Thursday, February 15, 2007


John Pedicini, Principal RRW Bomb Designer, Speaks

[This letter to Pat, the Dog, from John Pedicini is one of the most important (along with the article about Joe Martz) on this blog to date. It speaks to the future of Los Alamos National Lab, NNSA, DOE, and even our sister lab, LLNL. For those of you who don't know, John Pedicini is one of those LANL staff members whose word carries real weight; both here at Los Alamos, and in Washington, DC. Be assured that his comments here will not go unnoticed. -Neither here, nor in DC. (For an official LANL-sponsored view of RRW, click on the title.)]



I never expected to be the subject of comment in the blog, however I noticed the discussion on RRW and management support while searching the web for information on RRW. Note that I write this as a private citizen and not as a representative of LANL or LANS.

The quotes of mine are accurate, but dated. The outcome of RRW and actual management support thereof are facts not yet fully in evidence. Ultimately the outcome of this competition may be the decisive factor in the upcoming RIF decisions.

Multiple highly placed sources, with ranks into sub-cabinet level, in 5 separate organizations have told me and/or the LANL RRW team that we won the RRW technical competition. Senatorial language prohibits outcome based upon anything but technical merit. This win occurred, despite LANL being severely restricted on what information we could present. These restrictions were particularly constraining in adequately presenting our case to the SAGSAT. The LANL team performed magnificently, despite the uneven playing field, and in this regard I could not be happier.

After the technical competition, there was a directive from the NWC for the lab directors and NNSA to come back with a plan of cooperation between the labs. This was to include examination of a hybrid design. Director Anastasio's confidence in the LANL RRW design is, perhaps, best illustrated by the fact that he declined detailed technical briefings of the sort received by the LLNL director.

Director Anastasio and his senior managers have assured me and the LANL RRW team in many venues that LANS did not take a dive, did not stab the LANL RRW team in the back, and were fully supportive of the design and team. Asking again at the all hands meeting, absent additional facts would be redundant. Currently, it is not unreasonable to take management statements at face value. At a minimum, LANS management is smart enough to know that word parsing would destroy their credibility.

The rumors that the NWC directive was turned into an opportunity for private contractors to override the POG technical decision also seem somewhat hard to credit. LANS, and soon to be LINS, are private contractors under the UC umbrella, and RRW is a weapons purchase. Under DOD contracting rules, I cannot fathom Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrup-Grumman etc being granted such latitude. UC doing so during a time of intense scrutiny would certainly redefine arrogance.

All that remains to judge LANS by, is the result. If LANL wins, we were not stabbed in the back. I am anxiously awaiting the results and any explanations thereof. We can then all judge for ourselves whether the reality speaks differently than the words. Note that the recent security hearings are a wild card whose influence I cannot gauge.

I had hoped to see the revolutionary advances in safety and security achieved by the LANL RRW team highlighted in answer to the legitimate question posed by Representatives Stupak and Barton about what can be done only at LANL. Experiments supported by simulations have unambiguously shown that the LANL design will perform as advertised, LLNL "peer review" notwithstanding. No competing design has been shown to meet the same standards. Hostility to the LANL advances in safety and security are another puzzle to me, as safety and security were not only the top priorities in the RRW competition but also the topic of the recent congressional hearings. In this regard, I am somewhat less than satisfied.

As some of you may know, I have championed the cause for RRW for more than 15 years, yet there are ways to fail at this endeavor. A hybrid design by inexperienced personnel, managed by committee, is not the best approach, and even provoked negative comment at the JASON review. The best appellation I have seen for such an approach is "frankenbomb." That said, there are some features of the LLNL design that are an advance over ours, and if we get the assignment, I would incorporate them in our design. If this is what is meant by hybrid, then the outcome would be good.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

You may sign my name as I stand by what I say. In this case I will take the LANS management claims of no retaliation at face value. In the worst case I am used to being retaliated against for blowing the whistle on national security issues.

Multiple ADC reviews have shown this letter to be unclassified.

--John M. Pedicini



"The Committee expects the initial RRW design approved by the Department to be selected based on a combination of considerations, including the ability to certify the warhead without underground nuclear testing, cost production and ease of maintenance and dismantlement. The Committee would oppose the use of workload leveling among the labs as a factor in any design selection decision. The design teams at both Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have worked extremely hard on their respective designs with the expectation that the best design would be selected. Any selection that isn't decided purely on merits would be a disservice to the Department of Defense, the RRW design teams and the NNSA."

