Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Rat Patrol

Submitted By "Rat Patrol"

Remain clueless

Submitted by Anonymous:


You might not be surprised to learn that many of the current LANL staff remain clueless about the transitition, UC, and the whole mess. Some people still appear to feel as if the system, and UC in particular, "owes" them. 'Severance pay', my ass.

A letter from today's LANL NewsBulletin:

Jan. 24, 2006

Have they considered?

Since the log jam of letters on transition finally seems to be moving through the system. What are the options for University of California employees who choose not to transition to Los Alamos National Security LLC? Since they are essentially "closing a campus," what is the severance package that UC will offer? Does it include preferential hiring at other UC facilities, severance pay, training apportionment? Or, have they even addressed this? Seems like something which should be considered and definitely included in information being presented.

--[Name withheld]

The fire was "definitely arson."

Fire Ruins LANL Bid Materials

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer
An arson destroyed documents and office equipment related to Lockheed Martin's failed bid to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, but fire investigators aren't releasing many details, citing the sensitive nature of an investigation into the blaze.
A moving trailer containing paper files, computers and other office equipment went up in flames in Albuquerque either late Jan. 21 or early Jan. 22, according to Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Wendy Owen. The trailer was parked at moving company Arpin of Albuquerque, 4525 Paseo Del Norte NE, Owen said.
"It did have materials and equipment related to our Los Alamos proposal," she said by phone Monday.


Albuquerque Fire Department spokesman Capt. Mike Paiz said investigators aren't releasing many details about the fire because they don't want to jeopardize the investigation. But he did confirm Monday that the fire was "definitely arson."
"They found evidence to support an accelerant used," he said.
A woman who answered the phone at Arpin of Albuquerque declined to comment.

Full Story

Monday, January 30, 2006

UCRP Stability?

From Anonymous:


A) Keep up the good work!

B) Please post the following anonymously, since these days it is well to
follow the old adage and assume nothing, and trust no-one -- well, perhaps,
except you.

UCRP Stability?

Those who believe that UCRP is more stable than any spin-off would be well
advised to read the chronicles of Charles Schwartz, Prof. Emeritus, UC
Berkeley: http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz/

UC Faculty Weigh in against UCRP-LANL (and LANSLLC)

CUCFA Has Concerns About Division of Assets Between UCRP and the LANSLLC

Mr. Gerald Parsky, Chair
Board of Regents
University of California

RE: Action Item 5C (January 18, 2006)

Dear Chair Parsky:

The Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) has serious concerns about proceeding with a permanent division of assets between UCRP and the LANSLLC prior to disclosure of the relevant terms of the contract between UC, Bechtel, Washington Group International, BWX Technologies and other private sector partners. No spin-off of assets should occur while the text of the partnership agreement remains secret from employee organizations. If significant details of the partnership are still being worked out, this is a further reason to defer action on Item 5C. The officials representing UC in ongoing partnership negotiations should not be given authority to spin-off UCRP assets at the same time.

We further ask that the unwind be delayed until there is full disclosure of the following:

(1) Which UC officials and Regents are (or expect to be) individually affiliated with the LANSLLC or its private-sector partners;
(2) Whether and how much they are (or expect to be) paid for this affiliation;
(3) To what extent their fiduciary responsibilities to the new entity or its private-sector partners are separate from their responsibilities to UC; and
(4) What procedures are in place to assure that the separation of the pension plans of the two entities is done at arm's length and with no disadvantage to continuing UC employees?

We raise these issues because we believe that Item 5C has a potential for conflict of interest that would not have arisen if UC had either lost the contract to manage LANL or retained it outright. Here, UC is transferring management of LANL to a for-profit private entity that it does not control but with which it continues to be involved. This creates an obvious need for additional safeguards, not present in Item 5C as currently written, that would make the relationship between the two entities more fully transparent. We know from the LLC’s website, for example, that you, Chair Parsky, are on its Board, but we do not know to what extent you are accountable to UC in this role; neither do we know whether recently-resigned VP Mullinex (and/or his successor) will be on the LLC Board while acting in this matter for UC. Delegating responsibility to him to spin-off assets of UC employees without knowing what other responsibilities he may have to the new entity is in our view fraught with problems.

