requires good facilities and adequate resources, and operating processes that do not impede the ability of those scientists and engineers to perform at their highest levels. Management controls these conditions, and this report evaluates the quality of the laboratories’ management, at all levels, by its success in providing these prerequisites for high-quality S&E.
Because of this high-level view of management’s role with respect to the quality of S&E, the study committee saw no distinction between management of the laboratories’ work for NNSA (roughly, Task 4) and their work for other entities (Task 5). Therefore, the discussion and recommendations in this report generally apply to the laboratories’ S&E work across the board.
The study committee examined the substantial body of relevant work that has been undertaken over the past 10-15 years (see Appendix C). The nuclear testing moratorium, the Stockpile Stewardship Program, the operational problems at LANL, and the change in M&O contractors at LANL and LLNL stimulated a number of major studies, some of which are presented and discussed in Appendix C. These studies contain much valuable research and insightful analysis, but each is a product of the specific time and issue(s) that stimulated it and the situation at the laboratories has been evolving. Accordingly, in accordance with the SOT that requested an evaluation of the current situation and in consultation with sponsors (NNSA and congressional committee staff), the study committee took its task to be to take a fresh look at the management of these laboratories in 2011 through the perspectives of the study committee members, and not to extend, critique, or update previous work or to provide a scorecard of the implementation of earlier findings and recommendations.
The study committee also examined the most recent available M&O contracts, performance evaluation plans (PEP), performance evaluation reports (PER), contract management plans, parent organization oversight plans, and other similar documents for each of the three laboratories (see Appendix D).
The study committee assimilated and analyzed this information to develop a detailed understanding of the current state of governance and management, and of the conditions under which science and engineering are conducted at the three laboratories, within the relevant historical context with particular—but not exclusive—emphasis on those matters that have been affected by the changes in M&O contractors at LANL and LLNL. The study committee focused on the interactions among government agencies (especially NNSA and the DOE site offices), the M&O contractor organizations, laboratory management, and research staff at the laboratories.
Portions of each meeting and site visit were devoted to closed sessions, at which its members deliberated on their findings, conclusions, and recommendations, which are presented in this report. In arriving at its findings and recommendations, the study committee applied its collective judgment to determine the consistency, credibility, and implications of the information it had gathered. Based on this process, the study committee developed an informed consensus regarding facts, significant perceptions among staff and management, and problems that are real and significant. Trends and implications that might affect future quality of science and engineering at the laboratories were identified, as was the role of management in these trends. As it identified trends and problems, the study committee strove (in keeping with the study task) to identify the degree to which each of those could be associated with the change in M&O contractors at LANL and LLNL.
Chapter 2 of this report provides a discussion of the effects of the contracts on the management of S&E at LLNL and LANL. Comparisons are made to SNL, which has had the same M&O contractor since 1993.5Chapter 3 presents the study committee’s assessments of the evolution of the mission of the NNSA laboratories and the management and performance of research in support of the missions, and the relationship between the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program and the
5 SNL has been managed by the Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, since 1993.