Tuesday, February 06, 2007
More Budget News
Don't you all worry, though. Mike will manage to put a positive spin on this in his upcoming all hands meeting.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Proposed Cuts May Hurt N.M. Labs
By John Arnold
Journal Northern Bureau
The Bush administration is proposing budget cuts that may threaten "the
long-term vitality" of New Mexico's national laboratories, Sen. Jeff
Bingaman, D-N.M., said on Monday.
Bingaman, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, plans
to call Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman before his committee this week to
explain the Department of Energy's $24.3 billion spending plan for 2007-08.
Although the 2008 proposal represents a slight increase over the
department's current spending, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories
would see significant cuts in weapons and science programs.
The proposed budget "invests in infrastructure and security at the labs
but takes away from science and engineering," Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.,
The Energy Department proposes spending $4.1 billion in New Mexico in
fiscal year 2008, down from $4.3 billion approved for the 2006 budget. (An
Energy Department budget for the current year has yet to be approved, so
spending is continuing at 2006 levels.)
Los Alamos' $1.8 billion budget would be reduced by about $24 million
overall, including a 6 percent cut in weapons programs.
Sandia's $1.4 billion budget would decline by nearly $120 million,
including a $77 million cut in weapons funding.
Although the Energy Department's budget for the American Competitiveness
Initiative— an effort to encourage scientific innovation— would increase by
$300 million, Sandia's science budget would be cut by 6 percent and LANL's
would remain flat.
"While I am glad to see the Office of Science's budget grow, I am
disappointed that our own outstanding labs will not be the beneficiaries,"
LANL spokesman Kevin Roark said Monday that Los Alamos National
Security, the company that manages the lab, has been anticipating a flat or
slightly reduced budget. But he noted that the spending plan still must work
its way through Congress.
"This is just the beginning of the budget process," Roark said. "So it
is way too early to tell what this initial budget would mean for Los
Los Alamos Study Group Executive Director Greg Mello on Monday
downplayed proposed cuts to Energy Department spending in the state, saying,
"Continued focus of attention on the DOE labs is exactly the wrong focus for
economic development in New Mexico."
Meanwhile, the Energy Department budget proposes to advance "Complex
2030," the department's plan to modernize and consolidate the nation's
nuclear weapons complex. Funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead, a new
nuclear weapon design meant to replace aging weapons in the existing
stockpile, would increase by $61 million over 2007 levels.
Overall, the Energy Department— through its National Nuclear Security
Administration— plans to spend $6.5 billion on weapons programs, up slightly
from the 2007 request.
At LANL, funding for plutonium pit manufacturing would increase by $14.5
million, environmental cleanup would get a nearly $50 million boost, and
security funding would increase by $45 million.
"This budget will help us expand our nation's scientific know-how,
protect generations from the dangers of our Cold War legacy, and safely and
reliably maintain our nation's nuclear weapons stockpile," Bodman said in a
But lab watchdogs criticized the plan, including cuts to programs meant
to ensure the reliability and extend the lifetimes of weapons in the
The Department of Energy is "betting the house" on the new Reliable
Replacement Warhead design, said Jay Coghlan of the group Nuclear Watch New
"This is folly, in my view. ... We're going to be betting our national
security on untested new nuclear weapons, rather than maintaining
extensively tested weapons," he said.
Santa Fe New Mexican
Budget trims lab funding
By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
February 6, 2007
President Bush's proposed budget would cut federal spending at Los Alamos
National Laboratory by nearly $18 million, or 1 percent, compared to the
2006 fiscal year.
The lab would receive $1.83 billion from the U.S. Department of Energy in
the 2008 fiscal year, according to the president's budget request to
Congress, released Monday. That's less than the roughly $1.85 billion that
the lab got in the 2006 fiscal year.
New Mexico's senators, who run the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee, were not pleased with the president's proposal and vowed to
analyze the plan thoroughly.
