Thursday, January 19, 2017

Critically Misinformed - the state of Gov Rick Perry.

I was not aware of this until today morning, but it appears Governor Perry had a website where he put forth his views on the DOE. In these documents [see Wayback Machine link] Gov. Perry says he wants to

"However, within the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and other key nuclear programs must be preserved and re-located to the Department of Defense. "

This is not a good idea. 

I have discussed the impact of this kind of thinking before [see here]. 

It is one thing to have these kinds of out of the box ideas and something completely different to actually act on them.  

The entire game of nuclear deterrence is based on a delicate balance of costs. As long as the US can afford to maintain its arsenal and selectively prune it - it can deter any adversary. 

If you send the department on wild goose chases - you will waste a lot of money on stupid stuff and 
the end result will be an arsenal you cannot afford to pay for.

Having someone who knows what they are doing is critical to keeping the nuclear security side of things in good order.

It is a very bad idea to appoint someone who doesn't work in the main business unit as the head of this organization. If you don't know what actually works, you will not be able to figure out what to spend effort and money on.

This organization deals with the tools of mass murder and you cannot appoint any idiot with an MBA to lead it. The MBA flood has already killed most of the productivity in US industry - so it is best if a critical national security department is not added to that list of failures.

If you appoint some apparatchik to lead it - you will end up with a Chernobyl like situation. In Chernobyl, the entire department had become totally compromised by the Soviet equivalent of the bean counters. The whole facility was led by people selected for party loyalty and not adequate training. Catastrophe occurred on when one of these apparatchiks over-rode the opposition of the technical team and operated the reactor in a configuration where the coupling between the neutron transport equations and the heat transport equations was not knowable. The results was a meltdown.

This is not something one wants to repeat.

Just as a random guy on the street can't lead an army or navy or airforce - this department cannot be led by someone who lacks the proper set of skills.


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