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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NNSA FORMALLY EXTENDS SANDIA CONTRACT FOR TWO YEARS

Weapons Complex Morning Briefing
May 5, 2014

NNSA FORMALLY EXTENDS SANDIA CONTRACT FOR TWO YEARS

The National Nuclear Security Administration has wrapped up negotiations with the Lockheed Martin run Sandia Corporation on a two year extension to its contract to run Sandia National Laboratories, but it hasn’t released any details of the contract. NNSA spokesman Josh McConaha confirmed Friday that the Sandia contract had been extended through April 30, 2016 (with an option for a third year) as expected but he did not provide any other information. The NNSA said in March that it was planning to extend the contract while it prepares to compete the Sandia contract. 

Sandia is expected to be the first contract competed under the “public interest” model championed by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and former acting NNSA Administrator Bruce Held, but NNSA officials previously said the extension was not expected to vary greatly from Lockheed Martin’s current deal to run Sandia, which includes a fee-earning potential that is much lower than that of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sandia management only gets about a third of the juicy profit fees that are made by LLNS/LANS (which are really just one and the same outfit).

It will be interesting to hear the screams from LLNS/LANS when they are told that their annual profit fees will be re-bid way, way down. Expect Bechtel to place some calls to members of Congress to protect their current deal.

Anonymous said...

If you'll recall when LLNS/LANS Chairman (UC Regent) Pattiz was at LLNL announcing Bill Goldstein as new Lab Director, Chairman Pattiz said he had already had discussion with DOE and NNSA on reducing the fee. He indicated UC was okay with that as long as the issue of liability was addressed. He also said UC likes having Bechtel as a partner.

I personally do not see any real value to the industrial partners in LLNS/LLNL management. LLNL - unlike LANL - does not have any production activities and its complex hazardous nuclear operations are significantly less than they were in 2007 when LLNS was formed.

I truly doubt any of the current LLNL managers directly connected to the industrial partners would leave LLNL if the LLNS LLC agreement was restructured to put UC in sole full control of the LLC. They might have to make hard decisions on giving up their undisclosed perks provided by their industrial partner employer, but I think most would stay (especially if years of service credits and retirement plans were worked out). Maybe one or two might go to other DOE sites run by their respective parent companies or retire, but the impact to day to day LLNL operations and management would really be negligible.

Under the LBNL contract DOE gave UC a waiver for the now standard DOE requirement that M&O contractors only offer new employees 401k plans instead of pensions. So it would be interesting if a solely UC owned LLC running LLNL would be able to negotiate the same deal for LLNL, and allow for UC to manage a financially segregated pension plan (LLNS TCP1) for LLNL.

Unfortunately for LLNL, UC really seems to need Bechtel and the other industrial partners for running and keeping the LANL contract. This gives the partners significant leverage in forcing UC to keep them as an equal in LLNS/LLNL LLC. So I don't see UC making any real change to the agreements, unless LANS were to lose the LANL contract, and that doesn't seem likely.

Anonymous said...

unless LANS were to lose the LANL contract, and that doesn't seem likely.

May 7, 2014 at 8:20 AM

That is solely in the hands of the LANS employees. No work, no performance metrics, no award fee, no contract.

Anonymous said...

"...That is solely in the hands of the LANS employees. No work, no performance metrics, no award fee, no contract..."

If LANS is like LLNS, employee considerations are near zero. The local NNSA "Field Office" is feed significant performance metric evaluation parameters by the contractor itself. The NNSA "Field Office" is in effect an appendage of the contractor. They are one team. The NNSA "Field Office" and the Contractor are an unspoken partnership.


Anonymous said...

UC probably enjoys having the partners in the LLNS/LANS setup. This gives them the scapegoats needed. At the time of the dust up UC said it was good at science but didn't have the expertise for the safety, security and daily run of the mill maintenance. The partners brought on board were to handle those areas. If something goes amiss in those areas UC can point the finger and say "Bechtel, Battelle, Washington Group - jump on that, our hands will not be sullied with such mundane tasks." It's the GOCO model, Congress blames DOE, DOE blames NNSA, NNSA blames the local office, the local office blames the contractor. If UC is running the place by itself, it can't dodge the blame. With partners at hand, the blame can be shifted. And if blame can be shifted away from UC, even if it takes away incentive money, as long as UC has clean hands, it's worth it in their minds.

And as others have pointed out, the congressional phones will be ringing if Bechtel and the others feel the golden trough being emptied.

Anonymous said...

