Tuesday, May 17, 2005
In a chess game for control of U.S. nuclear weapons design, the University of California has tapped the director of Lawrence Livermore weapons lab to fight for continued university management of Los Alamos lab in New Mexico.
Physicist and bomb designer Michael Anastasio becomes the last major piece in the university's attempt to fend off challenges from two huge defense contractors and persuade the U.S. Department of Energy that it should keep running the nation's largest weapons laboratory as it has for 62 years.
LETTER TO LLNL EMPLOYEES
I am writing to let you know that the University of California and Bechtel National have named Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio to lead the competition preparations team for the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract. Mike will lead the competition team that includes the University, Bechtel National, BWX Technologies Inc., and Washington Group International in order to ensure that we have the best proposal possible should the UC Board of Regents decide to compete.
In his distinguished career at the Livermore Laboratory, including the last three years as director, Mike has shown a true understanding of the central role of science at the UC-managed national laboratories and has demonstrated, time and again, the depth of knowledge and expertise required to provide the best possible leadership for this competition. His familiarity with Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University, and the missions of both institutions -- as well as the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy -- makes him an excellent choice for this key position.
Mike will continue to serve as director of the Livermore Laboratory throughout the Los Alamos competition process. The strong existing management team at LLNL will assist him in the day-to-day operations of the Laboratory as he assumes these additional responsibilities. During this time he will rely heavily on his senior management team, led by Wayne Shotts, deputy director of Operations; Cherry Murray, deputy director of Science & Technology; George Miller, associate director at large; and Laboratory Executive Officer Ron Cochran.
I know this management team, working with Mike, will ensure that the Livermore Laboratory remains a leader in world-class science and technology for the benefit of national security.
We expect the final request for proposals (RFP) in the LANL competition process to be released very soon. Once that RFP is available, the University will review it and the Board of Regents will decide whether the University will compete for the LANL management contract. As I have stated in the past, it is my sincere hope that the final RFP reflects a strong focus on science and technology, as these are critical to the mission of the national laboratories.
I realize this announcement raises questions about the Livermore Laboratory competition process. As has been discussed previously, we do still expect the Department of Energy to extend the Livermore contract for two years to facilitate the orderly conduct of these laboratory competitions.
As the competition process for each laboratory moves forward, I will be back in touch. If you have comments in the meantime, please feel free to e-mail through my Dynes Desk .... While I cannot respond to messages individually, I will address issues of broad concern on the UC laboratory employee web site at .... in the ... Our University newsletter, periodic web chats, and through other means of communication.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and your efforts to keep your institution at the forefront of research in the national interest.
Robert C. Dynes