Los Alamos, NM--Budget cuts and suppressed attrition rates require Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and develops technologies to reduce threats and solve global problems, to reduce its workforce by 400-800 employees to avoid mandatory layoffs.
Charlie McMillan, LANL director, said the Lab submitted a plan to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) proposing to reduce its workforce by between 400 and 800 employees this spring through a voluntary separation program. "We are taking these actions now in an attempt to reduce the risks of involuntary layoffs," McMillan said. "When combined with a suppressed attrition rate for the past three years, our current budget and future outlook require significant cost-cutting. The plan we’re submitting will position the Lab to continue executing our missions today and in the future." The plan must receive NNSA approval.
The factors that led to the action include the fact that its fiscal year 2012 budget is more than $300 million lower than 2011: $2.2 billion versus $2.55 billion; future budgets are expected to be flat or lower; and attrition has decreased in the past few years. "With a smaller workforce possessing the essential skills, we will be better positioned to deliver on current and future national security commitments. Allowing employees to apply for voluntary separation is a prudent step," McMillan said.
In addition, certain job functions are not included in the voluntary separation program. Also, some applications may be denied to maintain a sufficient level of skills. The Lab’s student programs will not be cut but will remain capped at 2011 levels. And a team of senior managers, formed in late 2011, will continue other aggressive cost-curbing measures.
LANL is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.