LANL: Federal Budget Sequestration Update

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan sent the following memo to all LANL employees today regarding the sequestration action looming tomorrow:

Charlie McMillan

SUBJECT: Federal Budget Sequestration

We are now hours away from March 1, the day federal budget cuts are scheduled to take effect in an action called “sequestration,” and I wanted to keep you posted on where things stand here at Los Alamos.  

We will be in business as usual here tomorrow and next week. I will be at work and you should plan to be as well.

What remains uncertain is the final budget reduction numbers to each NNSA site. Once those numbers are shared with us, we will know which one or combination of options will make the most sense for the Laboratory. I remain convinced that a reduction of the permanent workforce here is not viable. However, further reductions in purchasing and subcontracts, use of carryover funds, and – as a last resort – short-term furloughs remain on the table.

As I have said in past messages, the actions we all have taken to control costs and spending over the past 16 months were in preparation for the funding reductions we have already seen and the uncertainty to follow. We’ve been told to expect further guidance from NNSA next week. As that comes in, I will update you.

In the meantime, pasted below is a message sent today from Acting Administrator Neile Miller to all NNSA federal employees. I ask that you continue to remain focused on executing our missions safely and securely during this difficult and uncertain time.

Neile Miller

Message From Acting NNSA Administrator Neile Miller

As you know, over the past few weeks the senior leadership team has been working very hard to implement cost cutting measures across the enterprise in order to mitigate the effects of sequester, should it occur. 

In addition, we are working closely with our lab and plant partners to assess potential impacts on those operations.

While we are doing everything we can to protect our workforce and our critical mission, there remains the possibility that furloughs of both Federal and contractor personnel may be required as a result of factors beyond our control. 

We are working to avoid or minimize furloughs of NNSA’s federal workforce to the extent possible. If we are faced with the need to furlough federal employees, we would notify employees as soon as that becomes a certainty. 

Official notification to Federal employees must be provided at least 30 days prior to implementation. 

Each NNSA Management and Operating contractor has developed plans to deal with sequestration impacts on the contractor workforce. 

We understand that contractors may need to take significant employment actions across the complex as a result of funding cuts.  

I understand that the uncertainties caused by this current budget crisis are upsetting. Be assured that to the extent possible I intend to minimize the impacts that budget cuts of the magnitude expected will have on our activities and employees. I will keep you apprised of the situation as we go forward.   

Neile Miller

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