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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

UC Regent Praises ‘Clever’ Bid for LANL


The University of California and its mystery teammates have submitted a “clever” bid to run the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the next 10 years, the regent in charge of the institution’s national lab activities said in a public meeting late Wednesday.

“We do have the most excellent bid,” Ellen Tauscher, the incoming chair of the University of California Board of Regents’ national laboratories subcommittee, said in a regents meeting Wednesday in San Francisco. “It is significant in its creativity, in its innovation. It’s clever. You’ll find out what ‘clever’ means later on.”


Anonymous said...

More talk the UC lead team is made up of high level LANL managers who have written the bid. The team is people like Sarrao Webster, Leisure ect. Not sure what Texas AM is adding in terms of team members. In other words just a slight reshuffling of existing current management team.

If this is true and this team wins one could ask how anything would change at all. These same high level managers have been big pro-LANS people so presumably they will continue in the exact same style and approach to management as LANS did. If anything it could be something like LANS++ . If the point of the contract change was to do something different than how would this work with the exact same LANS cheerleaders? One theory is that NNSA was happy with LANS but the language of the contract stated that it had to be changed due to low scores. So the show contract change could just be blip of no real consequence whatsoever, LANS 2.0 carries on as before. Why would the UC team go with the same people? I would think bringing in new people would be the best approach. If I was NNSA I would look at such a bid and say, "these are the same people that lost that just lost the contract, why on earth would we want the same team, it will just lead the the same result, no thanks"

One could argue that perhaps LANS 2.0 could be non-profit which would in principle improve things but if the current LANS managers have written the bid they could just make sure that they get bonuses, free housing, cars, huge staff, and so on. Why not, you write the bid, you set the terms, whats not to love?

Anonymous said...

How does a clever bid erase the past performance requirements in the RFP? If UC were to win via cleverness, then the competition is just a farce. According to the RFP, past performance is a significant evaluation criterion. If those same managers who were in charge of LANL during WIPP, safety near misses, etc. etc. etc. are retained to continue to run the lab, then what a huge waste of money and acquisition effort to keep the status quo.

The protest of the winning proposal submitted by a Bechtel-led team at Savannah River was upheld by GAO. Apparently, the Bechtel team claimed it could perform the scope of work for billions less than the incumbent, NNSA naturally said yippee (after all, it is billions of cost savings), but the losing bidder and the GAO said, not so fast so the bid process will be redone in some fashion.

I couldn't imagine a procurement situation in which UC could overcome its poor past performance but then, I didn't realize how often Bechtel keeps winning at other NNSA sites.
Just submit a very low bid that is irresistible to the stewards of the purse.


Anonymous said...

"I couldn't imagine a procurement situation in which UC could overcome its poor past performance but then, I didn't realize how often Bechtel keeps winning at other NNSA sites.
Just submit a very low bid that is irresistible to the stewards of the purse.


The UC pitch could be something like this, UC ran the science part of LANL very well so it is those managers that are being put forth in the new bid but the rest that had been associated the WIPP, safety, near misses etc are not part of the new team. This way that can say they keeping the best part and changing the rest so the whole past performance issue is addressed. Is that what they mean by clever?

Anonymous said...

Here is older rumor but was brought up again. It is that UC actually was trying to get out LANS sometime ago as they felt that they had effectively been forced out of any kind of control. This also goes along with the talk that doing the first year of LANS that there was a war for control and UC lost. If this was true I guess legally they could not get out of the contract and shows how utterly messed up LANS is/was. Back in 2008 or so there was also lots of talk that academic and industrial partners could not work together.

Anonymous said...

I found a few older posts that seem appropriate for this thread.

While the privatization has certainly brought in some very lousy corporate deadwood and grafters, if you look closely you will see that the science was principally destroyed by the managers who had been at LANL since the UC era. They simply were given free reign, astronomical salaries and bonuses, and absolute power by the LLC. We cannot hope to start healing and rebuilding science at LANL with these people remaining in power. Any serious effort must begin with throwing the bums out.

May 1, 2017 at 12:55 AM

This is what happened last time: Lab managers who joined the LANS bid team and helped write the bid were amply rewarded afterward. The rewards included large pay increases, promotions to higher posts, and a license to kill, so to speak. And kill they did. That's how the theory division got destroyed, just to name an example -- see who was involved. And the same guys are now going to latch onto the next team. It's actually very convenient for them that the damage they caused over the past ten years can be vaguely blamed on "for-profit privatization".

May 1, 2017 at 10:16 AM
No, but only LANL managers will be trusted by the bid teams to work in their favor (as prospective managers, Duh!). Get used to the real world. No outside bid team is going to trust employees outside of management and who have made plain in public that they hate management. Get it? The teams are bidding to MANAGE THE LABORATORY, not to be representatives of the employees. The prospective bid organizations will choose their teams as they want, and if you don't like it, you have the same remedy as the LANL managers on the losing bid team have - bye!

May 1, 2017 at 8:58 PM
You didn't write the word "whip", but you meant it. Don't play stupid now. And you are also confusing Cause and Effect when you talk about "management-haters". True, the vast majority of scientists and engineers at LANL have no confidence in today's management, but that is a consequence of inept, dysfunctional and often malicious management actions. It's not that the Lab somehow started out with irrational, "management-hating" workforce.

Now, given that there is a broad consensus that the current management team has failed, why on earth would the new bid team want them on board or even seek their opinions? You think the team cannot bring in external experts? The statement that "only LANL managers will be trusted by the bid teams to work in their favor" is absurd. As is the assertion that "No outside bid team is going to trust employees outside of management".

Throw the bums out!

May 2, 2017 at 10:46 AM

Anonymous said...

"Clever". I will hold my laughter... I bet they felt "clever" when they invited industrial partners to re-win the contract before.

Anonymous said...

“Clever” is not a word I would use to describe UC or LANS management. Unless of course it precedes the words, “ a fox.”

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