Monday, April 11, 2005



APRIL 11, 2005



Audio: (News Center, Audio/Visual) or call
800-545-1267 ext. 309

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today issued the
following statement regarding the decision of Sandia National
Laboratories director, Dr. C. Paul Robinson, to leave his post to head
up the Lockheed Martin Corp. bid for the management and operations
contract at Los Alamos National Laboratory:

"I believe Paul Robinson's decision is significant because
of the expertise he will bring to the Lockheed Martin bid. Paul has
worked at Los Alamos, and he has been a terrific director at Sandia.
I'm sad he's leaving Sandia, but his departure and new role certainly
tells me that Lockheed Martin is intent on putting together a
competitive bid. I think he will play a formidable role, and I think
he helps Lockheed Martin proposal immensely.

"The bidding for the Los Alamos contract will be
competitive. My ultimate interest is in having the new contract end
up being the best for the lab workers, pensioners and, of course, the
lab in its totality. I think the University of California and
Lockheed Martin, and possibly other interested parties, are working
toward this goal.

"I look forward to working with Tom Hunter as the new
director at Sandia. This is a superb choice, and I think his
experience in heading the weapons program at Sandia puts him in a good
position do well as director."

Well, now. It sure sounds like Pete Dominici is saying "Hook'em Horns!"

UC might have had a shot at preserving any chances that remained at winning the recompete, had they gotten off their butts and implemented some kind of damage control, any kind of damage control after Nanos had spun completely out of control last July. Their inaction tells the tale -- they are not up to the task of running LANL.

UC has richly earned the right to lose the competition. LockMart (and Paul Robinson) will be a refreshing, positive change to LANL when they win.

Yes, I think they will win.
I agree with the 5:21 PM post. I think that UC ought to just throw in the towel right now!
I've been searching for a for a reason, _any_ reason other than incompetance that would explain UC's complete silence and total inactivity on the subject of Peter G. Nanos.

Not having any luck, so I'll just have to say, "Hook'em Horns". Oh, and "Welcome, Paul!"
First Ev Beckner, now Paul Robinson. Looks like LockMart is putting together a winning team. UC and Bechtel might as well save their money and no-bid.
I don't believe we can lose. If UC plays tough and cans Nanos and gets a great interim director, the people will rally and the UC would have a good chance even at this late date. That would be good. If they sit on their can and do nothing, we'll still have a great team in Lockheed/Martin/UT to work for. That's good also. Two out of two ain't bad.
You might as well ask Bob Dynes to launch a couple of flying pigs while you're at it.

Reality time, dude. UC had the opportunity to fix the problems their boy caused and chose instead to hide their heads in the sand, hoping the problem would fix itself. Guess what, it didn't happen.

Time for a better manager at LANL.
Yowza! It might actually be worth sticking around!
Don't you love to watch St. Pete play all sides, always amusing.

I must admit, I have a hard time seeing why UC would bid.
...Except for the ready-to-retire, who will not do well under LockMart/UT.
...Except if you had hopes for science in your career.
But all these things were fore-ordained by the BuSHITes, who drooled for four years just thinking about privatizing LANL.
C'est la vie, mes amis!
I'm mid-career, and frankly am ready to work for a manager that's competent, deft, astute, respected, efficient, rational, self-disciplined, and understands what we do and how hard it is to do it.

LockMart & C. Paul Robinson sure look like they got a good opportunity to fulfill that potential.

UC sure isn't it. They hired an impulsive, emotionally immature fool who plunged the Lab in the can and took a plunger to it to make sure it went down, all in fraudulent name of 'culture change.' Why in the world would I support such idiots for a new contract? For a slightly fatter pension after 20 years of suffering more malignent neglect?

I hope LockMart doesn't let us down if it wins. Right now I don't see how it could not.
About 15 months ago a very wise friend told me that I should never discount UT in LANL's "situation." He stated that the UT staff is VERY, VERY clever, and that he would not be at all surprised if they finally ended up with the contract. I was puzzled since UT withdrew from the bidding a while back,but my wise friend seems to be on to something!

It seems to me that perhaps the Powers that Be in D. C. have watched in amusement as UC has allowed Director Nanos to destroy the LANL workforce's confidence and trust in the University of California.

Was Brooks involved in this? How about UC? Foley? Nanos? Were the very people that UC hired to assist them with the rebid put there in order to ruin UC's reputation at LANL so that another university, UT, would have the best opportunity to win the contract?