The "Addendum Report" (5C Attachment 2) prepared by the Segal Group says, “The amount of assets and liabilities to be transferred to the successor contractor's defined benefit plan is not known at this time. Furthermore, the methodologies and assumptions that would be used to calculate the amounts (if any) to be transferred are not yet determined.” The Report is replete with discussion of “policy issues” based on the actuarial differences between the LANL component of UCHP and UCRP as a whole in relation to the funding (or underfunding) of future liabilities. Employee groups are entitled to know what these policies issues are, and the likely impact of these issues on how soon employee pension contributions will begin at UC and LANL, respectively, and how much it will cost UC and the new LLC to meet their respective defined benefit obligations. The possibility that those making these policy decisions may owe a separate (perhaps primary) loyalty to the LLC raises the question of whether the methodology for transfer of assets will indirectly subsidize the corporate owners of the LLC at the expense of past, present and future UC employees. This question is underscored by the stated reason for urgency in Item 5C: that UC hopes to transfer pension assets in a way that facilitates UC’s forthcoming bid to manage Lawrence Livermore through a similar corporate partnership.

CUCFA plans to pursue formal inquiries into this matter in concert with other employee groups. As faculty concerned with the best interests of UC, we take this opportunity to write in the hope that the Regents will avoid making another mistake by following the advice of an administration that has been insensitive to issues of conflict of interest.

Robert Meister,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Internal Revenue Service audit on the University of California Regents?

Submitted by Anonymous:

Is it time to request an Internal Revenue Service audit on the University of California Regents? It seems kind of strange that the UC’s retirement fund is short almost exactly what they have spent on the development of the new LANSLLC, which would include the increased salaries for new management.

Here’s how we are hearing it in the trenches.

The word is that it took $200M dollars and almost two years of time to develop the new LANSLLC contract where all during that time we were paying for the participant’s travel, food, lodging, and perks. I will assure you that they were not staying at the hotel 6. We also hear about an
expenditure of $100M dollars on administrative fees that were mysteriously overlooked during the negotiations, but those funds had to be found somehow. And finally there’s Mike Anastasio’s exuberant salary being reported to be $1.3M a years, up from his previous $420K a year. So here is some food for thought.

Is it possible that the UC used approximate $350M of the UCRP funds in order to finance a scheme that in the end could only lead to depriving its employees of their hard earned entitlements? Or, was it something else?

Could it be that the UC’s claim to a windfall shortage is false information entirely, so that the surplus did not have to be handed over to LANSLLC to kick-start their pension plan.

As an outsider I still view either one of these scenarios as a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment. So what do you say? Should we have the IRS investigate the issues at hand or just let the UC/ DOE once again get away with one more act of defiance in the face of its employees?

All of what was stated above is purely hear-say, rumor and speculation but if you look at the numbers and the most recent attempt by the UC to separate LANL and LLNL from the primary UCRP in order to escape all current and future liabilities, then maybe the rumors are not that far away from being the truth.

I say it’s time for an audit. Maybe once the IRS opens up a case, those missing funds will somehow materialize and we will not have to start contributions, as they claim.

I personally do not trust the UC / DOE at this time. How about you?

The Rat Patrol

Submitted by "The Rat Patrol"

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Six Breaches of Trust

Submitted by "Nonombre"

The Six Breaches of Trust

The Six Breaches of Trust

or, there are hell of a lot of things they did not tell you when you signed up for this outfit.

During the incoming director's presentation of the executive team on Jan. 19th he seemed taken aback by the tone of the questioning. The questions were not actually rude in language, but usually contained a sense of distrust or started from an assumption of hostile intent by the management. Afterwards, Bob Kuckuck actually sent an email around to the staff emphasizing the esteem he holds for the incoming director, and promising that we will feel the same way after a short period of time. The new management team should understand that they are entering the laboratory as the representatives of a DOE/NNSA/UC management that has frequently violated the trust of the laboratory staff. They have to dig their way out of a hole where all the presumptions are against them. The six major breaches of trust are:

1. Nanos' firings

2. Lab shutdown

3. Perimeter project

4. Retirement ruse

5. DOE's imaginary culture

6. Science lip service

In detail:

1. Former Director Nanos fired (or forced into retirement) numerous people. Many of those firings were based on the flimsiest of causes. For example, in the laser safety case there was no pattern of misconduct with a string of injured people coming out of that lab. Instead, there was one injury, exaggerated in severity, and no systematic pattern of injuries. In the security cases it has been policy to fire workers responsible for security infractions, usually after several instances. The CREM incident did not even appear to be a first security infraction for some of those workers. We have always believed that the management would tolerate imperfection in our service to the lab, as long as the staff’s intent was to address the goals of the lab. Most importantly, the continued failure to rectify these unfair actions indicates ethical problems at the top.

