Engineering Annual Summary 1999 Page: 3 of 36
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Message from the Associate Director
In 1999, Engineering at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory faced competing priorities to meet critical
project milestones, insistent pressures to restructure inter-
nally to promote long-term technological growth, and
immediate demands to reassign employees as major proj-
ects terminated and new ones emerged. This drive for
change occurred among an unprecedented level of
turmoil within the nuclear weapons design and manufac-
I believe the technical problems were more demand-
ing this year and the environment within which they
were accomplished more challenging, pushing us to
accomplish more during greater turbulence than any
other time in my tenure here. I am pleased to report
that we met many key milestones and achieved numer-
ous technological breakthroughs.
In the project support areas, demands presented by
our customers shifted significantly over the year. In the
lasers area, we continued the detailed designs for the over
$1 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) super laser,
paving the way for the procurement of components and
structures for what is probably the largest high-tech
construction project in the world. This work was under-
taken in an environment of significant management and
structural changes, with increased reporting requirements
from the Department of Energy, starting in the middle of
1999. Despite these changes, our technical progress since
1995 has resulted in a 5000-fold improvement in the
performance/cost characteristics of NIF-only a factor of
2 away from where we need to get.
In the defense area, we delivered the first production
unit of the refurbished W87 weapon, on schedule, for
eventual delivery to the Air Force. Also in the defense area,
we developed and implemented a new philosophy for
conducting underground materials testing using expend-
able containment vessels. This allowed us to increase our
test throughput rate six-fold and simultaneously reduce
cost by a commensurate amount. The first two tests were
conducted with a 100 percent data capture rate.
Also in 1999, the Laboratory's major contract on atomic
vapor laser isotope separation with USEC Corporation
came to an end. Within an intense three-month period,
Engineering effectiwly transitioned its 150 employees work-
ing on this project to other Laboratory projects.
We leveraged our competence in microsystems and
biosciences to establish a robust technical presence in the
field of biological and chemical weapons defense. This year,
we saw successful opera-
tional tests of several hand- -
held versions of our u r
Concunxently, we saw our -2 L
efforts in information
technologies and medical
devices pay off signifi-
cantly when both these
areas grew robustly.
In the operations ara,
Engineering underwent an R
important change in its
strategy. In 1998, we
consolidated our nine tech-
nical thrust areas into fiw
Centers and restructured Spiros Dimolitsas
these centers to form the Engineering Science and Technology
Program, reporting directly to my office. In 1999, we
completed the selection of four of the fiw Directors to lead
each of these areas and mowd from startup to true enterprise.
This 1999 Summary highlights these fiw Centers
We continued our facilities restructuring and worked
with the Laboratory to increase our ability to make capi-
tal investments and modernize tools in our competency
areas. The cumulative financial impact of these changes
over the past four years has been a revenue increase of
45 percent and an employee productivity increase of
This report summarizes our 1999 accomplishments I
hope you will find it both interesting and informative. If
you want to learn more about our 2000 activities, visit our
new Website at http://www-eng.llnl.gov.
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Dimolitsas, S. & Gerich, C. Engineering Annual Summary 1999, report, April 11, 2000; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc739054/m1/3/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.