.. before I do it for you.

Anonymous said...

Why is it shameful to own a car you can afford? Why would you want to "shame" them? What business is it of yours? Are you some pinch-mouthed old biddy who thinks a display of wealth is sinful? Yeah, it's all about envy. If you truly care about this, your life must be pretty empty.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Knapp was sent by LANL to downsize LLNL. It is clear to me that LANL is now firmly in charge of these two labs and the decision to concentrate on LANL and not LLNL is clear. Essential we now have one lab in two locations under one management structure. One location will get downsized. The move with Knapp tells you which lab is to be cut down to size.

Anonymous said...

11:46 AM

LLNL has already been significantly downsized. And the rationale for LANL doing larger scale radiological material work over LLNL is so self evident it requires no "decision to concentrate." LANL is in the middle of nowhere, as opposed to being part of a major metropolitan area suburbs. That's why LLNL, not LANL, deinventoried.

That said, unless and until CMRR is built and operational, there is still some need for LLNL support in radiological operations. It will just be smaller scale.

So, no, Knapp wasn't sent here to kill LLNL. It's obvious the departure of Parney occurred suddenly, and it's a very short list in terms of people who can step in as acting director of a national lab on one week's notice.

Anonymous said...

12:12 PM

While there were no obvious internal LLNL candidates to follow Parney, that should not translate to bringing Knapp back. What is evident from 11:46 AM's comment is that the management structure of both locations is, for practical purposes, indistinguishable. The level of independence of each location has eroded badly over the past decade.

The need for both locations, even without CMRR, is still an undecided point; however, the intertwined management structure will continue to argue for keeping both locations open. While they each may spend some time fighting for a larger slice of the pie, the current model has them both spending a lot more time fighting for a larger pie that always has two slices.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Goodwin is coming back as LLNL director. Bret is heading back to LANL in 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Goodwin, McMillian, or Younger would be solid Directors. Considering the long term health of LLNL, it is better served to have leadership from the weapons side. LLNS needed to select Parney, who was in the right place at the right time, after the difficulties that came out from the LANL search.

Anonymous said...

I would have never imagined that Bret Knapp would rise to the Lab Director role. It appears that the folks "in power" really have not seen or aware of the "nasty" side of Bret. This guy is the most abusive manager I have seen in my 35-years at the Labs. Wow, Acting Laboratory Director?! I never would have imagined this in my wildest dreams.

Anonymous said...

Craig Leasure is nothing more than Bret Knapp's organ grinder monkey. Another "fluke".

Anonymous said...

Steve Koonin?

Anonymous said...

4:39, I agree.

Anonymous said...

really have not seen or aware of the "nasty" side of Bret. This guy is the most abusive manager I have seen in my 35-years at the Labs.
October 28, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Bret only follows orders from the director as the director's hatchet man. He was brought along by the LANS carpetbaggers as their enforcer. Remember that the director is also president of LANS, so the board is fully aware of the point of Bret, and condones his behavior.

Anonymous said...

"...Bret Knapp...This guy is the most abusive manager I have seen in my 35-years at the Labs."

You OBVIOUSLY never worked for Moses. I've worked for both - albeit it was the late eighties with Bret. Moses is abusive personified; arrogant, bombastic, crude and rude. We were overjoyed that he was recently demoted...

Anonymous said...

These guys drive around in Lamborghinis and Ferraris. But they are sensitive when we bring it up in public forums. Why people get riled up when it is brought up in public forums, when there is nothing wrong with it, as they claim?

Alot of the Brett Knapp haters also keep bringing up his beautiful car. He just followed in the footsteps of Sig, who has a beautiful Lamborghini.

Anonymous said...

Sig deserves it !

Anonymous said...

I would own a Lambo and gas brake dip if I could afford it. Why not?

Anonymous said...

Yeah Knapp has yet to prove that he deserves it. Sig is a god.

Anonymous said...

Knapp frequently brags that he has no heart. Fact is, he has no brain as well.

Anonymous said...

"..reallly have not seen or aware of the "nasty" side of Bret. This guy is the most abusive manager I have seen in my 35-years at the Labs..."

You did not work with Clough, Emmett, Coegnsen, Papadapolis, Moses, Teller, Wood or Melanie.

Many difficult folks as well as more gentle souls have toughened the LLNL workforce. Knapp is the caretaker. He will not develop organizational strategy or design, but he will manage the interregnum.

Anonymous said...

Damn near every manager in Star Wars and Demo '85 were nuttier than Knapp.

And more recently incompetents Russo and Soderstrom were/are deeply flawed damaging to your future.

And they were far less damaging to your future than Congressman Dingle, Senator Domenici, Senator Boxer, Congressman McInerny (the addlepated ghost) or the coven of Pryzbylek, D'Agostino and Bodner who should go hunting with Cheney.

Lots of camp followers in LLNLs past.

Anonymous said...

October 30, 2013 at 8:36 PM and October 30, 2013 at 9:06 PM:

Wow, way to drop names. No content there, though. Just implied denigration. Too lazy to either specify your complaints or to actually do your homework. Shameful for people who supposedly care about facts.

Anonymous said...

"..reallly have not seen or aware of the "nasty" side of Bret. This guy is the most abusive manager I have seen in my 35-years at the Labs..."

You did not work with Clough, Emmett, Coegnsen, Papadapolis, Moses, Teller, Wood or Melanie.

October 30, 2013 at 8:36 PM

I beg your pardon! I worked for both Clough and Knapp. First of all, Clough was far more intelligent than Knapp and understood nuclear weapons. Clough treated me with respect and dignity when I was at LLNL. Knapp destroyed my career when he came to Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing Roger Logan left LLNL at this point. Bret would have of of hung this guy on his return to LLNL. All you folks in the Weapons Programs at LLNL better start hoping you in tight with who ever Bret selects to take over the Weapons Program there. If your not kissing the right ass at LLNL, you are going to be trashed, like I (and many other weaopneers) were dumped when Knapp came marching in. Knapp is a real bastard.

Anonymous said...

@11:29 AM: Yeah well after the last six years I'm completely numb to fearmongering and intimidation. I'm proud of what I contribute as a worker bee. Lay me off, I'll get by.

Anonymous said...

Contract 44 poisoned the vital organism Contract 48 created. You are living through the death throes.

It is not clear that technical surveillance and stewardship will survive the trauma.

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