Thank you for the update. I saw some of the early briefings on the LANL design and was very impressed with how well thought-out it was. Could you set up a classified debrief on the presentations for an upcomig WWG?
From an Anonymous contributor, with a slightly more conspiratorial view than Pedicini's generous take on the RRW competition:


There is a conspiracy, and Anastasio, Brooks, Crandall, D’Agostino and others have their filament woven into the immoral fiber of the weave.

Back in 1997 when the GALVIN committee published their study on the size of the Nuclear Weapon Complex, they recommended closing one of the two Physics Labs, pointing out that one is enough. Shock at LLNL, LLNL would be shut down--immediately LLNL’s top brass, including Anastasio (who was an sub-Associate Director at LLNL) formulated a long range plan to save LLNL. The plan was to solicit high levels of DOE (later to become NNSA) with suggestions (nagging) until DOE thought it was their idea; the plan would be as follows:

1. LLNL was short on weapon types so they would go after LANL’s W76 (the Navy would not deal with LLNL because they can’t trust them, even to this day); if they could get the W76 then they would be equal to LANL in types of weapons and have at least one Navy system.
2. They would holler that peer review was the most essential DSW requirement from an independent sister Lab. (LLNL would have another mission.)
3. They would go big time after NIF, if DOE & Congress spent so much money on NIF then they couldn’t shut down LLNL. (LLNL needs a big science magnet)
4. They would help SNL get the MESA facility (SNL needs an engineering magnet) and
5. They would then promise to LANL the advanced hydro facility. (Where is the magnetism?)
6. LLNL suggested to DOE (later to become NNSA) that LANL’s security was bad, kept nagging, until NNSA was convinced; even LANL believed it; everyone realized that LANL had security problems and safety problems (this is a win-win for LLNL), and the national media took this up rather quickly and are still running with this one, talk about true lies!

LLNL was unsuccessful in getting the W76, so they turned their attention towards LANL’s W80 (AF system would have to do) and were successful in transferring it to LLNL along with hundreds of millions of LEP dollars that would have otherwise come to LANL. NNSA kept promising LANL the advanced Hydro Facility.

Well guess what?, LLNL got NIF (and the W80), Sandia got MESA and LANL got demonized, but no advanced hydro facility.

The new deal. NNSA (D'Agostino) picked a much hyped LANs package over LOCK-MART; Anastasio, Knapp and McMillan came to LANL from LLNL to help seal the new covenant (with a safety net from UC to get back to LLNL after two years). Here is how it seems to be this time:

1. LANL’s top primary physics designers came up with the RRW concept and sold it to Congressman Hobson, but the in the new deal there would be a competition for the design by both Labs.
2. LANS's bid for LANL included a (secret) combining of both LANL and LLNL labs which would assure LLNL remains open.
3. Even though the top review committee picked LANL’s RRW design over LLNL’s because of technical merit, D’Agostino’s NNSA (yes, Anastasio too) wants to divide the RRW design between both Labs to keep the plan.
4. LLNL becomes the smart design Lab and LANL becomes the production pit Lab.
5. Blame the “blemished ” scientists at LANL; you heard it this week from Bodman and Brooks. (How come Anastasio hasn’t come to the rescue of the LANL scientists? Perhaps he’s the one telling Bodman that it’s the scientists, not the management, to save his own skin and to keep the plan alive.

Problems? The brainy X-division designers smelt a skunk (demons may indeed be able to smell really well). They protested the RRW indecision to Anastasio. Why wasn’t he backing LANL’s design? Where is his loyalty? Why is he still loyal to LLNL’s design? (Oh, a secret deal.) X-division met with Anastasio; he seemed to calm them down. (Or did he?)

OK, but then this new security incident flamed up under Anastasio’s watch--who to blame? Congress is peeved--who to blame? New problem--LANs might not get the LLNL contract in April, could it be Grumman? Who gets to pick--why, it’s D’Agostino again--who do you think he will pick? Congress is watching. Can they be fooled again? Wait, blame it all on the spoiled scientists; that strategy might work.