2. Lab Shutdown. This interfered with many projects and careers of people who were not in any involved with any misconduct. The lab projects are frequently developed through the efforts of the staff and involve a direct relationship between the sponsor and the project leader. The managers usually do not help develop that relationship and do not have an earned right to interfere. They have the right in the management structure, but have not earned the moral authority to stop delivery of the work. The cultural of misconduct named as a cause only existed in the imagination of foolish managers.

3. Perimeter Project. The new perimeter project is a direct attack on the quality of life in the community. The highway in question is our access to the recreational opportunities of the Jemez Mountains and the ski area. Other than the lab, the economic life of the county is from spin-off businesses and the few tourists that come here for a day. The promotion of spin-off businesses is good for the lab and good for the community but the undeveloped part of the Los Alamos Research Park will now be isolated behind the gate. The tourists usually visit the museum or the historic district, and then Bandelier, or vice versa. The perimeter project will force such tourists to go through the new lab security gate, certainly a blow to their enthusiasm for a continued visit. The county council foolishly tried to work with the DOE, who apparently care nothing about the town, and waited too long to take legal action. In fact, the facilities that matter are not close to the road, except for a few new buildings, such that one could accuse DOE of putting the new buildings in locations that support a bureaucratic land grab.

4. Retirement Ruse. The retirement plan is under threat from a DOE/NNSA/UC eager to back out of their expensive promises to the staff. There are two issues here. First, a small LANL only group will not be statistically representative the population as a whole, hence the plan will not have a reliable statistical basis to project future needs. In a large population of diverse people one can use national statistics to accurately project future costs. UCRS is now near statistical breakeven, and is such a large diverse group that the statistics are likely accurate. Our health oriented little group will not be near those projections and the little LANL plans will be born broke, or at least in uncertain health. Second, the new pension funds will have none of the state constitutional protections of the UCRS. When UCRS was doing well numerous parties tried in vain to raid the excess. The best the potential raiders could do was to not contribute to UCRS until the stock market run ended. The new plan must have similar protections, but how? The retirees should organize and hire their lawyers now. They are certainly a potentially injured class and should be ready to file a lawsuit when any decision is announced.

5. DOE's imaginary culture. DOE/NNSA has maintained a campaign to destroy the public image of the laboratories workers. The worst part is probably the testimony to Congress about a LANL culture of lax safety, poor security, and no financial accountability. These are just knowably false statements (I think my mom used to call that lying) from the leaders of DOE/NNSA and are often nationally distributed in the press. The truth is that we have an outstanding safety record and have passed numerous audits of property, classified material, and purchases with relatively few problems for an organization of this size. If the statistics are good where is the culture problem? We should probably call it "the DOE/NNSA culture of lying about our culture".

6. Science Lip service. We are all aware of the numerous "we like science" statements. This is not backed up by concrete action. The cost environment for science is increasingly unfavorable. The international visitor situation is unworkable. The safety hysteria is a problem for the student programs. I personally do not want to take students on as they could do something foolish, cause a small injury, and then that could get blown-up into my actual termination. Now the managers are even going to have input into laboratory directed exploratory research, the last vestige of peer review within the lab. This overall trend will endanger recruiting and retention of staff, and deteriorate the scientific base.

In conclusion, this is the situation the new management team faces. The staff is distrustful and hostile over a long series of issues. You have to dig yourselves out of a big hole.

Just so you know, Nonombre

Friday, January 27, 2006

4:35 pm: N.M. senators oppose separate Los Alamos lab pension fund

By HEATHER CLARK | Associated Press
January 27, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE - New Mexico's senators urged the Department of Energy to reject a plan to create a separate pension fund for Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and retirees.

The University of California Board of Regents last week voted to create the separate fund for the nuclear weapons lab _ called the UCRP-LANL Plan _ and remove it from the overall UC pension fund. The DOE must approve the change.

The decision has outraged lab employees and retirees, who fear the smaller retirement fund would put their pensions at greater risk.