"...And as others have pointed out, the congressional phones will be ringing if Bechtel and the others feel the golden trough being emptied.."

Perhaps you are correct, but do you think DOE/NNSA would openly discuss a 3% to 1% fee reduction if they new it could be stopped as easy as a few phone calls from Bechtel? Paying more and getting less is hard to defend on the phone or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"... the congressional phones will be ringing if Bechtel and the others feel the golden trough being..."

If Bechtel has that kind of pull, what does this say for LANS and LLNS annual performance based award "determinations" when slated to be reduced too much for poor performance? Ring, ring, ring to...?

Anonymous said...

Three Vice Presidents of technical divisions at Sandia National Laboratories do not have a Ph.D.: Hruby, Walker, Vahle.

Adam Rowen a manager at Sandia Livermore does not have a Ph.D. either.

The previous 3 individuals are the first ever Vice Presidents without a Ph.D. in Science or Engineering to lead technical divisions at Sandia.

A quick search on the internet shows that Adam Rowen went to a school in New Mexico.

...Besides, SNL is irrelevant to US national security. It's just an engineering job shop.

Anonymous said...

What part of a PhD qualifies someone to be a manager? May 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM is going to need a lot more fingers and toes if they want to count the number of managers at Sandia without an irrelevant PhD.

Anonymous said...

The entire Weapons Engineering leadership at Los Alamos do not have PhDs. Leasure (Acting PNWAD), Benner (WAD), and Owens (W-Division Leader). All Sandia rejects. You can Knapp for this, he only felt comfortable with folks that were less competent than him, which is REALLY incompetent.

Anonymous said...

If you think that a PhD is a guarantee of managerial competence, you haven't been around very long, or are very naive. Being a competent manager is about understanding people, not science or engineering. Science and engineering graduate schools do not teach that.

Anonymous said...

"...If you think that a PhD is a guarantee of managerial competence, you haven't been around very long, or are very naive. Being a competent manager is about understanding people, not science or engineering. Science and engineering graduate schools do not teach that..."

Very very true.

Anonymous said...

May 8, 2014 at 5:07 AM: Leasure has a PhD in Chemistry. You have no credibility.

Anonymous said...

Being a competent manager is about understanding people, not science or engineering. Science and engineering graduate schools do not teach that.

Completely agree. But as LANS shows, the other way around is not working either. I have not seen a competent manager from the private crowd yet, even though they do not have PhDs.

The issue is not good versus bad management, but what are managers supposed to do. If they have to count paperclips and beans and sign off on travel and all these important things, I think the current crop is just fine.
If managers should actually have technical competency in the field they are supposed to lead, then I think the answer will be different.

But I guess by now, the most important thing for the labs is to be compliant with whatever folly DOE and NNSA come up with and so yes you do not need to have a PhD for this. It might even be detrimental. You do not want people who think in a situation like this.



Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you guys are having the very same argument as before (about PhDs).

My god, I think the post that started it is a direct copy of one from a previous thread.

Can't you find something NEW to bash each other about?

Anonymous said...

The "no PhD" guy keeps posting his garbage and won't go away. He keeps drawing derisive responses btherint 152.25ut doesn't care. So this garbage keeps cluttering up the blog.

Anonymous said...

what are managers supposed to do. If they have to count paperclips and beans and sign off on travel and all these important things, I think the current crop is just fine.
If managers should actually have technical competency in the field they are supposed to lead, then I think the answer will be different.

May 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Technical competency is nice, and makes things easier, but real expertise is certainly not required for good scientific management. Simple competency in understanding the relevant issues does not require a PhD. Trying to be a manager with no understanding of how to interact with and lead people is a disaster. Management should not be the only route to career advancement for great scientists.

Anonymous said...

May 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Here is a novel idea, how about being able to understand and motivate people and have a technical knowledge of what the people do, the science behind what they do, the science of what needs to be done, combined with creativity and a strong work ethic? How about that for a manager.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. And, it doesn't require a PhD.

Anonymous said...

Most senior managers at the labs don't even have an undergraduate course, much less an advanced degree, in the disciplines they oversee. That's why they continue to be snowed by the con artists working for them. Most are truly pointy hair types, straight out of Dilbert.

Anonymous said...

May 9, 2014 at 8:38 PM

Oh, and you are personally familiar with "most senior managers at the labs"?? What a joke. Try to avoid entirely laughable posts that make you seem like a complete idiot.

Anonymous said...

Enough to call it what it is. Nice try at detracting from reality, Mr. dumbshit manager.

Anonymous said...

