- May 9, 2020
TheManhattan Project also known as the A-bomb project involved thecreation of the first American atomic bomb (AJ, 2015). The atomicbomb was made during World War II. The project was developed byintense scientific achievements. It was the first time for UnitedStates military to utilize atomic weapons. After the use of theatomic bomb, there have been some controversies regarding the closureof the project of August 1945. The debate became extremely vigorousdue to the existence of primary sources. For example, historiansprobed the initial use of the nuclear weapon and its broad anddiplomatic effects. Some scholars questioned as to how the knowledgegained during execution of the project was consolidated. In order tounderstand the close-out of the A-bomb project, this paper exploresthe closure of the project. The paper explores how the project wasfinalized, how the activities of the project were finished in everyphase of the project to ensure that the project was formally closed.The paper presents an assessment of the project to make sure that thelessons were learned and that best practices would be applied tofuture projects.
Inthe execution of the project, there were some steps done by thegovernment to consolidate the knowledge gained in the projectexecution. American officials drafted a memorandum meant to ensure anAnglo-American monopoly, especially after World War II. Thememorandum involved the creation of secrecy that according to theofficials was going to create peace in the world. The officials alsothought that secrecy would reduce arms race and ensure that Americawill continue being superior with the weapon. The officials knew thatit would be technical for them to maintain secrecy after the war,hence planned to offer a partial disclosure of the developments ofthe project, but still keep the military and manufacturing details.
Inthis regard, there were some key decisions made regarding the sharingof knowledge. The decision was made since some information regardingsome aspects of the project were widespread. The physicians, forexample, had been given the details of the project before its onset.Some people outside the project had also given some guesses regardingwhat was going on. Some newspaper men had obtained some informationabout the project but had refrained from writing about the project ona voluntary basis. It was, therefore, prudent to come up withdecisions that would maintain peace in the world after World War II.The project’s officials decided to have a complete disclosure ofthe project in terms of the history of development. Another decisionmade was that details regarding the military and manufacturingoperations of the project were to remain in secrecy. The disclosurewas planned immediately after the demonstration of the first bomb.
Likeany other project, the atomic bomb project prepared and purchasedsites, hired subcontractors, and personnel, let contracts, andmaintained a service facility and housing the placed orders formaterials, developing accounting and administrative procedures andcoming up with networks of communication (AJ, 2015). By the time thewar was coming to an end, the project had taken up about $2.2billion. The need for the project to move faster made the managementto invest in unproven and unknown processes.
TheManhattan projected can be described as having two major traits.These traits are secrecy and speed. The project’s investments inprocesses were made in secrecy. The secrecy made the sites in remotelocation be dictated in getting supplies and labor hence acting as ademeanor of the efforts of scientists in these locations. The meritof the secrecy was in making it possible to come up with decisionswith minimum regard for normal considerations from the politicalworld. The project management depended on the White House backing forthe financing of the project.
Inrunning the project, secrecy was concealed to the extent that theperson’s working on the project had no idea of what they wereworking on. There was a high need for a fast clarification ofdecisions and priorities. There were unfinished researches on atleast three processes. These processes were used in freeing theproduction plans despite the fact that the findings of the projecthad a way of dictating changes. At the pilot stage, the project waseliminated going against the practices of manufacturing and resultingin constant shutdown and continuous troubleshooting in trial runs ofthe production facilities.
Thechallenges in the closeout of the faces between full production andthe laboratory lead to an emotionally charged situation. Theenvironment was filled with despair and optimism that alternated withthe frequency of confusion. The management of the project came torealize that it was not possible for the project to be completed bythe year 1945. They realized that they had a huge task on their headsfor the project to be completed.
Mostof the American officials like Bush believed that the secret of theAtomic bomb would remain an American monopoly given adequatesecurity. This belief was unrealistic because it createdmisunderstanding among American officials and residents. Both theworkers and other stakeholders were going to find out about theAtomic Bomb. For example, Harry Truman discovered the secret aftertaking over the presidency. The challenge here is that Truman did notunderstand the scope of the project until when he was updated by theSecretary of war who learned about the project through back door. Onthe hand, the workers found out that they were working on an AtomicBomb when they heard of the Hiroshima bombing through radio (AJ,2015). It, therefore, follows that the project was going to come tothe public anyway. The secrecy in running the project played a hugerole in harming the project rather than improving it.
Theorganizational legacy of the project especially the link betweenbasic research and national security resulted in a huge conflict. Thenational security had no knowledge in nuclear physics and did notunderstand why the project was to be done in haste. The scientists,on the other hand, wanted the project to the done fast due toscientific research and their deep knowledge I nuclear physics. Thetwo opposing forces created a conflict that made the project stagesterminated inappropriately. There were a number of problems thatresulted from the collapse of the stages between full production andlaboratory.
Inthe current era of modern project management techniques, the projectcloseout of Manhattan project could be managed differently to achieveefficiency. In this project, the close-out practice could be appliedin different stages of the project especially after the completion ofa deliverable at every stage. The two things that I would consider inManhattan project is the administrative closure and contract closure(NY Guide, 2002d). I will ensure that the administrative closure ofthe project offers a definition of the activities, related roles,interactions, and the goal of the stakeholders and members of theteam, who will take part in the execution of the project’sadministrative procedure. As such, the activities of the project willbe integrated, records of the project gathered, failure or success ofthe project analyzed, lessons learned from the project established,transfer of the product to the operations and production done, andinformation about the project stored in an archive for future use(Wideman, 2015b) .
Thecontract closure will take care of the interactions and activitiesrequired to close and settle the contract agreements created. In theManhattan project, verification would be done to ensure that the workwas done satisfactorily, updating the records to reflect the resultsobtained and getting information that is needed in for future. Assuch, the project close-out would be done appropriately.
AJ(2015). The Manhattan Project: Making the atomic bomb. Retrieved on19 November 2015 fromhttp://www.atomicarchive.com/History/mp/index.shtml
NYGuide (2002d). Management`s Guide to Project Success. (Closeout: Sec3.5) Retrieved on 19 November 2015 from the New York State ChiefInformation Officer/Office for Technology`s Enterprise ProgramManagement Office.
Wideman,M. (2015b). Project management case study: The Custom WoodworkingCompany “Woody 2000 project”. Retrieved on 19 November 2015 fromhttp://www.maxwideman.com/papers/woody2000/intro.html