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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. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Friday, June 6, 2014

Future of LLNL

What are the key steps to improve efficiency of operations and morale at LLNL and do they include or exclude a future with LLNS management?

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

1) All upper management need to go on a retreat dedicated to creating and nurturing organizational health. Spend like a week on it, get it organized by pros. No laptops, no cellphones, hold it in the middle of nowhere.
2) All other managers then follow by doing the same thing after guidance from the top.
3) Groups compare notes, make sure they are all on the same page, and then present a unified picture of why the lab exists and how it is organized to everyone else.
4) Repeat every year until every single person understands it.

Anonymous said...

If you make an unpopular pizza and want a new pizza recipe you don't just send the cooks in a back room to figure one out, then come back and hope the new recipe is better. The cooks need input from the customer base too.

Customer input applies to the tasty pizza from the competitor who regularly reviews his pizza recipe and services with his customers knowing he is not the only pizza place in town.

The key assumptions here are the cooks want or feel they need a new recipe and they actually have a pizza competitor.

Anonymous said...

LLNS couldn't run a pizza joint.

Anonymous said...

No.... The health of the organization is internal, and does not involve competitors or pizza recipes. You can have the tastiest pizza in town, happy customers all around, and STILL fail because your organization is broken and dysfunctional. LLNL is broken and dysfunctional.

Anonymous said...


"...No.... The health of the organization is internal, and does not involve competitors or pizza recipes. You can have the tastiest pizza in town, happy customers all around, and STILL fail because your organization is broken and dysfunctional. LLNL is broken and dysfunctional..."

The long term health of an organization is multifaceted. However, in the absence of a motivating catalyst, even an organization "broken and dysfunctional" can limp along and survive if they perceive themselves to be the only game in town or are otherwise immune to identified problem areas. There are many such former companies on this list.

Anonymous said...

Efficiency: Gut NNSA to get rid of the red tape.

Morale: Develop meaningful and obtainable projects and goals. LLNL, LANL and Sandia all started going down the tubes when field testing stopped.

What will happen: Nothing. Congress hatched the NNSA monster and doesn't want to admit to its mistakes. But with St. Pete out of the picture there might be some chance that NNSA will be kicked in the head but more likely this is another can that will be kicked down the road. As to meaningful projects all three labs have proven to be unable or unwilling to do major tasks. The crown jewels could use some polishing.

Anonymous said...

How is the organization (LLNS) "broken and dysfunctional" specifically, and how have other DOE contractors performed to a higher standard with a comparable set of metrics? Put another way, how would LLNL be better off (efficiency of operations and morale) by bringing in another contractor?

Does the NNSA Livermore Field Office serve as the LLNS evaluator of expected performance, have net zero impact, or are they an enabler of poor performance? Examples please.

Anonymous said...

Efficiency: Gut NNSA to get rid of the red tape.

June 7, 2014 at 10:39 AM

New NNSA Administrator Klotz came to LANL and explicitly stated "he rejects the notion that NNSA is worthless". Basically, we have another entrenched bureaucrat at the helm who will die at the helm trying to resuscitate this corpse (i.e. NNSA). We need a real leader who will lead the "closure" of NNSA for the good of our Nation.

Anonymous said...

Fire half the management. Morale will improve, costs will go down, productivity will go up. Never going to happen though. There is an echo chamber in management where they all tell each other how essential they are and without them, LLNL would be a mess. They all believe it too. We have a manager in our division that literally shows open contempt for people who work in the division. Even making public statements in meetings showing her contempt. Naturally she was disciplined. Oh scratch that, nothing at all was done, my mistake. No wonder morale is bad. When you have managers that are abusive, how can you not be anything but happy?

Anonymous said...

In any organization managers do slip up now and then, but it takes an organization to keep that manager on that same abusive path. When the system breaks down that is the real and unacceptable tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody think that LLNL is on the longterm uptick?

Now, does anybody's boss think that LLNL is on the longterm uptick?

and so on and so on.

Now, can anybody define what the vision of the lab is beyond continue what we're already doing?

Can anybody say with confidence that good ideas will get supported at the lab?

The lab needs creative destruction, which rules the world. This means out with the old, and in no with the new, but the best. Oh, the best left LLNL back in the 80s and 90s.

The lab will turn into an engineering job shop, reflecting the current workforce talent.


Anonymous said...

"...Does anybody think that LLNL is on the longterm uptick? ..."

