Sunday, January 21, 2007
Limited Life Corporation
My canine intuition tells me that if the rumors indicating John Mitchell, that late but not lamented former Deputy Director of LANL did indeed get caught en flagrante delicto with classified material on his personal PC, then LANS, LLC stands a better than average chance at quickly becoming the latest former contractor of LANL. Perhaps the forthcoming set of hearings on LANL to be held by Congressmen Dingell and Stupak will shed light on this.
-Pat, The Dog
It’s extremely naïve to expect that Mr. Stupak’s hearings will “shed light” on LANL’s true problems. If you look back at the last several years, this guy and his friends in Congress have waged a vicious war on LANL. The only time Mr. Stupak sounded happy about things at LANL was when he heard about Nanos’ wave of terror. What tells you that Mr. Stupak is interested in anything like fixing LANL? LANL is in the hole largely because of politicians like Mr. Stupak, whose crusades in the name of security have nothing to do with the long term security of this Nation, and everything to do with scoring easy political points.
That other shoe is going to make one hell of a 'thump' when it finally falls, but in the mean time don't we deserve to be treated to the dulcet tones of more of Roark's sweet lies?
Man, this place really is going to hell if we can't even rely on the entertainment that LANL PA's spin machine usually provides.
Anyway, to think LANL could be run as a profitable business is amusing to say the least. The thought of LANL really competing with, say LLNL, Sandia and others for funding, is, shall we say, interesting.
It looks like around 45% (give or take a bit) of the folks at LANL are funded off of program taxes in one form or another, including G&A, org support, LDRD, and recharge.
I would suggest looking at the corresponding figures for other "corporations" before making a judgment on whether LANL, as currently structured, would be a profitable business model.
I was with you up until the "LANL is in the hole" part.
LANL is in the hole because LANL management has been pretty much complely incompetent for many years.
Having the incompetent DOE for a customer has not helped much either, but take a look in a mirror, pal.
There, you have just met LANL's worst enemy. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Where's Baghdad Bob when you really need him?
Los Alamos spokesman Kevin Roark said, however, that "John Mitchell's retirement has absolutely no connection to any security issues at the Laboratory."
What was management thinking, that they could cover up the alleged security violation? If the rumors about Mitchell turn out to be true, what are Mikey and the boys going to do then? Claim that they hadn't known about it? I don't think that will fly very far with Stupak and Dingell.
An estimate at the close of FY06 for the percentage of FTEs charging the tax generated accounts mentioned was about 50%, i.e., half the FTEs. A bit higher than 45%. It will be interesting to see what it is this FY.
Too many people want to go for a free ride on the LANL wagon and very few are willing to help pull it by bringing in new funding. I sometimes wonder -- exactly where do many of the people at LANL think the money for their salaries comes from? Do they think the US Government Men-in-Black come by and just dump the cash into LANL's lap. Maybe the NNSA Fairy puts the money under our pillows at night?
With our ultra-high FTE costs, it quickly become an almost hopeless tasks to bring in any new funding. Many TSMs who use to bring in funds are now without funding and are despondent over this situation. In most cases, these are people who don't like being a burden on their fellow staff members. But, with our ultra-high FTE costs, new policy burdens, and lack of meaningful support for the "support" side, these formerly productive TSMs will have only a slight chance of finding any new funding sources. They'll also be the first people to go when the RIF finally hits.
Soon enough, the LANL wagon will slowly grind to a halt. When it does, you can expect many of those who have been riding comfortable in the back of the wagon for a very long time to get mad as hell and demand that something be done about it. Perhaps the only solution at this time is to open the tailgate and begin to lighten the load. The first ones out the tailgate should probably come from the ranks of upper management and their bloated support staffs. Of course, that will never happen. If someone has a better solution, please let us all know about it. I getting mighty embarrassed asking sponsors to fork over $400 K per year to pay for my time. At that rate, just taking a crap on the toilet costs about $50 per flush.