I've had both managers that Ph.D.s and ones that didn't. I'll have to disagree with the previous post since my experience is that Ph.D. managers were much better than the ones without Ph.Ds. The ones without Ph.Ds had serious problems obtaining funding from external agencies and had no credibility whatsoever in bringing in money even internally.

Anonymous said...

"I've had both managers that Ph.D.s and ones that didn't. I'll have to disagree with the previous post since my experience is that Ph.D. managers were much better than the ones without Ph.Ds. The ones without Ph.Ds had serious problems obtaining funding from external agencies and had no credibility whatsoever in bringing in money even internally.

May 10, 2014 at 1:04 AM

I've never worked for Ph.D and Lord willing I never will. I cannot imagine how anyone who had their brains so fried in college would ever be able to lead duck to water much less lead people. Could you imagine someone like Sheldon Cooper being a manager! That would be a disaster and I mean a total dam disaster. It is obvious why the labs have failed so badly, they have a army of Sheldon Coopers! It's crazy just nuts and yet they keep pushing this idea that Ph.D have some value. Man I would find the whole thing funny if it was not so so effing sad. Sheldon is fun to laugh at, he is not fun to be around, he is not fun to work for, he is not fit to run things.
He is fit to make a fool of himself and to be laughed at for it. You nerds need to get that through your head, pronto. Dammm

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anti-PhD is back. I think we should find a way to get him in a ring with Manager So-And-So Doesn't Have a PhD. The anti-intellectual vs the intellectual elitist. Fight of the Century!

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Anonymous said...

The incompetence of people at Sandia makes me even wonder how did we ever win the cold war.

Anonymous said...

We didn't "win" the cold war. The USSR tried to keep up with the US and miserably failed economically, socially, and morally. Nothing the US did caused that. There is a lesson there for us, if we are astute enough to learn it.

Anonymous said...

May 8, 2014 at 5:07 AM: Leasure has a PhD in Chemistry. You have no credibility.

May 8, 2014 at 4:12 PM

PhD or not, Leasure is totally incompetent. To think he is the Acting Principal AD for Weapons is a joke.

Anonymous said...

I've worked with Craig. He is competent, just not in his recent (since 2005) positions.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Sandia. All you need now is a mission.

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to John Benner (LANL AD Weapons) and James Owen (LANL Weapons (W) Engineering Division Leader). Benner (M.S. UC Davis) never finished his PhD at U.C. Davis and "King" James (B.S. New Mexico State) never finished his M.S. at The University of Colorado, while on a FULL-TIME SALARY LANL salary for two-years.

Anonymous said...

May 13, 2014 at 7:47 PM

You are tiresome and irrelevant. Please go away. No one cares (hint: that's why you have to say "let's get back to...).

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to John Benner (LANL AD Weapons) and James Owen (LANL Weapons (W) Engineering Division Leader). Benner (M.S. UC Davis) never finished his PhD at U.C. Davis and "King" James (B.S. New Mexico State) never finished his M.S. at The University of Colorado, while on a FULL-TIME SALARY LANL salary for two-years.

May 13, 2014 at 7:47 PM

For as cost conscious as james Owen is, I'm sure he would be willing to pay back his salary (while attending U. of Colorado) since he didn't complete his degree.

Anonymous said...

James Owen is hardly cost conscious. He has 45-people in the W-division office (far larger than any single Group), mostly support, overhead, and do-nothings. Then he decided to hire two Deputy Division Directors to perform his job at $350K (with overhead) apiece.

Anonymous said...

May 15, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Please don't feed the trolls.

Anonymous said...

After reading this thread i can make one firm conclusion.

This blog is read almost 100% by small-time assholes that don't know their ass from their elbows when it comes to science, engineering, politics, or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Dudes you got the neckbeard angry.

Anonymous said...

Other peoples' personal grooming is a fixation of yours? Yuck.

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to John Benner (LANL AD Weapons) and James Owen (LANL Weapons (W) Engineering Division Leader). Benner (M.S. UC Davis) never finished his PhD at U.C. Davis and "King" James (B.S. New Mexico State) never finished his M.S. at The University of Colorado, while on a FULL-TIME SALARY LANL salary for two-years.

May 13, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Adam Rowen a manager at Sandia Livermore does not have a Ph.D. either.

A quick search on the internet shows that Adam Rowen went to a school in New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like commenting on your own post. Only way to keep your obsession satisfied, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Adam Rowen a manager at Sandia Livermore does not have a Ph.D. either.

Anonymous said...

Managers in the LOG division are a joke

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