What are the grand plans for FY15 and beyond that are OK to speak of in public? Who will stick around to "hold the candle" of a better future to come?

Anonymous said...

"Put another way, how would LLNL be better off (efficiency of operations and morale) by bringing in another contractor?"

LLNS is ultimately responsible for ensuring that LLNL is not broken and dysfunctional, and it has failed. This has been an ongoing and worsening problem for years, to the point that many good people have retired early or quit, and those that are left spend their days talking behind people's backs, complaining, trying to hoarde resources and maintain feudal kingdoms, and wishing for leadership that does not exist. Either LLNS is unaware that things are as bad as this, or they are aware but do not care; but either explanation leads to the same conclusion, they are incompetent.

"Does the NNSA Livermore Field Office serve as the LLNS evaluator of expected performance, have net zero impact, or are they an enabler of poor performance? "

The same conclusions apply to the field office.

Anonymous said...

So what can be done without endangering the careers of many good people? Who can help correct the situation? If not the NNSA Livermore field office then who? Who cares or has the power to make a difference?

Anonymous said...

What role does the new LLNS Director have here?

Anonymous said...

I think no one really cares except employees, which is a big part of the problem. At least, no one cares until something really big blows up, like the NIF fiasco, that could and should have been seen and stopped as a cultural trainwreck years in advance. The Director could make a difference, but past directors have just enabled the trainwreck. These problems may be beyond fixing, except by default as all the good people leave and the place just implodes.

Anonymous said...

Management cares about a few golden boys, that's it. Also most of them are pretenders who never worked on a nuclear design or test.

Anonymous said...

so the requirement is that important lab employees work on design or test?

This implies that testing and design is the future. This implies NIF facility is extremely important to the lab moving forward.

Confirms that LLNL is a weapons lab, and so goes the nations weapons program, so goes the lab.

Anonymous said...

This implies that testing and design is the future. This implies NIF facility is extremely important to the lab moving forward.

June 7, 2014 at 9:05 PM

Boy, is that a jump in logic or what? If testing and design were in the future, NIF would be irrelevant, just as it is now. Just ask them, they are all about ignition, not weapons.

Anonymous said...

To succeed you have to have real goals and managers that facilitate reaching those goals.
My next door neighbor is a NNSA facility site representative and he tells me all the lab jokes that circulate at NNSA. They actually laugh about the labs falling on their face.
To succeed you have to have goals and managers that facilitate reaching those goal. When a team has a failing record the coaches are sacked, not the players, and THE TEAM moves forward. The NNSA is busy slitting the labs throat and laughing about it. LLNL is full of excellent people, don't despair. Eventually the NNSA experiment will end.

Anonymous said...

LLNL went out of its way to deceive and dis NNSA, which is why Moses was fired and Albright resigned after it became clear. Small wonder NNSA would not be unhappy about the current state of affairs. Sometimes a decayed structure has to be burned before something new can be built in its place.

Anonymous said...

LLNL has been a weapons lab since day 1, and it had better keep that mission front and center or it will continue on its march towards irrelevance. Ignition came and went, the chaos of a thousand little global security projects is a distraction at least as long as it remains atomized, but the weapons mission remains. Means making some tough decisions, gutting or restructuring some programs, and drilling this reality into every brain at the lab. It's all about bombs, stupid.

Anonymous said...

LLNL is and has always been a science and research facility, not testing, production or manufacturing. The "production" style of management that the industrial partners in LLNS have brought to LLNL does not work. The "work control" process implement by the Bechtel and URS types is a disaster, and crippling science and innovation at LLNL.

UC needs to take charge of LLNL, not going back to direct UC management but as sole owner of the LLNS LLC, and then subcontract as "appropriate" work to industrial firms.

Anonymous said...

Go back to the UC pension program and get out of the for profit business. Oh and forget NIF and do something useful for the country.

Anonymous said...

The LLNS net and by sector job attrition numbers
may indicate a trend line.

Anonymous said...

UC needs to take charge of LLNL...

June 8, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Sorry, you may "need" UC to do this, but UC definitely does NOT "need" to do this. UC needs closer ties to LANL and LLNL like a fish needs a bicycle. That train has long ago left the station.

Anonymous said...

Recent pay freezes + low morale + unreliable funding year to year + portable 401k plans for post 2007 employees + high overhead cost + incoherent mission focus = ?

Anonymous said...

I really can't determine what the lab is for, based on this blog. Assuming these are lab employee responding, this is quite disturbing that they don't even know the directions or future of the lab.

