Saturday, April 02, 2005

LANL Competition Shifts

Albuquerque Journal North
Saturday, April 2, 2005

LANL Competition Shifts

By Adam Ranking
Journal Staff Writer

The recent announcement that Lockheed Martin is re-entering the competition to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory took the University of Texas, which pulled itself out of the running in February, by surprise.

"It is very recent news to us," said University of Texas System spokesman Anthony de Bruyn. "We haven't even had a chance to discuss any other possibilities."

De Bruyn said the university's regents don't have formal discussions scheduled on the LANL competition for any of their upcoming meetings.

On Tuesday, Lockheed officials, who had bowed out in August, announced the company would enter the competition to manage the LANL contract. A company spokesman said Lockheed changed course after Energy Department officials in February made the competition more fair and doubled the potential management fee from $30 million to $60 million.

In a statement issued on Thursday addressing Lockheed's move, the University of Texas System said it "welcomes further discussions and dialogue about ways to build on our contribution to the science and security of our nation and the national laboratories," suggesting that the school will likely reconsider a possible LANL bid.

Before withdrawing from the competition last fall, Lockheed Martin was in talks about partnering with the University of California to run Los Alamos and was rumored to be in talks with the University of Texas, as well.

After approving $500,000 in spending early in 2004 to prepare for a possible Los Alamos bid, University of Texas regents voted unanimously in February to withdraw from the competition, saying they were unable to find a suitable partner.

De Bruyn said that, until University of Texas officials and regents discussed what Lockheed's return means, they are not going to say much.

A statement released by the university on Thursday says that Lockheed rightly deserves praise as the current manager of Sandia National Laboratories and highlighted the university's partnerships with the defense contractor.

Shortly after the University of Texas withdrew from the LANL competition in February, the university and Sandia announced an extended peer review, education and research agreement, making the Texas school more involved with the Albuquerque-based national laboratory.

"We view this agreement between UT System and Sandia as a model of university/industrial partnerships with a national laboratory," the statement reads.

In 2002, the University of Texas lost a bid to manage Sandia to Lockheed.

Comments:
I'm curious: Can anyone think of a high-profile, skilled leader that a Texas/LockMart collaboration might be able to entice into the job currently occupied by the nanodirector? I don't think Paul Robinson is a realistic option.
 
Paul is it assuming Lockheed Martin is the successful bidder. Having a seasoned director of his caliber will be like day following the night that we now find ourselves stumbling about in.
 
Go UT -
 
Hookem Horns
 
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