Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Facts regarding the LANL contract competition

I have been given some of the facts regarding the LANL contract competition:
  1. The LAA team received outstanding scores from the SEB, in the 850 - 900 range out of a possible 1,000.
  2. They outscored the LANS team in all areas except for Science and Technology, but they were only slightly outscored in this area.
  3. As a result of the total scores of both of the competitors being not overwhelming in favor of one or the other teams, the SEB decided to make the determination on the basis of cost.
    • The LAA total cost was bid at $599 million over 7 years
    • The LANS total cost was bid at $512 million over 7 years
    • Delta = $87 million per year over 7 years
Therefore, for a difference in cost that is 5 times less than the cost of last year's shutdown over the seven year period of the contract, the SEB and DOE elected to chose the UC consortium as the next contractor for LANL.

This new information only reinforces my opinion that the decision to select the UC-led consortium was a huge mistake, or pre-ordained.

In addition, I have received this copy of a letter (below) written by Joe Barton to Secretary Bodman.


December 21, 2005

The Honorable Samuel W. Bodman
Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Secretary Bodman:

As you know, over the past several years the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has held numerous hearings to investigate waste, fraud, and abuse of government resources at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. These hearings have also reviewed several security breaches that have put our national security at risk.

Most recently, in 2004 several safety and security incidents by the University of California (UC) - DOE's contractor at the site - resulted in a seven-month stand-down at Los Alamos that cost the taxpayers approximately $370 million in lost productivity.

Based on the track record by the University of California and the seemingly invulnerable culture of mismanagement at Los Alamos, I am surprised to learn that the current contractor has been invested with new trust. I have minimal hope and no belief that UC can reverse its record of consistent failure.

I ask that the Department provide a detailed briefing regarding this action, as well as the decision documents developed by the procurement panel that provide the basis for the new contract award no later than Friday, January 6, 2006.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Thank you,

Joe Barton

It seems to me that this is a very narrow review of the bids and totally unfair to either party. Unless you can reveal the source of this information, I think it is a disservice to post this kind of analysis to the blog. It is essentially impossible to have a reasonable discussion on these issues at this point in the process. If the major cause of difficulties at LANL lies in DOE/NNSA's lap (as implied by Holian), then any kind of transition in the contract is silly, in my opinion and not addressing the real issues.
Well, Dave, I'm sure sorry you feel that way. The contributor of that information supplied factual data. You can accept this or not. You will not get his name.
Barton's outrage is touching.

From his Congressional website:

"Barton remains among the steadfast House leaders on tax reform through the promotion of lower taxes and financial freedom. He has supported eliminating the marriage penalty and estate tax, reduced capital gains taxes, retirement of the current tax code and sweeping bankruptcy reforms."

"He returned to Texas in 1982 as a natural gas decontrol consultant for Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Company before being elected to Congress."

A real standup guy. Independent. Man of the people.

See "Tom Delay House of Scandal" and Wikipedia for more information on the good Rep from the 6th Dist of Texas.
Unverifiable data is not helpful in this discussion, in my opinion. What "facts" were left out, for example? The only purpose of someone "releasing" this info at this point would seem to be to make their own point, not to provide useful information. It is clearly biased in what is presented.

As for Barton, I may not be a big fan of his, but I fail to see what is wrong with the credentials presented.
Intersting math. $599 for 7 years is $85.6M per year, more than the $79M annual cost that was the published figure for the contract.
Thanks, "dahrtman." What you've pointed out is that 86-79=7, which is less than 10% of the "estimated" (by LANL upper management) cost of the shutdown last year, namely, the low-ball $120 million. (Wow. Don't you just love the power of math?)
What will be interesting is how much it costs in 7 years. I am going to bet it will turn out to be 599+ due to unknown problems.

"Honest, we really didnt know it was this screwed up, and we are going to need to another 80 million to fix it."

I agree, what the cost will be 7 years from now is interesting. What I find more interesting is that UC was awarded the contract after LM scored higher on all but one of the categories set forth by the bidding process.

"Too close to call, so we have to go to a cost basis for comparing you two. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Hint hint"

Nice job, Tyler.

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