Friday, March 11, 2005

Northrop builds a team to lead bid for LANL

Northrop builds a team to lead bid for LANL
Santa Fe New Mexican…Diana Heil
March 11, 2005

As the competition to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory nears,
Northrop Grumman Corp. has assembled a team to run head-tohead with the
University of California and Bechtel National.

Northrop Grumman will have the lead role in a partnership with CH2M Hill
of Denver, which would handle environmental cleanup and manufacture
triggers for nuclear weapons. “We’re pressing ahead,” David Amerine of
CH2M Hill said in an interview Thursday. A third player, Teledyne Brown,
would cover minor aspects of operations. The team hasn’t settled on a
university partner yet.

Last week in Washington, D.C., the trio met with the board overseeing the
competition . Amerine said his team suggested ways to make the contest
less slanted toward the University of California, the lab’s operator since
its inception in 1943.

The scoring system in the request for proposals — a draft document at this
point — puts too much weight on science and technology and not enough
emphasis on environmental cleanup and the manufacturing of triggers,
Amerine said.

In the latest version of the bidding criteria, the government increased
the amount of money the next lab operator could make, from the previous
figure of $30 million a year to about $60 million. The Northrop Grumman
team suggested raising the lucre even higher along with higher financial
risk, or offering a small base fee with the possibility to earn much more
depending on good performance .

At last week’s meeting, the trio asked federal officials how serious the
Energy Department is about bringing management change to Los Alamos.

“I genuinely have the impression that the Department of Energy is
interested in change,” Amerine said, “but there are other political
factors at play.”

After a series of security, safety and business lapses in the past few
years, then-Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Congress decided to
put the Los Alamos management contract out to bid for the first time in
history . A new contractor could be selected as soon as October .

Bidders will be scored, in part, on the senior laboratory leadership they
propose. Northrop Grumman has taken the bold move of advertising five top
positions at LANL, including the deputy director’s seat, in The Washington
Post and elsewhere.

UC regents have yet to vote on whether to enter the competition and won’t
do so until the final request for proposals is published. However, the
university is reviewing potential senior managementteam members and
considering a full range of candidates, including the incumbents, school
spokesman Chris Harrington said.

The University of California and Northrop Grumman, which has offices in
New Mexico, could turn out to be the top two contenders; however , some
interested parties are choosing to keep silent. Nuclear Watch of New
Mexico — in concert with other anti-nuke groups — is gearing up for the

Those who say they’ve dropped out of the race as prime bidders include:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Battelle Memorial Institute, University of Texas,
Texas A & M University and Computer Sciences Corp.

"Northrop Grumman has taken the bold move of advertising five top positions at LANL, including the deputy director’s seat, in The Washington
Post and elsewhere."

Since they are not searching for a director, it might mean they already have a director chosen. It would certainly be interesting to know who that is.
We know who it ain't!
Northrop Grumman and its partner are big in the Navy.. I wouldnt be so sure that you know who it is yet.
Maybe you shouldn't overestimate the support a certain person has in the US Navy, even among his contemporaries. We are perfectly satisfied that he has managed to run aground at 7,000 feet ABOVE SEA LEVEL.
I found this line from the article disturbing;

"The scoring system in the request for proposals ... puts too much weight on science and technology and not enough emphasis on environmental cleanup and the manufacturing of triggers"

Isn't LANL's primary mission science and technology?

They also feel they should get more money? To do what? Just hire a new director/senior management team and write their annual performance appraisals. If a new contractor takes over, they will have to show (DOE/Congress/Tax Paying Public) major visible changes around LANL that go beyond just replacing UC on the business cards and letterhead if they want to justify a $60 million fee every year.

I surfed around the Northrop Grumman (NG) website and found nothing that would indicate to me that they have the experience to really run such a huge and complex operation as LANL. Especially when its the Information Technology section that has the posting for future positions at LANL if they win the contract.

I also suspect that one of the first things NG would do is have its lawyers shut down this blog. Similar to what Yahoo did when one of its employees started a blog - they also fired him. They claimed his comment that "Yahoo was doing very well" might be considered insider information and get the company in hot water with the SEC. I doubt NG would put up with this public airing of LANL's (and NG's) internal issues and specific discussions on how well NG does its business - wouldn't want NG stockholders/investors get skittish about their stock prices by thinking NG wasn't running LANL properly.

And as far as CH2M Hill goes, they seem to excel at cleaning up closed military bases and decommissioned DOE nuclear sites.

It seems like DOE/Congress needs to decide what sort of lab they want LANL to become under a new contractor; a world class institution based on a college campus model with academic freedom and creativity as its pillars or one based on the standard industrial model with customer/stockholder satisfaction and returns on investments as its guiding principles.
Northrup Grumman is a bloated beaurocracy sucking on the teat of the federal gov't. We had better hope they go away.

My son worked for them right out of school. After a few frustrating years, he took his four patent applications to another company and is now thriving as a young new scientist/engineer.

Grumman is nothing more than a collection of technically challenged losers hanging on as "udder" wards of the federal government.
Check that: "bureaucracy"...can't believe I did that.
We're witnessing the looting of the Federal government by politically
connected corporations. Take the cash and run, cowboys. Yeee Hawww!

NG is a big contributor to the dominant political party in America.
They are also a large reason why the situation in Iraq is currently so
FU'ed. Read below about Northrop Grumman's company, Vinnell Corp.

And you thought our friends at Halliburton/KSL were bad with the
facilities contract at LANL? Just wait till NG takes over:

Vinnell's Army on the Defensive

Forget Halliburton. The vice president's former company may keep
getting the headlines for its hefty contracts in Iraq and Pentagon
overcharging, but it's not the private company that's so badly botched
the training of the new Iraqi Army that the Jordanian Army has been
hastily brought in to finish the job.

That firm is Vinnell Corp. of Alexandria, Va., owned by politically
connected Northrop-Grumman. Its errors in training a new Iraqi Army
have undermined the creation of one of the most important institutions
in a post-Saddam Iraq—a national army, senior American intelligence
and military analysts say.


And I agree with the poster who said NG will probably send their
lawyers to Doug's front door and shut this blog down in no time
flat if they take the contract. Heck, they may even do it before
that time if they feel it is hurting their odds at winning the RFP.
Ok, I'll bite: how would NG shut down Doug's blog before they get the contract?
LANL will have bigger problems than who the Director is if NG is chosen.

I can tell you that Northrop, before they consolidated to become NG, had the WORST reputation as a place to work in Southern California among engineers. These guys were the first to lay people off when things got tough.

These guys are not stupid and they are not wimps. If they decide they need to get rid of people, they will do so in a manner so they are tough to sue. That might be an entire organization, say a Division, or a system based on seniority, or maybe everyone who is not "protected" in some manner. They definitely believe that if they need someone, they'll just put out an ad and hire them, just as they are doing now.

I've said it several times before, and I'll say it again, most people here have no clue just how different working for these type of companies will be.

As far as Bechtel, they're a construction firm from way back. There is no touting of science and technology on their website. They do what they do and make no pretension of doing anything else. They are operations focused. Do you think they are doing S&T in Nevada?
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