The three consistent themes however surface:

Weapons (with or without NIF)

"Science and Research facility"

Place that current employees can work for a pension.

Anonymous said...

Places that do "science and research" - hundreds.

Places where "employees can work for a pension" - virtually none.

Nuclear weapons laboratories - exactly three.

Seems like the future is pretty evident. Regardless of the longevity of NNSA or LLNS/LANS, nuclear weapons are not going away.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone knows what the lab is for or where it is going, there are only various incoherent opinions. Lots of blame to go around for that, but it has been getting worse for years, and it can't be sustained indefinitely. Maybe a new president and priorities in 2016 will make a difference, but certainly neither the lab nor LLNS nor NNSA seem capable of fixing the problem.

Anonymous said...

"... Regardless of the longevity of NNSA or LLNS/LANS, nuclear weapons are not going away..."

Will our long term nuclear weapons mission be serviced with a rotating set of ~5 year employees in a "job shop" environment? Where is the stability or security in this scenario?

Anonymous said...

Where is the stability or security in this scenario?

June 9, 2014 at 8:23 AM

There obviously isn't any. Why did you postulate it?

Anonymous said...

Taken a look at the news lately? The whole country is falling apart. Reminds me of the final years of the Soviet Union in some ways.

The problems at the nuclear weapon labs and the hugely dysfunctional NNSA are a very weak signal on the 'news radar'. Things may continue to go downhill at the NNSA labs, most likely, until we get some decent bi-partisan leadership in both Congress and the White House. Little chance of that, though. It's all about the money in DC. The corruption is amazing and they don't even try to hide it any longer!

Anonymous said...

June 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM is trying to understand the Laboratory's business by reading THIS BLOG.

in the immortal words of POS:

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

Please remember who frequents this ANONYMOUS blog. You should not expect to find the answer to any real-world question here.

If, however, you're interested in how a septic tank works, you're in justthe right place.

Anonymous said...

Yes don't look anywhere but in the LLNS Newsline or attend the "all hands" for the real facts. All those OTHER discussion forums are biased. Better yet, come forward and share your concerns with us directly and we will take care of them...

Anonymous said...

If, however, you're interested in how a septic tank works, you're in justthe right place.

June 9, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Then why are you posting more poo here?

Anonymous said...

"The corruption is amazing and they don't even try to hide it any longer!

June 9, 2014 at 9:45 AM"

You are saying something that I find personally very disturbing. I have always understood that any organization will have politics and that is the way of the world and LLNL was never an exception to this. What I find so disturbing is that in the last five years the corruption is no longer under the radar or considered part of politics it is now out in the open and pushed in your face. It seems like we are entering and accepting a new final end stage of the NNSA complex. I only know the labs so I hope this is not the norm of the entire nation. When corruption is open, accepted, and promoted as the way of the system than the end of the system cannot be far behind.

Anonymous said...

June 8, 2014 at 7:34 PM

What the Lab is for is pretty clear from LLNL's Website

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission of strengthening the United States’ security through development and application of world-class science and technology to:

* Enhance the nation’s defense;

* Reduce the global threat from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction;

* And respond with vision, quality, integrity and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you may "need" UC to do this, but UC definitely does NOT "need" to do this. UC needs closer ties to LANL and LLNL like a fish needs a bicycle. That train has long ago left the station.

June 8, 2014 at 2:39 PM

---------------

UC doesn't need ties to LANL, but LLNL is a different matter due to close proximity of UC campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz) and LBNL. There's a considerably amount of collaboration between these on science/research. Also with UCOP being so close to LLNL I see more interaction with UC Office of Lab Management here than at LANL.

With respect to LLNL, UC should restructure the LLNS LLC. The LLNS Board of Governors has a total of 16 positions, with 7 of these Governors constituting an Executive Committee. All decisions of the LLNS Board are made by the Executive Committee.

UC appoints 3 to the Executive Committee (including the Chair), Bechtel appoints 3 (including the Vice Chair) - however 1 of these must be a representative of B&W or URS. The seventh is appointed by Battelle.

UC should boot the 3 Bechtel members off of the executive committee of the LLNS Board of Governors, and replace them with 3 UC appointees. This would make LLNS a "UC controlled" entity that is still separate from UC, and still having industrial partners on the Board in advisory roles.

No need to change the LANS LLC since the industrial partners play a much more active and visible role in managing LANL.

Anonymous said...