It’s sad that this feral bunch of managers can bring down what used to be an exceptional institution and still make everyone think that it’s the scientists that are the demons.

Anastasio’s silence is deafening; a virtuous Lab Director would back his scientists. Do tell, who thoroughly smells like sulfur now?

This is all very revealing. It appears that we have traitors to LANL in our very midst. Perhaps we even saw one of them giving a meeting to LANL staff last Monday?

Just when you think things at LANL couldn't possibly get any worse, they get worse. At least the pieces to this puzzle are starting to come together to give us all a clearer picture of what is really going on behind our backs.
Jeeze, guys, let's quit dancing around it. LANL won the RRW competition, but Anastasio intervened and is trying to give some or all of the work to LLNL.

There, how do you like our cuddly little Ewok now?
I guess you could call LANS the "shutdown crew" for LANL. Bechtel will operate the new pit production facilities, while most of the critical science projects will be transferred over to LLNL by our faithful LANS/LLNL executives. It will be necessary to ensure that LANL doesn't receive the RRW prize so that our funding can drop even further in FY08 and, thus, begin the multi-year downsizing efforts at LANL.

The really painful part of all this is that LANS may be a partner to the scheming to help destroy the LANL workforce. LANS' "no RIFs, no plans for a RIF" message may be part of a big, evil lie.
Poster of 11:50 AM is starting to connect the dots.

Now to wrap a nice, shiny ribbon around it, this is why LANS 'won' the contract. This is what DOE and NNSA (and Congress) want -- a much-reduced role for LANL. LANS got the LANL contract because LANS agreed to help make the plan happen. Everybody wins: DOE & NNSA get their new pit production facility, LLNL gets all the science, Congress doesn't need to fuss about those arrogant scientists at LANL any more.

Oops, what about those arrogant scientists at LANL? Well, almost everybody wins, I guess.

It's no wonder Mikey was so pissed at Mitchell. Mitchell's screw-up almost threw a wrench into the works. By committing such a large, potentially visible fuck-up that Congress might actually have to act on their (to-date) empty threats to pull LANS's contract, Mitchell put the plan in jeopardy. The solution, of course, is to cover up the fuck up.

Voila! Plan intact.

Good job, Mike.
Wow, this is such a great conspiracy thread. You guys should be turning this into a book, movie, or soap opera. Something with a more productive outcome......
I agree with you, 1:37 PM, about the productive part. That is, if you define "productive" as having any hope of making improvements to the situation. There is no hope for that -- the situation is locked and the progression of events from this point on will likely be as described above: reduced scope of responsibilities for LANL, increase for LLNL.

On the other hand, I feel it is quite productive to bring to light the true motivations behind these changes. When you stop to think about it, all of the "conspiracy" explanations that have been presented to date hold together pretty well. They make perfect sense, in fact. Mitchell really was an arrogant bastard, for example, and the sequence and timing of his abrupt departure fits nicely with the popular explanation that he got caught with classified material at home.
The post by Pedicini and the Anon comment at 8:16AM are very powerful. Both should be sent to our entire Congressional delegation to make them aware of the planned political destruction of LANL by the conspiracy of Anastasio, Brooks, Crandall, D’Agostino, and Bodman. And notifying the wire services should also happen.
VERY righteous, 3:46 PM. Good plan, too, except for one little flaw.

That being: Congress is perfectly happy with LANS, and their plan to downsize LANL and ship as much scientific programmatic work as they can off to LLNL. Except for PU pit production, of course.

Other than that, your suggestion that we all write Congress about the outrageous goings-on regarding LANL is a WONDERFUL plan.
Everybody seems to presume LANL will even have the pit production facility. Where did we get THAT idea? The Complex 2030 initiative currently being bantered about at DOE is yet to be published in its entirety and the word leaking out is "LANL is not the place". Our own senators are on record late last year having said Los Alamos is "probably not the best place for a consolidated pit production complex - it is too close to populated areas and landlocked between the canyons and mesas".

The real hint will be if the SFE phase(special facility equipment) and nuclear facility phase (currently in preliminary design) of the CMR Replacement Project continue to get funded - if not it is because these will not be needed at LANL if the long term pit production goes somewhere else...that's the barometer - watch for it! Perhaps the only future for LANL is environmental cleanup...
Boy, wouldn't *that* fry Bechtel's ass. They won the LANL contract on the promise to shut down all non-pu production work, only to end up not even getting that.
LANS management ought to be scared witless about technical leaders like Martz and Pedicini being willing to speak as "individuals" without seeking the imprimatur of the LANL spin machine.