"It underscores the increasing pressure on our federal budget," U.S. Sen.
Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said in a news release.
But he and U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M, said the budget will prompt no
job cuts at New Mexico labs. Domenici said he received assurance from
officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees
Congress did not pass most of the federal spending bills for the 2007 fiscal
year, which is why the 2006 number is being used for comparison. But the
president did send a budget request to Congress for 2007, and New Mexico's
senators said the labs got a cut compared to that spending plan, too.
Cuts, in comparison to 2007 budget requests, were proposed in weapons
activities, nuclear nonproliferation and advanced computing. Weapons
programs were cut 6 percent at Los Alamos and 8 percent at Sandia National
Laboratories, Domenici reported.
The Energy Department gave an overall increase to research and development
programs in the Office of Science, but Los Alamos stayed flat and Sandia saw
Programs to make plutonium pits, the triggers for nuclear weapons, saw an
increase at Los Alamos.
Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico said that increase, plus other
budget language, concerns him. He thinks Los Alamos could end up being the
country's permanent pit production center.
Money at Los Alamos is tight, and a new private contractor that manages the
lab already has announced several cost-cutting measures, such as layoffs to
contract workers and not filling the jobs of workers who retire or resign.
Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque also saw a proposed cut, from
$1.48 billion in 2006 to $1.27 billion in the 2008 proposal. And overall
Department of Energy spending in New Mexico was proposed at $4.08 billion in
2008, compared to $4.3 billion in 2006.
These cuts to New Mexico labs came despite an overall Department of Energy
budget that proposes to spend $24.3 billion, which is more than last year's
Increases in nuclear energy programs, such as the Global Nuclear Energy
Partnership, are included.
"We need to have a comprehensive approach to our energy challenges, using
all of the department's technology strengths," Bingaman said in a news
release. "I am concerned that some of the president's budget choices may
undermine our future energy security, and threaten the long-term vitality of
the New Mexico (Department of Energy) laboratories."
Los Alamos spokesman Kevin Roark said it's too early to speculate on how the
2008 budget would impact the lab specifically.
"We've been planning for flat or slightly declining budgets," Roark said.
"That's just been the trend" in recent years, he said.
Congress never passed a full budget for the 2007 fiscal year, and
negotiations in Congress are ongoing about how to pay for the rest of the
2007 fiscal year, which ends in October. In any case, it's expected to be
relatively flat and close to 2006 fiscal year numbers.
Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, which opposes nuclear weapons,
said the weapons budget is too big.
"At its present size, the warhead budget reflects pork-barrel interests
around the complex, as well as make work missions ... ," Mello said.
Mello also criticized Bingaman for "whining" over the loss of federal
dollars to New Mexico.
"(Department of Energy) dollars have not much helped New Mexico if at all,
and a continued focus of attention on the (Department of Energy) labs is
exactly the wrong focus for economic development in New Mexico," Mello said.
The lab's overall budget, which includes money from other agencies, is about
$2.2 billion. About 8,920 scientists and support staff work as permanent
employees for Los Alamos National Security LLC, the private company that
operates the lab for the government. Another 1,617 students and researchers
also work there, as well as roughly 2,500 contract workers.
At Los Alamos, 57 percent of the budget is spent on weapons work and 8
percent is spent on nuclear nonproliferation, Roark said, which refers to
efforts to keep nuclear materials accounted for.
Since taking over last June, managers of Los Alamos National Security have
been working to fill a $175 million budget shortfall, which stems from
higher taxes and employee costs, and a management fee to the company.
Lab Director Michael Anastasio has worked to avoid layoffs to the permanent
work force by announcing cuts in temporary contract jobs and by not filling
many jobs that come open when workers retire or resign.
Last fall when the layoffs were announced, then Deputy Director John
Mitchell revealed this insight about the lab budget to a group of small
"If you go back and look at the last five years, there's been a general
trend," Mitchell said. "The lab has increased its labor staff faster than
the budget has increased."
