Friday, 06 Aug 1993 Washington, DC
1. DOE WILL SELECT A NEW CONTRACTOR FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE SSC!
The current contractor, Universities Research Association, a
79-university consortium that also operates Fermilab, will continue
to manage the design and technical aspects of the project and
will operate the facility when it is completed. The bifurcated
management structure was announced by DOE Secretary O'Leary in a
Senate hearing on Wednesday. She had promised changes one month
ago in a hearing on the other side of Capitol Hill
(WN 2 Jul 93).
But in Wednesday's hearing, O'Leary insisted the SSC is exactly
on schedule and not a dime over cost. So, you might wonder, why
is she hiring a new contractor? "Although tremendous progress
has been made in meeting technical milestones to date," O'Leary
declared, "management milestones have not been fully achieved."
Damn the tunnel, start getting those reports out on time!
2. DAMN THE MOLD IN THE PETRI DISH, GET THE REPORTS OUT ON TIME!
When Senator Glenn (D-OH) learned that pizzas had been charged to
NSF grants (WN 11 Oct 91),
he called on the NSF Inspector General
to tighten oversight. So the IG set up a program of six random
site visits a year to departments receiving NSF funds, "to look
for anything inhibiting performance," according to the Assistant
IG for Oversight. Site visits are allowed by article 23 of NSF's
General Grant Conditions. The Department of Biology at the
University of Virginia was the first to go under the microscope.
The inspectors were "disappointed" to find that reports to NSF
were not always on time, some stockroom receipts weren't properly
signed and there weren't many women on the faculty (article 27 of
the General Grant Conditions covers nondiscrimination). Physics
departments with equal numbers of men and women can relax.
3. TITAN ROCKET EXPLODES, DESTROYING OCEAN-SURVEILLANCE TRIPLET.
The accident wasted about $1B and grounded the Titan IV fleet,
raising new questions about the $10.4 program to build 41 of the
heavy-lift rockets. Does the failure threaten vital intelligence
capability? Pshaw! There are two other O-S triplets already in
orbit. Besides, the ocean-surveillance program was meant to track
the Soviet fleet. That should be easy. Although there is no
longer a Soviet Union, there is still a fleet--sitting in port.
4. ET TU, BRUTE! CIPRIANO MEMO CALLS FOR SCHWITTERS TO BE FIRED.
An unsigned memo that begins with a sarcastic reference to "Our
beloved contractor, Universities Research Association," surfaced
this week in Washington. It apparently came from the PC of DOE's
Project Manager for the SSC, Joseph Cipriano, who may have had
second thoughts about sending it. Firing the Director, the memo
declares, "may be the only way to keep the Lab from falling apart
before the Senate votes." It also calls for a one-year freeze on
new construction starts so DOE can "restructure and fix problems
before going on." SSC opponents had hoped to question Cipriano at
the hearing on Wednesday, but he managed to remain on vacation.