Rumor has it that even Admiral Butthead voted for LANL's design on technical merits. One can only hope that, if the betrayal of the LANL RRW team by its own management is fulfilled, Barry Hannah will opt not to buy the winning Livermore design for his sub fleet.
I suspect that LANS management isn't too worried. They seem to believe their high-level sponsors will protect them. These sponsors include, of course, NNSA, who picked LANS to run LANL; DOE, who blames all of LANL's problems on the arrogant scientists who work here, but not the fresh new LANS management team who will whip us into shape, and even Congress, who would simply like LANL to go away. Congress should be viewed as an especially strong backer of LANS, as they have had ample opportunity to terminate the LANS contract for cause, but have chosen not to do so.

Rather, thanks to Mike's playing of excerpts of the Congressional hearings to staff at the recent all-hands meeting, Congress is now the source of motivational material which encourages LANS to whip us arrogant scientists into submission.
It would appear that the the proverbial "smoke filled room" is, indeed, very smokey. Hidden agendas and secretive actions may be going on behind our backs, even in regards to RRW. I'm finding it harder and harder to trust almost anything LANS' executive team is telling us. I also find great concern in the fact that LANS now control our TCP1 pension and benefits. Are these guys worthy of our trust? I'm not so sure anymore. The huge salary perks and special executive deals that LANS set up for their buddies were only the initial danger signs. Perhaps that cute, fuzzy ewok is wearing a mask that hides his true identity -- that of Darth Vader.
Let's not forget that John is a Laboratory Fellow. This will likely matter not when the LANs bullies go about their punitive ways. John Pedicini and Joe Martz should be thanked as courageous leaders who spoke up for what is right. They are a bright light in a very dark place. I doubt however that the discussion will go this way as they undertake the dubious task of how to deal with Joe and John.

Let’s see, we have a team that manages by stranglehold and highly controlled communication (some day after I see how Joe and John are treated, I may provide more specific information here). You have two of the brightest minds in the land who question what appears to be, at best a misguided waste of taxpayer money, and at worst an illegal contract selection. Now it looks to me like Mikey and the gang are between a rock and a hard place. They surely did not think that the yahoos at LANL actually have pride in their work and integrity (to some perceived as arrogance). They darn sure would like to fire Joe and John for insubordination, but that would be a lawsuit that might eat into the scrumptious award fee. So, we better not go there.

What then to do with these two loose cannons? I know let’s press on with the plan to sell out LANL (along with the community and Northern NM) and see if we can drive morale further into the ground. BTW did I hear right in the congressional testimony that Mikey said morale at the Lab was improving? Then Joe, John and the rest of the creative genius behind the Los Alamos RRW design will leave of their own volition. Two LANs problems solved, one giant problem created for the Nation’s nuclear stockpile. Nuclear weapon design (and stewardship for that matter) is an art form and John Pedicini is one of the last of the true designers. Not to worry though, LLNL and their infallible computers will save the day for us. That you can take to the bank. Hey, I am seeing another way to accomplish disarmament. It’s the opposite of Joe’s virtual stockpile, just transform by driving away anyone who has any experience with nuclear weapons. Then after a while, we won’t even know if the pointy end of the bomb should be at the front or the back. To those who have been saying LANs has no plan, I think we just weren’t thinking in the right dimension.

Here is what I don’t understand. After they rape and pillage this place and take all the treasures back to California, what will become of them? If Northrup takes the LLNL contract, then I guess Robin Hood and the gang are martyrs for the cause. While we will be stuck regardless, this sure would be a sweet moral victory for us downtrodden. I am praying for Northrup.

Now, I must get something else off my chest. I believe that nearly all (with the exception of perhaps 2) of the LANs ADs live off the hill. Most of them also live in rented property. Then, you follow one of these guys in in the morning and notice that they still have California license plates on their cars. Hmm? Meanwhile, I have a house that is now worth far less than when I bought it. I would take my 20 + years of weapons experience and leave if I were not stuck with an overpriced house. Maybe I need to cut my losses and go anyway. This makes my eyes bleed.