The UCRP-LANL Plan would have had a market value of $4.3 billion had it existed last June, compared with UC's total pension fund worth $41.8 billion at the time.

Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., sent a letter Friday to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman asking him to reject UC's plan.


Full Story

Letter to Bodman from Domenici & Bingaman


Also, a letter from Udall (form letter, but a letter nevertheless) that was sent to several concerned citizens in response to mail received.

Thank you for contacting me about the recent press reports
regarding the University of California's decision to transfer existing
LANL retirees from the University of California Retirement Plan
(UCRP) to a new entity, following the lab management contract award to
Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS). I appreciate hearing from
you about this issue and share your concerns about this development.

While we all anticipated some uncertainty during the transition
to the LANS management team, I was surprised to see the recent
proposal regarding existing retirees. I, as well as the entire LANL
community, had received assurances from those administering the
contract bidding process that existing LANL retirees would see no
changes in their benefits. Once I learned of these plans, I immediately
contacted the University of California and National Nuclear Security
Administration (NNSA) for an explanation of their actions.

I realize that as retirees plan for the future, they need to know
that their pension benefits will be reliable and not fluctuate. Please rest
assured that I will continue to press the relevant parties for a proper
explanation so that we all can better understand the proposal.

Thank you again for contacting me about this very troubling
development. I will be in touch with you again once I receive a
satisfactory explanation of the situation and what it might mean for the
entire LANL community. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me
if you have further concerns.

Very Truly Yours,

Tom Udall
Member of Congress

This popped up today on the UC Bencom site.

From Anonymous:


News Release

News Release
U.S. Senators Pete Domenici & Jeff Bingaman

JANUARY 27, 2006 JUDE McCARTIN/Bingaman (202) 224-1804
Alerting DOE Secretary, Senators Say Separate Pension Plan Unnecessary
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman today asserted their opposition to a plan to create a separate pension program for Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and retirees, as proposed by the lab's new management team.
The New Mexico lawmakers outlined their opposition in a letter sent Friday to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Their opposition is based, in part, on the belief that a separate LANL pension plan under the University of California Retirement System Plan (UCRP) would not have sufficient actuarial protection and would require the Department of Energy to provide pay to uphold the lab pension plan.
"We are opposed to your taking this action at this time -- there are too many unanswered questions at this point for the Department of Energy to proceed with such an irreversible action," the Senators wrote Bodman.
"We urge you to reject the request made by the University of California Board of Regents to segregate and spin off liabilities and assets. Before any formal action is taken, questions need to be answered, and the concerns of employees and retirees need to be addressed," they said.
The DOE National Nuclear Security Administration in December awarded the Los Alamos National Laboratory management contract to Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS), a team that includes the University of California and Bechtel.
The Senators said that based on a recent actuarial valuation report performed on July 1, 2005, the LANL asset base is underfunded by $54.3 million. This is down from 106.6 percent to 98.7 percent of the total liability, and represents a contrast to the larger and healthier funding profile for the UCRP which is 110 percent funded.
"As such, the Department may be required to contribute additional funding to the LANL plan, an action that has not been required for over a decade, and which may draw further on science investment we make at the lab. At a time of tight federal budgets, it makes little sense to take such action," the Senators said.
Domenici and Bingaman are chairman and ranking member, respectively of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has policy jurisdiction over DOE. In addition, Domenici is chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee that funds DOE and its national laboratory system.

3:15 pm: Los Alamos security subcontractor improperly recorded phone conversations

By HEATHER CLARK | Associated Press
January 27, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE - A security subcontractor at Los Alamos National Laboratory routinely recorded telephone conversations without the knowledge of either those making or receiving the calls, according to a report released Friday.

The recorded conversations and radio transmissions were between managers at Protection Technologies Los Alamos and the firm's security staff, other lab or Department of Energy employees and people outside the lab, said the DOE Inspector General's report. Protection Technologies provides security for the nuclear weapons lab.

Telephone beep tones _ an acceptable way to alert callers that a conversation is being recorded _ were disabled, the report said.

Lab spokesman Jim Fallin said Friday the beeps were disabled by technicians who were upgrading the recording system. Protection Technologies managers didn't know at the time time that the beeps were missing, Fallin said.


