Thursday, December 22, 2005

California Is Surprise Winner in Bid to Run Los Alamos

Published: December 22, 2005

In a surprise finish to months of battle, the University of California prevailed yesterday in its bid to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, the storied weapons research center in the mountains of New Mexico and the birthplace of the atomic bomb.

The university teamed with the Bechtel Corporation, the world's largest construction and engineering company, and two other industrial giants to win the contract. It is the first time the laboratory's management has been put up for bidding. Federal officials announced the winner in Washington yesterday.


Full Story

Michael R. Anastasio has been chosen to lead
Los Alamos National Laboratory. He currently
leads its rival.

Language from M-2, selection criteria for the contract: "In determining the best value to the Government, the Technical and Management Evaluation Criteria are significantly more important than the evaluated Cost Criteria. The Government is more concerned with obtaining a superior Technical and Management proposal than making an award at the lowest evaluated total cost. However, the Government will not make an award at a price premium it considers disproportionate to the benefits associated with the evaluated superiority of one technical and management proposal over another. Thus, to the extent that Offerors’ technical and management proposals are evaluated as close or similar in merit, the evaluated cost is more likely to be a determining factor."

Full of subjective terms. What do "disproportionate" or "close or similar in merit" mean; why whatever is needed of course! Faced with a winning LAA proposal (per Doug's earlier post) cost suddenly became the driver. When I asked Tyler about costs, like LANL bloated overhead costs, he told me cost was not a factor. Yeah, right!

Looks like the fix was in!
"Full of subjective terms."

I'm sure when somebody comes up with a formula for evaluating technical and managerial competence, the government will start using it. Otherwise, you are spinning an elaborate conspiracy theory over something that is unavoidable (human subjectivity). In any case, the SEB can't just throw out the selection criteria they committed to and make an arbitrary pick. They have to justify and document every factor. I'm sorry you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, but there's no evidence of a "fix."
I doubt very much the government would every use a purely empirical formula.. it wouldnt allow for any subjective wiggle room.

It will be interesting to see if the final proposals can ever be completely shown. There are probably some big whoppers on both sides..

Oh well, Merry Christmas to you all.. and all a good night.
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