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From the Chief Operating Officer: The Next SLAC Agenda

(Photo - Alexander Merola)
(Photo by Linda Cicero.)

You may be aware that SLAC Director Persis Drell, with the associate laboratory directors, recently presented three SLAC objectives to the Office of Science. These objectives that define our future success are to: (a) continue to be a premier accelerator laboratory; (b) ensure our significant role in targeted areas of particle physics, particle astrophysics and cosmology; and (c) dramatically grow our role as a photon science laboratory.

In that regard, the SLAC ALDs are currently identifying the detailed deliverables that underpin the accomplishment of these objectives. These will be codified as the SLAC Agenda and will be updated annually as SLAC's most important priorities.

Within the Operations Directorate, we are identifying what we need to deliver to ensure needed mission support as our part of the SLAC Agenda. We are iterating with the other ALDs, SubCouncils and within Operations to ensure that we identify the most critical deliverables that should be part of the SLAC Agenda. For now, we are focusing on fiscal year 2011; currently, the top-rated goals identified for Operations include:

  • working with the Photon Science and LCLS Directorates, successfully propose two new buildings at SLAC that would both begin construction during next five years
  • continue to develop the needed scientific computing environment to support the lab mission, including a financial and governance model
  • begin the implementation of a SLAC business system, and even while we are doing that:
    • create a lab-wide budget tool
    • improve or revamp the current performance management tool (Taleo)
    • implement online time reporting
  • more aggressively pursue delivering Operations functions through centrally managed, field-deployed personnel with an accompanying shift in emphasis from process to execution and delivery

This list is not yet complete. There is an ALD retreat in late August, followed a few days later by an Operations leadership retreat. Then the final priorities will be iterated with all of the ALDs and approved by the SLAC Director. When the SLAC Agenda for FY11 is finalized, it will be well publicized.

In order for us to achieve this vision for SLAC, all of us at the lab need to understand and be committed to accomplishing the SLAC Agenda. There will be ambitious deliverables and efforts to be pursued. For this to happen, more-discretionary efforts must be given a lower priority, and some activities will have to stop altogether. That's the hard part. However, that discipline will enable us to pursue the SLAC Agenda with focus, aggressively—and we cannot be distracted by lower priorities.

These are exciting times. Some of the decisions we face are tough, but they will position the lab for a future of continued groundbreaking science.

—Alexander Merola
SLAC Today, August 13, 2010