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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lawrence Livermore Backs off Plans to Subcontract for Pro Forces

Anonymously contributed:

From: Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor
July 12, 2010
Lawrence Livermore Backs off Plans to Subcontract for Pro Forces
Todd Jacobson

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has scrapped plans to open up security work at the lab to subcontractors for the first time, saying that the fixed price contract approach favored by the National Nuclear Security Administration wouldn’t give the lab the flexibility and cost savings it was seeking. The lab said in May of 2009 that it was considering subcontracting for security work, moving away from years of protective force management by the M&O contractor.

The move drew interest from protective force companies eager to compete for security work at one of the two NNSA sites that have kept protective forces work in-house. Security at the Pantex Plant is also performed by the M&O contractor, B&W Pantex. The lab’s plans hit a snag when the NNSA balked at its push to utilize a time-and-materials contract, and it canceled the planned procurement in June—13 months after issuing a Sources Sought notice for the contract. “The fixed price contract would potentially cost the laboratory a lot more money,” lab spokesman Jim Bono said last week. While time and materials contracts can sometimes be less expensive than fixed price contracts, the fixed price approach is often favored by the government because of the certainties involved in the cost. The protective force contract up for bid at Los Alamos National Laboratory is of the fixed price variety, as is the contract envisioned at the Nevada Test Site. “It shifts the risk from the government to the contractor,” one industry official said. “But I think it results in higher bids, because you don’t know what you don’t know and you have to account for lots of contingencies.”

‘We Won’t be Able to be As Flexible’
The University of California, which was the sole manager of the lab up until 2007 and remains a part of the LLC, provided security for the laboratory for decades, leveraging assets across the entire UC system for equipment purchasing, training and staffing. When lab management shifted to a Bechtel-led team in October of 2007, officials began considering a shift in the way it handled its protective forces. “It was scalability that we wanted,” Bono said. “A time and materials contract would’ve given the laboratory the ability to scale up and scale down. We won’t be able to be as flexible.”

That flexibility might have come in handy over the next few years as the lab completes the removal of all special nuclear material requiring Category I/II security, a move that will allow for a decrease in security requirements. Lab officials have denied that the change was related to a high profile security slip-up in 2008 that led to dozens of changes in the way the lab’s protective forces guard the site. In April of 2008, the lab was the site of an embarrassing security blunder during which when a team of mock terrorists were able to steal a cache of special nuclear material during a force-on-force practice exercise, drawing criticism from Congress and government watchdog groups. The lab has since implemented dozens of corrective actions and has performed well in follow-up reviews and exercises.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

‘We Won’t be Able to be As Flexible’


LLC Codewords for:

"We plan on laying off and firing a lot of lab staff in the next couple of years."

Anonymous said...

If the staff is no longer needed, it makes no sense to keep them on, right?

Anonymous said...

“A time and materials contract would’ve given the laboratory the ability to scale up and scale down. We won’t be able to be as flexible.”

What utter nonsense. Fixed price and you are locked in. You actually want time and material contracts when you think there is uncertainty or disruption in the proposed work scope.

Anonymous said...

7:52 PM

That's the exact point LLNL was trying to make with NNSA. The Lab does not know what the future security posture will look like when deinventory is complete in the next year. When the SNM is gone must of the justification for the heavily armed and specially equipped/trained security officer will go away - but exactly what the force will look like is not yet known. A multi-year "fixed price" contract would lock LLNL into paying for things it wouldn't need. If the contract was that the Lab just paid for labor under "time & material", it could be reduced as the need for officers went down. And if AlCo Sheriff had the contract, some displaced Lab officer might have other opportunities to become sworn deputies (after graduating from the Academy in Dublin) or security officer at other county sites that the Sheriff services with security officers. If a private company had the contract - like Wackenhut - they do not have any other big local contracts to move displaced Lab officers to, so they would be laid off, unless they wanted to move out of state to another DOE site run by Wackenhut.

The best option for the Lab would have been an inital "T&M" contact for several years until the security posture was settled and stable, then move to a much lower fixed price contract. 10 years from now, the LLNL security force will look more like that at LBNL and SLAC than LANL.

Bottomline, the Sheriff wanted the contract as "time & material" and was not interested in a profit margin (it a public non-profit agency), Wackenhut (a private company) wanted a larger "fixed price" contract so they had the change to make a profit.

Anonymous said...

“A time and materials contract would’ve given the laboratory the ability to scale up and scale down. We won’t be able to be as flexible.”

Yes, the lab won't be able to be as flexible since the lab is not in control anymore. We have moved from a GOCO to a GOGO; welcome to the new mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

How long until the "for-profit" LLCs decide to start sub-contracting out all the scientific research?

Anonymous said...

"And if AlCo Sheriff had the contract, some displaced Lab officer might have other opportunities to become sworn deputies (after graduating from the Academy in Dublin) or security officer at other county sites that the Sheriff services with security officers." Are you serious ? This is one of the carrots that PFD managment was dangling in front of it's Officer's. PD's are laying off everywhere. Upper Management has their jobs locked up, they don't care about the little people. How many jobs are being lost in Safeguards and Security Management ?

Anonymous said...

We desperately need more levels of highly paid managers at the NNSA labs.

It is our only hope for the future!

Anonymous said...

Armed men in black
create a ripple at Mineta
San Jose International
Airport
By Sharon Noguchi

http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_16181812?nclick_check=1

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