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Planning for Operations in the LCLS Era

The Future of SLAC
In the next few years, SLAC faces an exciting transition period. The Linac Coherent Light Source will come into operation and, with SPEAR3, the Photon Science Directorate will assume responsibility for operation of the major accelerator-based user facilities on the SLAC site.

In preparation for this transition, the DOE Office of Basic Energy Science has requested a justifiable, integrated funding plan for linac accelerator operations in 2009 and beyond. This plan will specify the resources needed for linac accelerator operations and program support, and must be ready for review by the DOE in early August. It has to be developed in context of the other operations activities (such as SPEAR3) since there are common needs for support resources. The intent is to ensure that our accelerator-based programs are clearly defined, adequately staffed, and funded for effective and safe operations.

Formation of a New Working Group
As a key step in preparing this plan, we have formed and together co-chair a technical working group (TWG), drawing from the High Energy Physics (HEP), Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), and Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) operations managers, together with key business and financial managers. The group includes Elizabeth Caplun-Cochrane, Charlotte Chang, Mimi Chang, Persis Drell, Roger Erickson, Bob Hettel, Keith Hodgson, Lowell Klaisner, Dave Schultz, John Seeman, and Frank Topper.

This working group has the job of developing a consolidated view of lab operations and of providing a framework for defining resource requirements specifically for linac operations as related to LCLS. The working group first has to define the likely program of ongoing machine operations (LCLS, SPEAR 3, SABER, NLCTA, PEP-II facilities) and machine design and development programs for the LCLS, the ILC, and advanced accelerator technologies. Department heads throughout the lab will be involved in helping to define these programs and to specify the resources needed to carry them out successfully.

What's Next
The working group is preparing a framework for collecting, sorting, and clarifying cost information (including labor, materials, services, etc.) for operating and maintaining the linac and for those aspects of our other accelerator facilities which need access to common site support. The various department heads will be asked to provide guidance and specific information about the requirements for supporting and carrying out these functions, maintaining a high level of operational efficiency. A model scenario will be developed with time for refinements and internal review prior to the arrival of the DOE review team in early August. Throughout this process, we will maintain regular communications with DOE headquarters to ensure our efforts are focused on developing a plan that meets their needs and presents a strong case for the most effective operations of LCLS.

The technical working group is beginning to prepare a consolidated plan for how we will operate LCLS in the 2009 and beyond. This plan is being developed in the context of other operations on the SLAC site so that we can come to understand how to best attain optimum and cost effective operations. We want this plan to represent the best thinking of the entire organization. Please address any ideas, concerns and comments to your supervisor so your department head can better represent your department in this process or directly with one of us. Thank you for your help and support as we embark on this most important transition.

—Persis Drell and Keith Hodgson
   SLAC Today, May 3, 2006