From the Director: The President's Budget Request

February 17, 2012

I recently had a note from Mike Sullivan of the Accelerator Directorate, who was concerned that my constant reminders that we must keep performing well could be interpreted as not having faith in the staff of the lab. Nothing could be further from the truth: It is because of your tremendous efforts and remarkable performance that SLAC is doing as well as it is and is so highly regarded today.

My reminders about the need to keep performing are motivated by my recognition, and my desire for you to recognize, that what is expected of us is constantly increasing. As the laboratory does ever better – whether in projects like the Linac Coherent Light Source, the LCLS Ultrafast Science Instrumentation project and the Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests, in the science we deliver, or in how we support our mission – the bar gets set ever higher for us because of the extremely constrained funding environment we are now experiencing. Nowhere is this clearer than in the President’s FY ’13 budget request released this week.

The President’s budget request to Congress is the start of a year-long process, and much can happen between now and the time when that budget is finally allocated for the next fiscal year. It is especially uncertain this year because of the upcoming fall elections. That said, I cannot imagine a stronger starting point in the budget negotiation process than the President’s budget request for SLAC.

All of our projects – LCLS-II, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Research Support Building and the Science and User Support Building – are funded to move forward on schedule. The operations budgets are strong. And while there are some worrisome surprises, such as no funding for the International Linear Collider, overall, the lab is extremely well positioned. 

While our projects are moving forward on schedule, many other worthy projects at other labs are being stretched out or deferred. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to the other labs, and to the Office of Science to perform as we have promised with the funding we have been awarded, and to deliver on schedule and within budget on projects while continuing to do outstanding science.

I do believe that a challenge like this is just what motivates the SLAC staff, and so I hope you all look forward to delivering on our promises with enthusiasm and, as Mike said in his note to me, “rarin' to go and ready to show off your best stuff.”