A reduction in Department of Defense funding for projects at Lincoln Laboratory resulted in 90 workers there receiving layoff notices yesterday, March 15. The reduction means the Lincoln Laboratory work force is now about 2,360.
About 87 percent of the laboratory's current program is for the DOD. The Federal Aviation Administration is the principal supporter of the remaining 13 percent.
MIT Provost Mark S. Wrighton, to whom Lincoln Laboratory reports, said the Institute "regrets the reduction in DOD support, but we appreciate the changing needs of the Defense Department in this post-cold war period. Lincoln Laboratory stands ready to respond to new technological challenges in this new era."
The laboratory is a federally funded research and development center for advanced electronics with special emphasis on applications to national defense. At the request of the federal government, MIT formed the laboratory in 1951 as a public service to undertake the task of designing a continental air defense system. Pioneering work in such areas as ballistic missile defense, communications, space surveillance, air defense, tactical surveillance and air traffic control have continued over the years.
The affected workers include scientists, engineers and support personnel. Career counseling will be made available to them.
Professor Wrighton said the downsizing at Lincoln Laboratory will affect sponsored research costs on campus because the indirect costs of sponsored research at MIT will have to be met from a smaller resource base.
"The reengineering effort on the campus will be needed to achieve our campus budget targets of reducing the operating gap by $40 million with a work force decline of about 400 over the next three years," he said. The Lincoln Laboratory staff cutback is in addition to the projected campus cutback.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 26).