Sunday, September 25, 2005

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA On the Record: Robert Dynes

San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Q: The Los Alamos National Laboratory that the university runs has been rocked in recent years by financial scandals and security and safety issues. The contract is now up for bid. What are you going to do if you lose it?

A: I think you should not only ask that, but what if we win it? Winning it will be a very different world from the world today. "We" is a different entity. "We" is Bechtel, the University of California, the Washington Group and BWX Technologies. It will be run by a board that is separate from the university.

What do we do if we lose? We go on. The University of California's mission, nowhere does it say that we are responsible for the nuclear stockpile in the United States. Our mission is to create new knowledge, create the next generation of creators and take those creations for public service. That's our mission.

Q: To lose the contract would be a big public embarrassment to the university.

A: I believe that we have offered the nation a choice. There are two competitors for this contract. There is a science-and-technology-based group and that is the University of California, Bechtel and the Washington Group. It is unequivocal that our proposal is based on building the best science and technology for national security. There's one choice. The other is a defense contractor. The nation gets to choose whether they want the nuclear weapons programs overseen by a science-and-technology-based organization or a defense contractor.


Full Story

Dynes: "I believe that we have offered the nation a choice. There are two competitors for this contract. There is a science-and-technology-based group and that is the University of California, Bechtel and the Washington Group. It is unequivocal that our proposal is based on building the best science and technology for national security. There's one choice. The other is a defense contractor."

Actually the choice is between an arrogant, incompetent, and corrupt consortium and a defense contractor. UC has shown its colors, I choose the latter.
I support Dynes statement -- the choice is clear. I do believe that the path to a pit manufactoring lab is clear, just vote for LM

However, it does not matter what you or I "choose". The source evaluation board and DOE will make the choice based on evaluation and perhaps *reason*. Anonymous comments posted to the Blog will not influence the SEB any more than graffiti in the bathroom should influence your opinion.
8:11PM, you are probably one of those who believe that this blog had no impact on our former director's expedited departure from the premises, as well.

This blog is read daily by people in government: DOE, the senate, the house, DTRA are daily visitors. The media (NYT, Science, Nature, AP, Physics Today, to name a few) are also regular readers. UCOP, LMCO BWXT, Northrup Grumman, etc. etc. etc..

If you are so naive to believe that what is published here has no effect on the flow of events regarding LANL, then I suggest that you should just quietly be happy in your beliefs.
I do believe that the blog is read daily by many people. However, I do not believe that most of the posts are reflective of the lab staff. You are absolutely correct that the staff with united in its hatred of Nanos (okay, with the exception of
Gary S.), although it really is unclear if the blog caused the admiral's demise, or simply chronicaled the downfall.

Everyday I talk to fellow staff about the future. The overwhelming response is similar to mine - support for LANS. Also, in our conversations we don't believe that every manager is corrupt (certainly some are really poorly place, like Micheline Devaurs), and that everyone in HR is a terrible person.

My group works with SNL daily on a project. When I juxapose their worklife and motivation, I am saddened. No doubt, for some life under LM would be better at LANL. For many of us in the science divisions life would be much, much worse.
08:32:58 PM, I do believe you live in a strange microcosm. Further, I challange you to present a scenario under LM that could be worse than this last year under UC.
We obviously work at different labs 8:32. I have yet to speak with anyone who voices support for LANS. In fact the folks I talk to are so opposed to any UC involvement that many are threatening to quit if LANS is selected.
To Poster 8:32, I also work in a "science" division, and almost
everyone I talk to is more than ready to see LM come in and begin
fixing this place. It's not something I would have forseen
a few years ago, but UC has done an amazing job of turning large
numbers of the technical staff against them. It's quite an
OK, I don’t know who these characters are that keep cheerleading for Lockheed here. I have no way of verifying that you are indeed LANL employees and not outsiders spreading rumors to benefit LockMart. For sure, I don’t see any enthusiasm for LockMart in my division.

Anyways… I was curious to learn something about LockMart, so I googled it and also, for comparison, UC. The results were really helpful to compare the expertise of the two bidding teams.

This page contains a selection of the typical Lockheed Martin products; the corresponding product page for UC can be found here. Go ahead and compare them. Which employer would you rather work for?
Good work, 2:16 AM. Yes, obviously one has more depth than the other.

What I have observed is both sides of this debate ring true. Employees do want change so desperately that they see Lock Mart as our salvation. The other camp, shall we call them Loyalists?, are zealously committed to maintaining the status quo to ensure that depth of science and achievement. And would that be such a bad thing? Yes, for those who have suffered so greatly.

I also observe that employees are "circling the wagons" in each of their camps, talking only to those that support their position. For the most part, I believe each and every post from these two camps and I do not think these are the results of hopeful bias or rabble rousing from one or the other of the bidders.

Perhaps it would help if posters could simply identify which Division they are from? I speculate that these pockets are isolated to themselves. Speaking for myself, our Division is strongly separated, with each side concerned and worried about the future. The stress is telling. And no one talks too much for fear of what will be passed on to others...

A Technical Staff at NMT Division, but not a scientist
On the LM/UT vs UC/Bechtel/etc debate, you all just don't understand how big military contractors like Lockheed Martin operate. They hire retired former generals and admirals who used to be on the other side of the table from them to be on their side to deal with the government (the old revolving door) and which dilutes the ability to be white hat independent technical voices for the government.... Oh wait... hmmm..... let me think.... Well as Emily Latella on the old SNL said..."Never Mind...." (I guess we and the rest of the country are screwed either way...)
Poster 2:16 am -

It looks to me like LM actually makes things that work. Not
sure what your point is on the LM vs. UC comparision, but if
the labs prime purpose is national security and nuclear bombs,
then it looks like LM is the clear choice. Then, they can add
more links to their products page, such as W-76, W-88, RRW, etc.

Also,remember, these are sophisticated products that are built
on the back of high quality scientific research. They don't
come about from the efforts of "C-grade" scientists and engineers.
My discussions around LANL indicate that roughly 90%+ of the staff support UC even as LANS LLC. The number may be higher since this was not a scientific survey. Seems to me that this blog is being visited by outsiders with agendas....
Gimme a break! Is this some kind of George Bush poll? "...roughly 90%+ of the staff support UC..."

I guess you could say that if the choice is between "bad" and "more bad," then you could have 90% kinds of numbers. But the verb is "support," and UC lost that just about a year ago, when they started the "process" of leaving us to hang on a hook for 9 months to cure.

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