This is a sad, sad time in my treasured Los Alamos home of nearly 50 years. Has anyone experienced a darker time?
re: 2/15/2007, 9:19, If you're praying for Northrup to win LLNL to punish them, it is probably a valid plan. Friends at Nevada Test Site tell me that things are not going well there - morale down, concerns for the future up, attrition up, etc. Northrup apparently didn't send in a Northrup team and has little to no true corporate visibility there.
Sounds like you guys are getting pillaged by the CEO class along with the rest of the American workforce. Don't look to the Federal prosecutor locally to take a serious look at any evidence you've got that this contract award process was in fact an organized criminal conspiracy. Bush has been sacking US attorneys without cause and replacing them with political lackeys. NM is not a Republican state, even more so now with Richardson running, sp why should the BushCo crime syndicate give a rotten tamale about it after all the extractable cash has been pocketed by the Beltway Bandits of LANS? If they want to put a pit factory at LANL, who is going to stop them? Learn to bend over and polish the boots of your betters. Who is going to stop them? Certainly not the law (remember Unitary Executive?), certainly not the people (he's The Decider!). Wake up, America. You've been conned by the Neocons.
2/15/2007 9:19 PM said:
"This is a sad, sad time in my treasured Los Alamos home of nearly 50 years. Has anyone experienced a darker time?"

How about in 1942, when the original 30+ homesteading families of the Los Alamos plateau had their lands taken from them by force, many without even being compensated, none being compesated fairly for their homes, crops and orchards that were bulldozed into oblivion in the process, or their personal possessions that were strewn around and trampled into the dirt to discourage their return, not to mention their livestock that was shot, wells polluted and grazing rights removed permanently. I'd say that was pretty dark day for those original residents of the Los Alamos plateau, wouldn't you? Oh excuse me, but we're not supposed to talk about that. That's classified.

"The Committee expects the initial RRW design approved by the Department to be selected based on a combination of considerations, including the ability to certify the warhead without underground nuclear testing, cost production and ease of maintenance and dismantlement. The Committee would oppose the use of workload leveling among the labs as a factor in any design selection decision. The design teams at both Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory have worked extremely hard on their respective designs with the expectation that the best design would be selected. Any selection that isn't decided purely on merits would be a disservice to the Department of Defense, the RRW design teams and the NNSA."
I have on very good authority the Adm. Nanos has been very, very supportive of LANL in general and LANL RRW specifically in a number of official and unnofficial meetings. Interesting, and worth a few minutes thought. We sometimes forget the real world is not binary.
Yes, Former Director Nanos was very supportive of LANL when he was Director Nanos.

/Sarcasm Off/

You will just have to pardon my scepticism.
Congress' twisted take on recent events out here probably goes something like this:

* LANL employees stoled $90,000 of unprotected copper? LANL is full of crooks and the lab does nothing to stop it!


* LANL's top weapons designers are spouting off to the news media and blogs? This is a danger to US national security. Why can't these arrogant LANL scientists be kept on a short leash by LANS management?


* LANL dumped important health records down a radioactive waste hole? It's going to cost $9 million to retrieve them? It's more of the same stuff -- arrogant and stupid attempt by LANL staff to cover up facts.


I could go on, but you get the point. Nothing LANL does will ever be right in the eyes of Congress. They will interpret whatever goes on out here in the worst possible light. It doesn't matter what we say or do from this point onward. We'll always have Congress ranting and raving and saying, "I've had just about enough of you arrogant butt-head scientists out there in Los Alamos! SHUT THE PLACE DOWN!!!". And they will. Eventually.

At best we are destined to become a plutonium pit factory, and at worst a ghost town. The saddest part about all this is that, in truth, I don't think LANS management really cares what happens here at LANL. The LANS executive team knows they all have free tickets back to California. If the workers out in New Mexico get screwed to the wall, it won't hurt the lifestyles of the LANS executve team.

We don't share much common destiny with our new masters. Terry and Susan may live on the Hill, but the rest of the LANS staff didn't even bother to become a part of our town's community. As bad as Nanos was, at least he bought a big house here. Sig was also an important member of this town's community. The current crop of LANS managers apparently don't give a damn about this town or it's citizens. If Congress says, "SHUT THE PLACE DOWN!!!", they will gladly comply and then high-tail it out to lucrative positions which UC has waiting for them over at LLNL or LBL or UCOP.