McCartin said Bingaman is not satisfied with the president's budget proposal
and that he would work to strengthen it.
U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., called the cuts "unfortunate."
He called for "a comprehensive approach to address our energy needs" and
said the lab could move the country in a new direction on energy with proper
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman noted an increase in alternative-fuels
research and doubling the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the
proposal, a "commitment to strengthen our nation's energy security by
diversifying our energy resources.
More incoming to the LANL "Green Zone". Duck and cover...
Proposed lab cuts concern Bingaman - ABQ Tribune
James W. Brosnan/Tribune Reporter
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
WASHINGTON — President Bush is proposing to cut funding at New Mexico's two national laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos, despite recommending overall increases in weapons and scientific research in his $2.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2008.
The budget, released Monday, would shave Department of Energy spending in New Mexico from the $4.3 billion appropriated for 2006 to about $4.1 billion, according to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Silver City Democrat. Overall energy spending, however, would increase from $23.5 billion to $24.3 billion.
Particularly hard hit would be defense weapons research at the laboratories - down 4 percent at Sandia and 11 percent at Los Alamos. It is the largest cut proposed for any of the eight laboratories and plants under the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an arm of the Department of Energy.
Despite the cuts, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the department's budget "fully supports our greatest asset, the operations of our scientific facilities."
Not necessarily in New Mexico, countered Bingaman. The Office of Science would see a 7.2 percent increase, but science funding at Los Alamos would be flat and at Sandia it would decline 6.2 percent, he said.
Bingaman said he fears the cuts "threaten the long-term viability of the New Mexico DOE laboratories."
Mike at next All-Hands:
Hey, folks. I've got some wonderful news to tell all of you. You're going to get some "extended" vacation. I by "extended", I mean a very, very long time.
It's not a RIF, though. Remember what I've been telling you all over and over again, "No RIFs, no plans for a RIF". Think of it as a gift.
It really wasn't all that difficult to see this one coming.
I observe the following in $K:
FY06 - 1,594.3
FY07 - 1,652.4
FY08 - 1,550.4
FY06 - 1,146.2
FY07 - 1,166.5
FY08 - 1,070.9
FY 06 - 1,341.2
FY 07 - 1,246.6
FY 08 - 1,144.0
Change from FY07-FY08
Seems fair to me.
Man, I really enjoy watching these guys playing LANS's hand for them.
The new budget calls for 4.1 billion, but there are 10,527 Fulltime Emloyees from last report. So, if you take 400,000 (FTE) times 10,527 you get a whopping 4,210,800,000.
So How on earth is this new budget going to satisfy the current work load?
It doesn't take a rocket scientists to figure this one out!
Can you start a new discussion topic entitled "How many Bechtel/other partner employees have joined your group since June 2006" (with classification if available (TSM, GL, Tech, etc.)? The New Mexican quoted LANS today as stating they are not replacing any employees who retire or resign. Let's see what our numbers show by group and then we will total up by directorate. I'm sure these numbers will be several hundred new employees added to the payroll.
-250 employees ! !
NOT -1600 employees, like some have predicted.
(Good news, except for the miserable 250.)
I agree it's not rocket science 5:06, but you still need to know what you're doing.
That was a PUN sentence!
here is what the budget shortfall is:
roughly 213 million...So where is LANS going to get the 213 million from??
Anyone???Its a question.....
hint: divide the 213 million by the FTE...this is your employee cutline!
Now second question: in business you can't operate this line of business with a cash break even point-----So where will the additional cuts come from?
If you are on workforce mobility, please send in details about your experience.
I say fat chance. If you don't take the first offer from the program you are ripe for the pink slip. LANS will have lived up to their part of the bargain.. they didn't rif you you, they found you a job, if you don't want it then there is the door.
Any truth to the rumor that any uncleared KSL folks are soon to be history, too?