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Monday, February 2, 2015

The broken NNSA laboratories

Yet another study on the broken NNSA laboratories

At least this group gets one part of the equation correct when it concludes that no other part of the executive branch wants to own the laboratories. Not DoD. Not DHS. Not the IC. Nobody. Period.

When it recommends that the labs remain in DoE, it does not make the case that they should stay there because that is where they belong; rather, they should not move simply because they are undesired elsewhere.

This leaves the labs in a position where it is hard to argue that they are special and should be treated differently in a budget cut. 

http://www.nap.edu/catalog/19326/aligning-the-governance-structure-of-the-nnsa-laboratories-to-meet-21st-century-national-security-challenges

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

All these study panels are worthless unless they result in something changing. Just like Wallace's "Strategic Outcomes Office," they consume resources and deliver squat to show for it.

Anonymous said...

As with all the other reports, this one runs on about how the laboratories are useful to national security work wider than just nuclear weapons. Take a look at Figure 1.1 to get some insight to which locations are doing broad national security work.


SNL 36% 907M
LLNL 18% 267M
LANL 9% 189M
NNSS 20% 98M


This is FY13 work for others, and LANL is falling way behind everyone else. Both LLNL and Nevada are double the LANL fraction, and SNL is triple it. The same data for FY11 were posted on this site a few years back and continue to indicate that SNL is widely used for a variety of projects beyond nuclear weapons. It would appear that LANL has significantly dropped in this area in the past couple years, due to lack of desire or competence, or both.

Anonymous said...

"It would appear that LANL has significantly dropped in this area in the past couple years, due to lack of desire or competence, or both."


Both are to blame. Mcmillan was clear when he took over that he only cared about 'his' annual letter. He made it obvious that he had no desire to pay attention to any other part of the lab, especially WFO. By putting Wallace in charge of this, he insured that his intended decline of WFO funding would take place. Otherwise he could have had someone competent running the area.

While LANL was dropping in WFO funding, both LLNL and SNL were growing it inside NNSA. Meanwhile, both PNNL and ORNL were also increasing WFO as DoE Laboratories. That leaves LANL in fifth place and still falling. By next year, even INL may be able to bring in more WFO than LANL.

Anonymous said...

If you want to do WFO, WTF are you doing working at a nuclear weapons lab??

Anonymous said...

Looks like 11:58 AM didn't get the memo about the future. Study after study has reported that the only reason to keep the three NW labs around is if they can contribute to other national security work. SNL is on firm ground, and LLNL also likely will get to hang around for a while longer. LANL, however, will turn into a nuclear weapon manufacturing plant, and the "laboratory" will shutter the doors.

Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking, February 5, 2015 at 4:23 PM. NNSA has already indicated their reluctance to increase, or even continue, WFO work at LANL and LLNL. Sandia has decided it wants to be independent from weapons work - a gutsy and ultimately self-defeating move on their part. You didn't answer the question: why work at a nuclear weapons lab if you want to do WFO? Answer: you can offer the sponsor free everything, paid for by NNSA. You are a prostitute with a very wealthy pimp.

Anonymous said...

"This is FY13 work for others, and LANL is falling way behind everyone else." (8:30 pm)


LANS have been working hard to kill off WFOs for years. Looks like they've had great success at it.

I even recall an "All Hands" by McMillan about two years ago were he all but came out and said that if the work being done at LANL didn't have the words "nuclear" associated with it, he didn't care about the work being performed at his lab.

The message has been very clear that LANS management does not want to be bothered with doing WFO projects. Your best option if you want to continue down this path is to look for an job opening down the road at SNL where WFO work is highly prized and well rewarded. At LANL, basing your career on WFO work is very risky and is a way to find you job quickly zero'ed out if your WFO funding ever disappears. You'll also find that the management culture at LANL tends to disparage staff who engage in WFO projects. It's not a good means for raising your annual salary.

Anonymous said...

"LANS have been working hard to kill off WFOs for years. Looks like they've had great success at it.

I even recall an "All Hands" by McMillan about two years ago were he all but came out and said that if the work being done at LANL didn't have the words "nuclear" associated with it, he didn't care about the work being performed at his lab."


Many of us recall that meeting, and his message was delivered loud and clear. "If what you do every day does not support my annual letter, then you are not needed at my Lab." Just take a look at what Mcmillan did with GS by putting it under Wallace. Wallace failed to deliver a new science building for LANL and he failed to deliver MARIE, but he did succeed in destroying WFO.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Looks like 11:58 AM didn't get the memo about the future. Study after study has reported that the only reason to keep the three NW labs around is if they can contribute to other national security work. SNL is on firm ground, and LLNL also likely will get to hang around for a while longer. LANL, however, will turn into a nuclear weapon manufacturing plant, and the "laboratory" will shutter the doors.

February 5, 2015 at 4:23 PM


This about describes the future for LANL. McMillan and Wallace have created a situation that has eliminated any alternative. The laboratory will go away, and the weapon manufacturing plant will remain.

Anonymous said...

The laboratory will go away, and the weapon manufacturing plant will remain.

February 9, 2015 at 6:55 AM

Yeah, well... I sorta recall the same argument when Rocky Flats closed and TA-55 started building pits. I guess you can't learn from history if you're too young to remember any.

Anonymous said...

11:23 might help all of us understand how many pits have been delivered in the past year from TA-55. The laboratory keeps getting in the way of the only reason the country still needs Los Alamos.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, pit production rates are classified.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, indeed..............

"The Laboratory has not resumed numerous operations in Technical Area 55 plutonium facilities after a self-imposed pause initiated in June of 2013. This delay impacted programmatic customers. Many operations are now categorized as “extended shutdown”, requiring federal readiness reviews prior to resumption of operations."

From the PER published by NNSA.

Anonymous said...

No comment.

Anonymous said...

Wallace failed to deliver a new science building for LANL and he failed to deliver MARIE, but he did succeed in destroying WFO.

February 6, 2015 at 8:42 AM

Hey come on, Wallace (through Chavez) has succeeded at performing the largest number of science-based transuranic exploding drum experiments in the history of man, without a viable explanation, and counting.

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