Bureaucracy, Labor Woes Doom Super-Weapons Lab
Aerospace giant Boeing is in the process of shutting down one of America’s most storied laboratories. “Building 31,” part of Boeing’s research facility in Huntington Beach, Calif., helped develop some of the Pentagon’s most secretive weapons — that is, until bloated bureaucracy and benefit cuts demoralized and scattered its employees. Under current plans, the 60-year-old lab will close its doors for good in mid-2013.
But Building 31’s employees aren’t its only valuable resources. “The lab has a footprint no one else can match,” Lamont said. “Three square blocks of strategic space R&D, built in the heyday of rocket development and honed to perfection for 60-plus years. Need a better material? Go to the metallurgy lab. Need to know what it will do in space, go to T-Vac [the thermal-vacuum department]. Need to know how it will perform in flight? Dynamics and Structures [department].
“It’s a Silicon Valley of strategic space for the U.S. government,” Lamont added, “and Boeing’s crappy leadership ran it into the ground.”