If you think UC abandened New Mexico's workers during the last twenty years, you ain't seen nothing yet. I hope all those folks who were estatic over UC's win of the contract are now getting the full picture of where we stand in relation to our new LANS management.
Comments about LANS support for both LANL and New Mexico, or lack thereof, remind me of that old saying:

"The chicken was involved with my lovely ham-and-egg breakfast, but the pig, he was truly committed."
Anonymous @ 2/16/2007 1:11 PM mentioned that Sig and Nanos lived on the hill and were supportive.

Yes, that is correct. But, s/he forgot John Browne. Browne was fired because he stood up to the DOE.
John, we, many people, deeply respect your leadership,integrity, and great contributions to the national security. Your service to the country will be greatly appreciated. As far as I know, Adm Nanos is very supportive to LANL.
Regarding the comment of 2/16/2007 3:05 PM: I feel obliged to point out that praise from former Director Peter G. Nanos is far from reassuring. It is more like guilt by association.

Nanos was almost perfectly incompetent as director of LANL. In all likelihood, it would not be humanly possible for a person to be more incompetent in that position as he was. He was an unmitigated disaster.

On top of that, he was an abusive screamer. Arrogant. Rude. Disrespectful. I was never so glad to see anyone leave LANL as I was when Nanos skulked out of town.

Whoever you are, 3:05 PM, you are not doing John Pedicini any favors by claiming that former LANL Director Nanos is in his camp.
3:17 may not like the perceived "guilt by association" with Nanos, but when it comes to LANL winning RRW, and Nanos being one of those who votes...who cares? He' gone from here, but during these times we need a success, wherever we can get it.
What does this mean?


"... The Committee would oppose the use of workload leveling among the labs as a factor in any design selection decision. "
You're failing to see the value of Nanos's support of the LANL RRW design. Whatever the New Mexicans think of the man, he is still liked and respected in Washington and if he, who has every reason on the planet to trash Los Alamos and its people, is willing to say "their design is superior" then that will carry a great deal of weight.

Of course, no amount of technical expertise can offset the sad truth that whenever the two designs are discussed Livermore has two directorial representative in the room and LANL has none.
2/16/2007 4:46 PM

So are you saying that you believe LANL will get RRW and NOT LLNL, or, is LANL only going to be PIT Facility and maybe possibly get the new Bio Lab that Tracy, Ca city is rejecting? I thought I read somewhere that the people in Washington said RRW was to much of a risk to have at LANL because of the massive security vilations over the years.
Just to clarify for the 5:58pm poster... the effort to get a US Homeland Security Dept Bio defense facility at LLNL's Site 300 is a UC led project not DOE (if anything they're strongly against it since its not nuke weapons or energy related and their paper pushing bureaucrats won't be able to steal the credit for the work done in the facility)... UC is doing this for two very specific reasons - DOE is moving to close Site 300 (check the LLNL RFP which explicitly stated in Appendix B Statement of Work; "Closure of Site 300. If directed by NNSA, the Contractor shall support the closure of Site 300.") ... and UC wants more work/top researchers to UC Davis (one of the top agricultural research schools in the country) and the new UC Merced campuses... so there's no chance/interest in the facility gong to LANL. While the facility is projected to have 300+ staff, most would be UCD or UCM staff working at the facility and not current LLNL staff... basically UCD (as the subject matter experts) would be operating the facility on LLNL property with LLNL providing infrastructure (maintenance, plant services, heavily armed guards, etc.)... and while the Tracy City Council vote 4 to 1 against the proposal the San Joquin County Board of Supervisors voted to support it.
I also must weigh in on Dr. Nanos' support of Los Alamos and the RRW design. While you can debate what happened while he was director (seems to me that is water under the bridge), there is no question that without Pete's support, the debates about who won may not be so clear. Rembember, the RRW is for the Navy, an Admiral Nanos has a long history there. It might be time to back off on the man and let him do what he can to brighten our RRW future.
With all due respect, John P., your dig at Livermore's "peer review" was totally wrong-headed. Livermore asked all the right questions and you gave them all the wrong answers, because you had some preconceived notions about the Livermore review team and Livermore scientists in general. You might call it "frankenbomb" but a hybrid may just be the best possible outcome -- especially if this thing is never going to be tested.

