Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Editorial: Anxious for a spirited fight for Los Alamos Lab

From Anonymous:

The Albuquerque Tribune
Editorial: Anxious for a spirited fight for Los Alamos Lab

April 16, 2005

It was a stunning but welcome development to learn last week that Lockheed Martin isn't just back in the saddle, bidding on the contract to manage the troubled Los Alamos National Laboratory, but it also is riding with one of the best nuclear-weapons cowboys - C. Paul Robinson.

Tapping Robinson, the head of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, is a dramatic signal that Lockheed isn't messing around in pursuing the job to manage the prestigious Los Alamos Lab, where the first atomic bombs were developed - a lab now floundering in scandal.

The University of California, which has managed the lab since its inception, now finds itself with its first competitive bidding challenge and extremely worthy competitors in Lockheed and Robinson. Lockheed is turning to the best, most experienced gun to win this contract.

A prime defense contractor, Lockheed successfully manages Sandia Labs. Robinson, a nuclear-weapons Cold Warrior, is credited with guiding Sandia through a difficult - but, for Sandia, extremely prosperous - post-Cold War era over the last decade.

A former director of the nuclear weapons division at Los Alamos and once a contender to manage that lab, Robinson would be coming home as the anointed Los Alamos director-designee.

Whether Lockheed wins the bid, we couldn't think of a better person to right the wobbly Los Alamos Lab and re-claim its long-suffering reputation.

Robinson took Sandia from relative obscurity to the top of the national lab heap, demonstrating unequivocally that a national defense lab could also prosper in the academic and commercial worlds, despite its classified environment, through collaborative research projects.

Sandia has a reputation as a "can-do" lab since it was created by President Harry S. Truman. It leads the three nuclear weapons labs in such collaboration and tops the national labs in private-public research that is delivering impressive dividends in U.S. competitiveness.

Robinson is no stranger to national defense issues. Despite intense criticism, he has pushed for advanced nuclear-weapons designs and insists the United States can't afford to let its guard down, even as it presses for global nuclear nonproliferation.

Robinson sees national security in a much broader frame than his contemporaries, arguing that economic, energy and environmental factors are critical to a strong America. For example, he has favored a diverse national energy portfolio, including often-slighted alternative energy research, including nuclear fusion.

Robinson also was the U.S. ambassador to the Joint Verification Agreement in which nuclear weapons teams from the United States and former Soviet Union demonstrated the ability to monitor nuclear weapons tests at each other's test sites.

It is encouraging the Department of Energy, which will review the bids and award the contract, will have a potent corporate model alongside the long-standing academic one to consider in assessing who best can fix what's been wrong at Los Alamos.

We look to a spirited competition and encourage all bidders, including the University of California and its academic collaborators at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech, to make their best pitch.

It's high noon in northern New Mexico. And, frankly, its about time.

Constructive criticism helps to preserve integrity and honesty. It should be done with open discussions when possible. Let (us) at LANL help, them (the prospective bidder) to see how this laboratory is run. The New Partners, (our new partners) will need the resources. After all, many of your parents, in-laws, aunts, and uncle's helped to make this great town. Mountains were a plus. And if you didn't have family here, you saw a book and read about Los Alamos and wanted to be a part of it. You have always been welcomed. You are one of the assets that have made this town great. They were our mentors; you are our children's. The early scientist and engineers carried a greater burden than we do. So thank them. I still see them in town, at church, and at the library. Mangers should do their best to listen, everybody wants to get going again on what we used to do, and did. (GOOD SAFE WORK WAS DONE)
It's the responsibility of the work force and management to communicate with each other, in order to give; to the nation the directions America needs and want's? (And I think they are still asking for? science and weapons) this is what we have been able to provide, as history has shown. Help us show THEM what the Los Alamos National Laboratory is really about. Let us show them rather than they put it onto us.
25 years @ UC/LASL/LANL, in my mid lower 5O's, second job since college, still needing and wanting to work.
Be very, very careful!
No matter how well intentioned, providing inside information that gives one bidder a competitive advantage over another can (and most likely WILL) get you into big trouble from a conflict of interest standpoint and may subject the winning bid to a challenge lawsuit if it is determined that the "inside information" gave the winner a competitive advantage.

The FARs require a level playing field so that all the bidders are working from the same information, distributed through the same official (SEB) channels. Tipping the bid (for or against) a bidder is illegal.

And please don't be so stupid as to do it from a lanl.gov domain!
Well, well, well..."one of the best nuclear-weapons cowboys - C. Paul Robinson"!

Looks like the Trib doesn't mind "cowboys" as much as our "boy" Nanos does!
How can the playing field be level when the UC possesses sixty years worth of inside information?

Corporate confidentiality trumps national security? Interesting...
"Spirited fight?" It will be more like the fight in the rubble of Stalingrad.
Ah, yes. Paul "Crown Jewels" Robinson as Director and LockMart as Contractor. Add the UT Regents, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Bob Barton, and simmer for 5 years. Truly, what a concept!
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