LLNL has no viable mission and it has had to rip off weapons systems work from LANL just to keep busy. The old horse needs to be put down. It's time to go. NIF can be a standalone research facility supported by billions of dollars in venture capital funding that they claimed would be thrown at them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with that assessment, but it doesn't really matter. Just ask which lab has been a bigger pain in the government's ass, and you'll instantly know which one will be closed down.

St. Pete is no longer around to protect LANL.

Anonymous said...

LANL essentially gets rewarded for screwing up. They will survive the long haul. LLNL doesn't have significant snm operations to deal with. Plus, much of LANL's problems stem from incompetent Livermorons with no experience in experiments or operations taking over the place and driving it to ruin. LANL has a mission and can be fixed. LLNL has no real reason to be around, since the other labs can easily handle their work.

Anonymous said...

"LANL's problems stem from incompetent Livermorons"?

I know that gets said a lot on this blog, but it's revisionist history. The calendar tells you it isn't true. LANL's problems started way before LLNL folks got shipped down there. In fact, they were shipped down there BECAUSE of LANLs problems.

You're looking at this like a scientist, not a politician. LANL was responsible for the problems that triggered privatization. And from the politician's viewpoint, even THAT hasn't helped LANL fall into line. There's only one remedy left. And it's not even that painful, since there's a perfectly capable, and well-behaved, LLNL that can easily pick up the slack.

Anonymous said...

LANL's "problems" are mostly convenient fictions - non missing non-disks, phony mustangs, innocent "spies", kitty litter "explosions", cowboys, buttheads, and C-students. Meanwhile, the anointed Livermore managers have run the place into the ground for real at taxpayer expense.

Anonymous said...

UC should boot the 3 Bechtel members off of the executive committee of the LLNS Board of Governors, and replace them with 3 UC appointees.

June 10, 2014 at 1:38 PM

So you think UC can unilaterally ignore or change the LLNS charter? Heh Heh, that's what corporate lawyers are for. And Bechtel has a lot more of them than UC. Dream on...

Anonymous said...

LANL's "problems" are mostly convenient fictions - non missing non-disks, phony mustangs, innocent "spies", kitty litter "explosions", cowboys, buttheads, and C-students.

June 11, 2014 at 7:41 PM

If by "innocent spies" you mean Wen Ho Lee, you are very wrong. Guilt was never proven in court. Neither was innocence. That's why "not guilty" verdicts are not "innocent" verdicts. The case was not proven because the bulk of the evidence was never presented.

Anonymous said...

"If by "innocent spies" you mean Wen Ho Lee, you are very wrong. Guilt was never proven in court. Neither was innocence. That's why "not guilty" verdicts are not "innocent" verdicts. The case was not proven because the bulk of the evidence was never presented.

June 11, 2014 at 8:36 PM"

Or maybe the evidence never existed. The whole thing was a total sham, and no you do not have insider information.

Be that as it may LANL is indeed the problem lab. Someone pointed out that the only thing that matters is perception and LANL loses every time. If you say not-guilty means not innocent than indeed the person was guilty and the LANL should be closed down for being a bunch of cowboys. It all makes so much sense and it is the perception so it is true. I think a better solution is to shut all the labs down, they are all riddled with problems and it is clear that we can no longer manage them. It would be better to shut them down now before something else happens. It would save a lot of taxpayer money that could be used for something usefll.

Anonymous said...

LLNL can't pick up the slack if LANL is downsized. SNM operations are pretty much gone at LLNL. What's LLNL got? The NIF white elephant and a whole bunch of people who run codes day and night over and over for their entire career. These people are so reliant on code to justify their existence. Take a few of there types, ship them down to LANL and make one a director.... Hey let's see that guy solve lanl's problems. Ha!!!

Anonymous said...

Neither LLNL or LANL will be necessary as America unilaterally disarms. Read the news and see the path our leader in the White House is taking us toward.

Both LLNL and LANL will continue to shrink and no one in positions of power will give a cold bucket of spit about it. That's the reality, like it or not.

Anonymous said...

One possibility, LLNL focuses on NIF (it is not going away, folks) and other lasers for HEDP, GS projects, and nuclear design work for GS, and LANL focuses on bombs and relevant tests in Nevada. Both labs would be transformed and would have to reduce scope and duplication, and there would be mighty resistance, but it would make some sense and enhance efficiency. Which means, it won't happen.

Anonymous said...

"...as America (sic) unilaterally disarms..."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered

" This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime."

He's a lame duck. Both labs will outlive this fleeting thought.

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