Thursday, April 14, 2005



Pace's Place
(by Pace van Devender)

Lockheed Martin bids on LANL
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a great scientific asset-and they are our partners in CINT. They have about twice as many scientists and half as many engineers as we do. Their technical contributions are world class.

They have even been able to continually increase their publication rate since the end of the Cold War, as shown in the following graphic of publications per year in a five-year moving window used to smooth the data. (unfortunately, the graphic didn't come through)

They have had an extraordinarily hard time in the last few years. We can learn a great deal from their experience-including the importance of every Sandian and Sandia contractor integrating ES&H and Security into his or her work practices. Hopefully, this contract cycle will let LANL make a new start-regardless of who wins. I am pleased that NNSA changed the RFP; the new features are significant in that they make it possible that the winning bidder might be able to help the situation. Lockheed Martin changed its mind and is now planning to bid. I think that the decision offers NNSA and LANL more options and is a good thing.

LANL technical talent is a great national asset. We need to do what we can to ensure it continues to provide such service. During the last year, I have received many calls from LANL personnel who have had enough. Except in cases of great pain, I encourage them to stay the course and keep their talent available to the future of LANL.

New BUZZ Topic
What do you think about Lockheed Martin's bid for Los Alamos? What would their winning mean for Sandia? What unintended negative consequences would we need to mitigate? Go to the BUZZ to contribute to the discussion.

Posted by D
In Reply To: LockHeed Martin's Bid on LANL Posted by Pace VanDevender on 4/7/2005 at 8:44:59 AM
Although normally not considered the cheerleader type, I am particularly excited about the possibility of LMC winning the M&O contract for LANL. I see much more upside than downside.

As a US citizen and taxpayer, I am hoping for increased efficiency and reduced costs for the complex through consolidation and standardization of personnel practices and acquisitions between the two labs. I anticipate better and more effective governance of LANL should LMC enforce more business-like (and Sandia-like) management practices -- although I appreciate that it will take considerable effort and non-trivial pain to change the LANL culture. As with many others, I anticipate an initial exodus of those LANL employees who are already heavily vested under the UC retirement system. However, the exodus will certainly be one way to impact the existing LANL culture.

Most of all, I am excited about the possibilities of enhanced program integration between LANL and Sandia. I have watched for years as the Z machine and Area IV were unfairly attacked as being "outside" Sandia's mission space. It is my hope that a unified management system might lead to a closer integration of DOE investments and fewer fences between the programs at both sites -- beyond the pilot interactions pioneered by CINT.

Posted by anon on 4/7/2005 at 10:21:53 AM
In Reply To: LockHeed Martin's Bid on LANL Posted by Pace VanDevender on 4/7/2005 at 8:44:59 AM
It would a great opportunity and probably mean a great deal more contracts in dealing with Lockheed. On the negative side both Sandia and Lockheed would have to work to improve the old image that the operations will not be "tarnished" as in previous media reports of LANL.

Look! Sandia has an internal web news source that supports anonymous posting of comments.

Just like our blog.

I did enjoy the positive tone of both the article and the comments. It will be nice to feel welcomed and appreciated again.
Hey I've got some bad news for you. A
Sandia manager told me that they keep a tag on "anonymous" posts to track down any malcontent, etc. There used to be a Sandia-wide blog monthly question thing, but people started getting "uppity" so it was shut down.

The first thing that will happen at LANL when SNL takes over is that this Blog here will get deep-sixed.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to log all IP addresses that visit a web site. Actually, this is a strong argument for keeping blogs like lanl-the-real-story "privately" owned and operated. While we are on the subject, it is well within a government employee's rights to excersize his first amendment rights, via blogging, should it be so desired.

Were it not, don't you think LANL would have fired Roberts by now?
With regard to the initial posting, there is no culture problem here at LANL. The people here do their best in a very bad system that blames employees for inadequate controls. The culture problem is with the management that refuses to admit its failure and fix the problem. The people here take their safety and security responsibilities very seriously. I would refer you to Brad Holians excellent article in Physics Today which dispells the Nanos lie about culture problems at LANL.
Get out of denial. The culture needs a major change. It is not soley the managers fault.
It will be interesting to get LM's read on the subject of blogs. In one sense, the lanl blog was instrumental in publicizing and helping to make general knowledge the problems of the current managment regime at lanl. Yet in another sense, this blog reflected mostly positive opinions on the subject of Paul Robinson and LM as the potential new managers of lanl.

In general, my beliefs echo those expressed earlier, somehwere else regarding the blog, paraphrased loosly as: a managment culture that cannot withstand the rigors that on open venue of discussion provides probably suffers from sufficient internal problems that a blog will merely accelerated its demise. On the other hand, a healthy management structure likely not only has nothing to fear from the openness that a blog can provide, but can benefit from it.
The same goes for a union. A competent management has nothing to fear from a union; our present INcompetent management is scared shitless of criticism.
You are right a compotnet management has nothing to fear when it comes to unions. The workers have something to fear when it comes to unions. That my friend is why union membership is at an all time low and getting lower.
In the climate of ENRON CEO morality and Fox News mentality, workers are told that they should fear unions.
Gee, I wonder why THAT would be...?
Who could POSSIBLY benefit from that...?
-Or the super-rich guys?
As a grunt worker, I don't want *another* level of bureacracy to dictate what I can and cannot do. That is why I will resist unions until the day that I die.
And by the day you die, your worker rights will have been wittled down to nothing. At the rate we are going in this country, slavery may someday be talked about as a viable condition for holding a job.
What's your point 12:33?

Nah, the US will eventually join the rest of the world, like LANL is joining the rest of the US now.
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