Isn't it amazing that the LANL workforce seems to welcome UT with open arms after their mistreatment at the hands of Director Nanos? Did UC offer at any time to intervene and stop the madness?? Did Brooks? Did Foley? Did our congressional delegation?

UC will probably have NO problem at all when the Livermore contract comes up for rebid if UT gets to take over LANL.

My friend was right. The UT administration is,indeed, very,very clever:-)
Truly a hand well-played by LM and UT.
As the old Chinese curse goes, "May you get everything you wish for."
I'm wishing for a birth certificate that makes me 10 years older.
Are you getting the picture, UC? We hate Nanos so much, the staff is
now getting giddy over the idea of LockMart/UT/Robinson taking over
the helm at Los Alamos. UC has totally blown it. We have all grown weary
of their neglect.
Oakland Tribune
April 12, 2005

Sandia leader taking on UC Laboratory chief steps down to join Lockheed's bid for Los Alamos deal

By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER

The longtime head of Sandia National Laboratories is stepping aside and leading Lockheed Martin's effort to wrest operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory away from the University of California.

If Lockheed succeeds, physicist and former arms-control negotiator C. Paul Robinson would return to Los Alamos, where he began his defense science career in the mid-1960s, as the lab's chief executive.

The move fleshes out a struggle between the nation's largest research university and largest defense contractor, as well as others, over who will run the birthplace of the bomb and be responsible for most of the nuclear explosives in the U.S. arsenal.

Ever since former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham opened Los Alamos' operating contract to competitive bid, roughly a dozen engineering and defense firms have lined up for the $60 million-a-year contract.

But only Lockheed Martin has a track record of operating large nuclear weapons labs, including Sandia sites in New Mexico and Livermore, and, as part of a consortium, the United Kingdom's Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston.

"It's a really savvy bid on the part of Lockheed Martin. It's a way of bringing experienced nuclear-weapons people in from New Mexico," said Hugh Gusterson, an MIT cultural anthropologist who has studied the bomb labs and written extensively about their adjustments to the end of the Cold War.

The notion of Sandians running Los Alamos marks a turn of fortunes for the two labs. Sandia National Laboratories was born in 1946 as a division of Los Alamos, and the chief mission of Sandia's main site in Albuquerque remains engineering the non-nuclear components of Los Alamos' bombs and warheads. Sandia's Livermore site performs the same work on explosives designed at Lawrence Livermore lab.

Sandia changed managers in the mid-1990s from AT&T but retains the most button-down, corporate culture of the nation's three labs, next to Los Alamos' collegiate feel and Lawrence Livermore's freewheeling air, influenced by Silicon Valley.

Gusterson isn't sure Los Alamos is ready to be governed by Sandians.

"If they were to win and bring in a team, it would cause a lot of discontent at Los Alamos," he said. "There's this very cautious Sandia culture, they do things by the book. It keeps them very scandal-free, but it also keeps them in danger of becoming science-free."

Robinson disagrees. He's been director and president of Sandia for 10 years, one of the longest tenures for a weapons lab chief. Los Alamos wouldn't be another Sandia under Lockheed, he said.

"I would consider that a very unlikely outcome. I was thinking I might do away with the wearing of ties up there," he joked. "The (three weapons) labs are and will remain very different entities than their management and operating contractors."

What Robinson does plan to bring from Sandia is competent, day-to-day operations and a balance of applied weapons work with open-ended science and technology.

"I've been arguing that good operational support is not a hindrance to doing good research but probably a precursor to doing research well," he said.

Effective April 29, Tom Hunter will take over as director and president of Sandia. For five years, Hunter has been senior vice president for Sandia's defense programs, commanding the 60 percent of the lab that works on nuclear weapons. Before Robinson tapped him for that job, Hunter led Sandia-California, a lab employing about 800 in Livermore.
From the previous stream, we hear from the Devil (or at least his Advocate):

"Don't be so damn sure that LLNL will stay with UC. Remember the argument for keeping LANL and LLNL under the SAME MANAGEMENT--'friendly competition'? If LANL goes to LockMart/UT, and with Sandia under same, the Bush gang will make it 3 for 3 with LLNL in 2 years. Why move to LLNL for 2 years, just to be snapped up by LockMart?"

