Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lockheed Adds Partners to LANL Bid
By Adam Rankin
Journal Staff Writer

The day after the University of California announced it would fight to retain management of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the university's primary opponent took steps to strengthen its own team.

Lockheed Martin, which earlier this month partnered with the University of Texas to compete for the LANL contract, announced the addition of Fluor Corp. and CH2M Hill to round out its team.

Lockheed spokesman Don Carson said Fluor— an international construction and engineering company of about 30,000 employees— would be responsible for facility planning, design and development. CH2M Hill, Carson said, will be responsible for handling nuclear operations, including manufacturing weapons components, and environmental cleanup.

UC's team of industrial partners, which includes Bechtel National, Washington Group International and BWX Technologies, are similarly specialized. Though the exact responsibilities haven't been determined, government contractor Bechtel is a global engineering and construction company, BWXT manages government nuclear operations and Washington Group handles environmental cleanup, engineering and construction projects.


Full Story

I just can't wait to see how UC and Lockheed propose to operate with such a three-ring-circus of partners.

I look at what a disfunctional expensive mess KSL is, with just three partners, and the stories from Rocky where the different contractors wouldn't share information because it was 'proprietary' and it looks like we're headed for another situation where there's one bicycle and 10 people tyring to ride it.

UC can't manage LANL competently now when it's mostly vertically integrated, where are they going to get the expertise all of a sudden to manage a host partners?

And does Lockheed have the experience with a host of partners at a National Lab? I don't think SNL works this way, but I'd sure like to hear from a Sandian.

I'm very uncomfortable with all the 'partners' coming to feed at the trough. While reducing risk in some areas, I think it raises the overall risk of management difficulty and loss of accountability just because of all the interfaces, where trouble frequently starts.
The idea of more partners is more lobbyists, more political support, distributed accountability, etc. The DOE and Congress will like this. Nothing at all to do with running the lab any better.
First there was the AEC and UC. Then there was ERDA and UC. Next came DOE and UC, followed by DOE, NNSA, and UC. Now the taxpayers are going to fund Lockheed Martin, Fluor Corp, CH2M Hill, and UT. What a farce!

Who decides how much of the management fee each gets? What happens if they don't talk to each other? How many additional layers of management will there be? How will benefits be structured?

This is a result of the DOE's inability to write an RFP, something I predicted over a year ago. Those in DOE tied to industry can't think out-of-the box. I have to agree with Udall's comments - it is really unfortunate that the DOE structured the RFP in such a way that only large companies would be eligible to apply. One almost wonders if an employee management company would not be a better solution.
Have you seen a pack of lions feeding on a carcass? This is the plan of LM+...+ for LANL. The plan of UC+...+ is to save a piece of LANL, and give the rest to lions from its "pack". Spectacular fights within the winning pack, whichever it would be, are certain.
Cameras? Action.
The whole process is getting too complex. There are so many actors now that Linton Brooks has run out of fingers and toes to keep track of them. What's next?
How likely is it that a decision will be reached by Decmeber. Seems they can't even get the contract extended past September 30. One might have thought that would have happened with the RFP announcement on May 19.
An interesting, albeit unlikely situation, would have been that UC declines to bid and then refuses the contract extension in October.
Regarding the DOE's management of the bidding process: The DOE could screw up a wet dream.
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