Full Story

LANL security taped calls

ROGER SNODGRASS, roger@lamonitor.com, Monitor Assistant Editor

Security guards at Los Alamos National Laboratory inappropriately taped telephone and radio conversations, made transcripts and used records without complying with standard procedures. But LANL says it was only a technical problem.

An inspection report released this morning by the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General said inappropriate recording extended beyond the force to federal officials, LANL employees and the public at large who unknowingly used the PTLA phone lines.

Breaches of DOE regulations were routine and evidence of infractions went back at least five years, according to the audit.

"Protective force management also recorded telephone conversations involving individuals outside the protective force without their consent, such as other Los Alamos personnel, (DOE) Los Alamos Site Office staff, and individuals outside the Los Alamos complex," the IG reported.


Full Story

Unix Operating System Developer

I offered to post this for a colleague. Anybody who is interested can send me mail and I will pass it on.


Let me know if you know of anyone that might be interested...

A Unix Operating System Developer is needed to assist in the development of
a light weight computational kernel for large scale Linux Clusters. The goal
of the project is to develop a Unix kernel that is optimized for computation
in large scale scientific Linux Clusters. This development is underway with
the intent of producing a scalable architecture to support large scale
compute clusters in the performance range of 100’s of teraflops. The kernel
will be multi-threaded, with SMP support, optimized for efficient
computation, low communication latency, etc. Candidates should have a solid
understanding of Unix operating system concepts, as well as some experience
with developing or optimizing system level code.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

UPTE statement

Before anyone initiates any legal action with respect to the UCRP/LANL pension plan proposal, they really should check out


for some useful information on UCRP employee and retiree rights. UPTE is currently preparing to formalize discussions with Law Firms interested in filing a "Class Action Lawsuit" if it becomes necessary. More to follow so stay tuned. UPTE's Constitution allows retirees to join UPTE (In Reference to Pension & Benefits Negotiations).

Manuel Trujillo
UPTE LANL President

4:29 pm: DOE says Los Alamos must expand nuclear waste dump


January 26, 2006

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy says Los Alamos National Laboratory has no choice but to expand its nuclear waste dump.

The expansion of the disposal site known as Area G is necessary in part because an environmental restoration project underestimated the amount of waste to be handled, said Ed Wilmot, manager of the DOE's Los Alamos Site Office.

Wilmot told the Northern New Mexico Citizens' Advisory Board, which opposes the expansion, that he personally doesn't like the idea, either. But, he said, there's no other choice.


Full Story

Nasty Surprise

I have heard at least one person suggest that the proposed UCRP LANL retiree split would have occurred even had Lockheed won the contract. This statement could not be more wrong.

First, there is no way DOE could have forced UC to split off those UCRP retirees who had retired from LANL, had LM won the contract. Second, there is no way they could have forced LM to except those non-contributing retirees into LM's "substantially equivalent" retirement program.

Finally, as others have observed, it is all about money. UC sees an opportunity to relieve the UCRP program of unattractive members, from an actuarial point of view -- the long-lived, healthy lifestyle LANL members. DOE sees this as an opportunity to relieve themselves of the financial obligation of supporting a now underfunded UCRP. If you look at the current UC/DOE contract, page 29, you will see that DOE agrees to fund shortfalls in the UC pension plan arising from economic conditions beyond UC's control.

Source: http://www.doeal.gov/LANLContractRecompete/CurrentContract.htm

(5) In the event that there is no successor plan, a reconciliation of funding obligations shall be done. A separate accounting of assets and liabilities for contract employees shall be maintained by the Contractor. The Contractor shall assure that accrued obligations to contract employees are met and that the fund is being prudently managed. If, pursuant to approval by the Regents of the University of California, all UCRP obligations to contract employees are fulfilled through a plan spin-off and termination under the process outlined in subparagraphs (e)(3) above and (g)(2) below, as applicable, the Contractor shall return any net excess assets attributable to contract employees to DOE, if approved by the Internal Revenue Service. If a funding shortfall arises as a result of economic conditions beyond the Contractor's direct control, the DOE agrees to contribute funds necessary to fully fund liabilities to cover obligations to contract employees, not including active employees who continue to be permanently employed by the Contractor.