For everyone else: this is the most generous Pedicini I've ever seen. Don't worry, Pedicini will never be "retaliated against" for expressing his opinion, because everyone from the Director on down has been scared shitless of Pedicini for the last 25 years. He'd probably get another "top secret black" assignment (i.e., be sent back to his sandbox). That probably would be the best outcome too for everyone.
DOCTOR Nanos, my ass! The guy couldn't get his PhD work published for FIVE YEARS!

If Nanos does ANY good for Los Alamos, it is purely out of guilt or incompetence, which he has demonstrated abundantly! That he feels any remorse for the terrible things he did to Los Alamos is beyond belief!

Fie on his *good* deeds!
Looks like 2/17 2:06 pm is an LLNL sympathizer (or perhaps a LANL AD) fishing to see what life is going to be like when their gravy train goes away under privatization. Let me give you a hint, it sucks!
We should understand the NNSA conspiracy in play here...LLNL will be the design agency, science will leave the hill for other DOE labs (that are cheaper to operate) and LANL will be the production agency.

Without the RRW win, there is nothing else for the mistake by the bay to work on. A favorable LANL RRW decision would leave nothing for LLNL. A shutdown and savings to the treasury of billions aside.
And why is LANL so expensive to operate?
(1) Corporatization.
(2) Plutonium pit factory.
The "path forward" is clear; the only question is: Which path? Science or manufacturing (Rocky Flats South)?
Whatever the merits of Admiral Nanos as director, and opinions there will not change, that is not his current job on the RRW POG.

Remember that he is a retired military officer and his son is active duty. He will do what he thinks is in the best interests of National Security. His vote (LANL or LLNL) will be what he deems best and will not be swayed either way by personal peeves. He was also one of the earliest supporters of the RRW program while at SSP in the 90s.

The Navy, and particular the submarine service, have very bad memories of going to war with inferior or faulty weapons. For example one should study the record of the USS Houston and other allied treaty cruisers against those of the IJN in WW2. Another example would be the Mk XIV torpedoes, also from WW2. This is the mind set of the Navy. Political games in DC are not likely to be thought well of by the Navy.

I do not know the actual POG members votes, only the total. I can guess most of them but will not do so publicly.

John M. Pedicini

This is a reply to 2/17/2007 4:18pm post under my original comments.

The post you refer to is likely to be a LLNL sympathizer. There is nothing wrong with that, this is a free country and various people are free to weight whatever they think is most important in the RRW decision. One of the higher level arguments being made in RRW is that it is necessary to keep the 2 lab system dynamic and that it is essential to get a LLNL weapon in Navy service for this reason.

History can frequently provide a guide to the future. For an example of how an AD treats LANL staff please refer to the following link to the LLNL Newsline:

Note that the many LANL staff on the other side of the issue do not agree with the description of events as given and one of them quotes the deceased scientist quite differently. I believe that Mike Anastasio was Director of LLNL at the time that this column from the Directors office was published. The column was published about 4 years ago and the events date back about 20 years.

Note also the lack of references to excretory deficits in the AD/Director level column.


John M. Pedicini
Someone cowering in anonymity wrote:

"You might call it 'frankenbomb' but a hybrid may just be the best possible outcome -- especially if this thing is never going to be tested."

That's imply not true. Pursuing a hybrid design is an utterly daft course of action. A primary is an integrated design, each component matched to its companions to make a single device. It's not like a car, where you can pick the cloth or leather interior, the sand or green paint job. You can certainly argue that a feature present on one design would be nice to have on a different design, but you don't just slap it on there. The product has to be redesigned so that the integrated whole has what you wanted.

And that brings us to the frankenbomb. Both LANL and LLNL have done their best work and produced independent, integrated designs. I've not been privy to any of the engineering, the reviewing, and certainly not the politicking, but I can say that if the frankenbomb/hybrid argument is selected, then NNSA will have wasted the preceding two efforts and will be starting fresh with a laundry list of features -- which is exactly where we were two years ago. "We want a device that offers X, Y, and Z." Yeah, great...we just did that.
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