-Devil's Advocate
I am a LANL retiree who completely enjoyed my time at Los Alamos. I led a division which was at the forefront of the impacts caused by the tiger teams(in fact we had the privelege of hosting the first one long before they hit the Lab as a whole) and the "new" navy culture brought in by DOE back in the late 1980's. Even with all that came upon us, research and development did not suffer, but flourished and took on new directions. I never found the management by UC to be a hindrance or an asset-- it was for all intents and purposes invisible. If there was any visibility to their management, it was in the "true lack of competition between LANL and LLNL". That may sound strange to most of you, but I saw too many times where we were forced to not press the issue when our "West coast friends" made programmatic promises to DOE which we all knew they could never deliver. I have felt for some time that the nation would be better served if the two Labs were truly competitive by having separate management. Welcome back Paul, it was nice working with you in the past.
Burn Zazobra and then burn Nanos. Out will dumb ass Pete!
A new Los Alamos fiesta!
I continue to be amazed that people are insulted when Nanos stoops to name-calling but feel THEY have the right to behave in exactly the same manner (in this case, I'm referring to the 1:32 post). I believe you lose credibility and support when you complain about a behavior that you obviously practice. As a retired Lab employee, I understand the current frustration of the staff, BUT I have been disappointed that very little of the comments to the site offer any constructive criticism but rather just seem to focus on venting. I know that the staff at LANL are exceptionally talented and creative and I have expected to see positive and creative suggestions for improving the existing situation. After all, it is definitely a challenge and that is where I found the staff to excel. Suggestions made here will likely affect the ideas proposed in the upcoming bids. Take some control over the future and focus on what CAN be done to improve performance and life at LANL. Make a difference!
That's why this blog has lost its impact.
Has it? The hitmeter still registers a healty visitation. All the big players still read it throughout the day. I rather suspect that one, or even a few immature posters do not seriously detract from the information flow the blog provides.

I mean, look at the 4/12/2005 05:45:28 PM comment, and I am still here.

Well said, 4/12/2005 05:33:16 PM. I've been trying for weeks to get people to focus on what the "Ideal LANL" organization and mission might be, and it seems to quickly descend to name-calling. We have some very smart people here, but very few strategic thinkers who can conceive and articulate a vision of the future.

Once more, any visionaries out there?

I'm afraid that it does not take a visionary to see that the long term solution to LANL's current problems requires a short term action before any recovery strategies can be considered. That is, get Nanos and many of the ADs and SET members out of here. Until then, there is far too much acrimony for any kind of a healing process to allow us to start looking forward. In fact, the very presence of Nanos and his chosen few by definition makes it impossible for LANL to improve its current situation.

I think most people realize that the answer lies in fresh leadership, and that certainly does not include UC.
Well, 5:33, it seems like the tide has turned toward desiring new leadership. As far as those still here, all we can do is wait and see what happens. I agree, no need for namecalling, etc. See what comes along and go from there.

As you brought it up, I did not see any strategic constructive criticism in your comment. Mine would be to be prepared for whatever might happen, and take control of your personal life, where you CAN have an effect on your future.

While I'm sure the Director would sign the paperwork for you to return in an instant, the reality is very few people "make a difference" as far as LANL goes. In their personal lives, sure. At LANL? Get serious. If they did, potential bidders would not have wanted to have the "job guarantee" clause removed from the RFP. These bidders want to decide who "makes a difference" at LANL. By their mere request to have the RFP changed, it implies they believe everyone does not.
Whine, moan and complain. Thus is the bulk of the content on this blog, and it's been very repetitious for quite a while now. Any suggestion to focus on what can be done to improve things from within is quickly shouted down from within.

The myopic visionaries here cannot see beyond their sole goal of removing Nanos; only then can the healing somehow begin. Some vision. No wonder the instutition is taking a dive.

Yes, Nanos will leave. There will be a new team in place, no matter who wins the contract. So take it as a given, myopics; Nanos will be gone. Will you be on record with recommendations for improving things at LANL beyond "first, let's kill all the managers?" I think not.

The myopics here richly deserve what will happen to them, as they've definitely staked out their position as a large part of the problem.
I'm curious exactly what the 4/15/2005 05:39:42 PM poster thought he was bringing to the table with his comment. All he succeded in accomplishing as far as I am concerned was demonstrating that he is a pretty unpleasant individual. If you don't have something constructive to say here, how about not taking up space.
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