Budget Update

Budget Update

You may recall my last message - just before the holiday break -
concerning JLab's funding situation. At that time, Congress had just
passed an omnibus spending bill for FY2008. This bill funded the DOE's
Office of Science significantly below the President's request. It
increased funding for a few programs significantly over FY07, cut others
severely, and increased funding for all of Nuclear Physics by only 2.3%
but contained full construction funding for the 12 GeV Upgrade. In the
meantime the bill has been signed into law and we know the exact
breakdown of Nuclear Physics funding and the consequent budget figures
for JLab.

For the second consecutive year, appropriations for the Office of
Science fall well below the Budget Request, and consequently JLab
funding is significantly below what we had anticipated. That is the bad
news. The good news is the 12 GeV Upgrade is being funded at essentially
the full request level.

In terms of specific numbers, operations funding for JLab is $79.2 M for
the 6 GeV base program. While this is approximately the same as last
year in dollar terms, it represents a very real reduction after
accounting for inflation and is over $ 8 M less than the request. FY
2008 is also the third year in a row with funding for base operations
not only below expectations but below the 2005 level of $ 84.5 M.
Moreover, uncommitted funds from previous years have been exhausted by
now. On the positive side, the 12 GeV project stays on track, being
funded at 99.1% of the requested $14.5 million. I must emphasize this
important fact, because it expresses a commitment to the Lab and its
future and compels us to do our best with the significant resources at
our disposal.

Given this budget situation, it is more critical than ever that we focus
on the absolute essentials. I want to thank the many managers and budget
experts for the thorough and diligent work they have done to adjust the
Lab's work scope to produce the best possible results within our
constraints. They realized that this is a time to pull together for the
achievement of the Lab's core objectives. In order to support their
planning and turn it into reality, we must:

  1. Keep an unwavering focus on staying safe in all our activities. In
    tough times nothing could be more damaging to us - as individuals or as
    an organization - than the painful consequences of unsafe behavior.
  2. Meet all 12 GeV objectives. The project must excel technically and in
    terms of cost and schedule performance indices. That is both a
    requirement - given the funding - and the best long term strategy for
    the Lab.
  3. Maximize scientific output, by which I mean execute the most
    important experiments in the most efficient manner. This is especially
    critical as the budget forces us to reduce experimental time from 34
    weeks of running to 24 weeks.
  4. Keep the hiring freeze in effect. We do not intend to have a layoff
    and will do everything possible to protect the workforce. All hiring -
    including replacements - will be centrally managed and remain restricted
    to the absolutely most essential, mission critical actions.
  5. Curb spending of non-labor dollars and procure only supplies,
    equipment, and services essential to support the identified priorities.
    Measure all your procurement requests against the yardstick of
    criticality to our mission.

Soon, the FY 2009 Budget Request will be rolled out. Its content is
currently "embargoed", but we have reasons to believe it will be very
good for science and bode well for the eventual JLab 2009 budget.
Against the background of 2007 and 2008, of course, and keeping in mind
that 2009 will bring a change in Administration, there is once again a
chance that we will begin the year with yet another Continuing
Resolution and that we could be held to the FY08 spending levels for at
least part of FY 2009.

I can assure you that there will be a vigorous and broadly based effort
throughout the nation to secure the President's FY09 Budget Request for
Science and that we will do our very best to participate in these
efforts in the appropriate and most effective way.

content by leemann@jlab.org

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