Monday, August 29, 2005

Best wishes to the contestants in this week's oral exams

Comment from the

http://lanl-the-real-story.blogspot.com/2005/08/more-on-lanl-macintosh.html

post:

Well, it does begin to sound as if KOB did actually jump the gun on this one. Yippee, chalk one up for UC. Why is it, though, that UC & LANL can't even win one without sounding like the Keystone Kops?

Best wishes to the contestants in this week's oral exams, while we're at it.

Comments:
Geez Louize. Let it be over. UC can't do anything right: it has been demonstrated repeatedly. Let's just get the damn bidding process over with so that we can get on with our lives.
 
I'm a LANL retiree and I hope that UC retains the contract, but realistically I thinks the odds are 60/40 in favor of Lockheed (or pessimistically 70/30).

For you physicists, think in terms of branching ratios and randomness.
 
For you physicists, think in terms of "UC has lost the contract, no matter who wins". It would be either the Lockheed Martin consortium or the UC Bechtel consortium that takes over next. UC has lost, no matter what.

Randomize that.
 
To 5:57 pm:

I echo your comments. It is amazing to me how many people think that "UC" can "retain" the contract. Listen, folks: UC did not bid!! Therefore, cannot win. The RFP required a completely separate company be formed to bid on the contract. I don't know what the Lockheed-led "company" is calling itself, but the UC-led company is Los Alamos National Security, LLC. UC is permanently gone no matter what happens, including your UC benefits, UC retirement funds, 403b (the new corporation won't qualify - it must be a 401k), immunity from state gross receipts taxes, 3161 eligibility for previously RIFed employees, etc. Get educated.
 
to 8:17pm. You are correct to first order. However, UC has asked permission to continue the current retirement program should the LANS bid win. So it may not be quite as you say.
 
The DOE's RFP specifically states the pension must be a separate LLC
managed entity. There is no possible way that UC/Bechtel can continue
the UCRS pension for employees after June 1st. Really, I wonder if
some of you have bothered to study what the RFP has to say. Statements
like "UC has asked for permission to continue the current pension" make
absolutely no sense in the context of the current RFP.

And the previous posts are right on target about UC not bidding. If
the UC/Bechtel LLC partnership wins, we will be employees of the LLC,
and not UC. Come June 1st, we will be entering a very different world.
It's time to either embrace this new reality, or to move on to another
job or retire.
 
I'm not making this up. Dynes said in his letter to the staff that they've asked for an exception to the RFP requirements should they win the contract. They indicate
they will meet all the requirements but have asked for this exception for staff retention purposes. There, of course, is no guarantee that if they win that they will be given this exemption, but then they bid the current UCRP plan at Berkeley when DOE required something else. Of course, there was only one bidder, so it was difficult to reject it.
 
Regarding benefits, 5:57 PM and 8:17 PM have it right, there will be no more UC (although it will be interesting to see if david's 4:44 comment comes to pass should UC somehow pull ahead and win).

But 5:57, 8:17 and others forget an important aspect of UC: oversight of science programs. Yes, they have totally mismanaged our business systems, and have let us get into this management quagmire that we're in which affects all of our programs. But, to their credit, they have engaged in the external review of our technical divisions. I know, I've been involved in many external reviews within my own LANL division.

It is uncertain whether LM can compare regarding the scientific oversight that UC brings, and should continue to bring in the form of an LLC. It has not yet been shown that LM is capable of managing science.

For those who want "hard data", here are some recent publication numbers for LANL, LLNL (UC managed), and Sandia (LM managed):

LANL:
2003 Phys. Rev. Letters 137
2003 Nature articles 16
2004 Phys. Rev. Letters 148
2004 Nature articles 21

LLNL:
2003 Phys. Rev. Letters 91
2003 Nature articles 8
2004 Phys. Rev. Letters 100
2004 Nature articles 11

Sandia:
2003 Phys. Rev. Letters 34
2003 Nature articles 0
2004 Phys. Rev. Letters 31
2004 Nature articles 2
(one of the 2004 Nature articles by CPR himself).

These data simply show that Sandia is not an organization whose focus is science, but on weapons engineering, a fact we already knew, and in no way should be construed in an elitist manner. These data do, however, reinforce my point that LM has no track record of managing science. It was necessary for LM to gather a rather large consortium of universities to begin to compare to UC's scientific credentials, and it is uncertain whether LM will be able to effectively manage and use this academic consortium to their benefit, again not having a demonstrated track record for scientific management.

LM may potentially bring better management structures, which could have a positive effect on science at LANL, but can they oversee and nuture the current science, provide the appropriate peer review, and have the vision to guide future science in the right directions for our programmatic needs?
 
I believe that the data from Anonymous : 8/31/2005 05:17:23 PM is correct. And, the conclusion, that SANDIA is an engineering laboratory is also correct.

BUT, as we at LANL have found out: doing good science (and lots of it) in a DOE laboratory is like wetting your pants in a dark suit: it gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices. (And, nobody gives a damn!)
 
If science were really done in a political vacuum your defense of UC might be valid, but in fact science here at LANL, and for that matter anywhere it is government funded, is always done in a highly political environment, and UC doesn’t have an impressive record of managing the DOE politics, while SNL has done considerably better. In the academic world publications are the metric, but in the political world, visible, demonstrable results are the metric with more leverage. So it's not so much that SNL is more of an engineering lab, though that is certainly true. What is relevant if we get LM/UT as a manager is that they know how to work the political system to our advantage.
 
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