This was a nasty surprise that was sprung on us; at least it was a surprise to those of us who were foolish enough to have believed DOE's promise that existing retirees would not be affected by the contract change-over.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NNSA Meeting Announcement

National Nuclear Security Administration
Holds Employee and Retiree Benefit Plan Meetings

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will host a series of poster board meetings at which the Lab's new contractor, Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) will present Los Alamos National Laboratory employees with the pension/benefits plan it is proposing. NNSA will take comments on whether the proposed plan meets the "substantially equivalent" requirement of the LANS contract.



Not much intrinsic enjoying

From Anonymous:

From a Sandia staffer, mid-career:
I think the pension switcheroo they are foisting on LANL retirees and current employees is a disturbing development. That, and the expertise listed in the small business categories for the new contractor do not include research and development. I imagine before too long, the Sandia staff will be told that their pensions are frozen in place, with some increased 401k contribution to make up the difference. Corporate pension analysts predict a race to the bottom as American companies follow IBM's lead in discontinuing defined pension benefits. So much for investing your time and money in your own education, not to be treated as a professional but as a liability to be minimized. No wonder there is a "shortage" of scientific and technical graduates? Why do all the heavy lifting that involves? What is the return, aside from the intrinsic enjoyment? Judging from this blog, there is not much intrinsic enjoying going on.

LANL-ALL1013:Message from Linton Brooks

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 13:14:24 -0700
To: LANL-ALL@lanl.gov
From: Public Affairs Office - LANL Notices <paonotices@lanl.gov>
Subject: LANL-ALL1013:Message from Linton Brooks
Sender: owner-lanl-all@maillist.lanl.gov
Please note the following from NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks:

TO: All LANL Employees

First let me thank all of you for your continued hard work and patience through the contract award process. It was a long time coming but I believe we have the best team in place and they are moving through transition in preparation for assuming management of the lab on June 1.

With transition ramping up I know many of you are looking forward to being able to make an informed decision about your future. NNSA in conjunction with LANL and Los Alamos National Security (LANS) have planned several opportunities for you to understand and compare the pension/benefit plans.

A three phase approach is planned for addressing new benefits at LANL. During the first phase several poster board meetings will be held to present the proposed new benefits. You, along with retirees and community members will be able to review and compare the plans and submit comments to the NNSA. Comments will be accepted on index cards during the briefings and by e-mail at: inputonlansbenefits@doeal.gov. NNSA will collect and consolidate the comments and determine if the LANS pension/benefit plan is substantially equivalent to the UC plan.

The second phase will commence after the new benefits are approved. During this phase comprehensive briefings will be conducted by both LANS and UC so that you can compare the options that you have in great detail.

The third phase will run concurrently with the second and will consist of one-on-one counseling sessions provided by LANS and UC. The one-on-one sessions will provide an opportunity for you to get individualized answers to your specific questions and situation.

Please take the opportunity to inform yourself about the LANS pension/benefit plan so you can compare your options in great detail. I know this is important to you and will help you determine your path forward. I look forward to working with you in the future.

Thank You

Linton Brooks
NNSA Administrator

Public Affairs Office
Los Alamos National Laboratory
P.O. Box 1663, Mail Stop C177

The LIM Notes from May 6, 2003

I have received a version of the referenced meeting notes.


LIM Notes May 6, 2003
Special Guest: Ambassador Linton Brooks, Acting Administrator,
National Nuclear Security Administration

These notes are not meant to be a verbatim record of the meeting. However, they are sufficiently detailed to provide a very clear picture of the discussions at the meeting.

Pete Nanos:
The SET met yesterday at University House to discuss the path forward. You should know that the SET is hanging in there. We made statements that are important. In the coming time of some uncertainty it is important you know that we are going to hang together as an executive team and take the laboratory through this time.

We are going to raise the bar on any competition that has to do with this laboratory. If someone thinks they can do it better, it will be their paper against our hardware. As UC employees, we will do the utmost in our power to carry through and retain the contract for running this laboratory. It was a very strong meeting.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce a great friend of the laboratory and someone who is very concerned about the people who work here. As soon as the decision was made, he volunteered to come out and address the concerns of the people of Los Alamos.

Ambassador Brooks
I have no slides, and I have no prepared remarks. I do have a strategy that I want to tell you about. Two strategies, actually.

The first strategy is to convince UC to compete for this contract because they bring enormous benefit to Los Alamos. Since we don't know if there is anyone better, we shouldn't throw away what we've got. If UC does compete, it means I have been successful in crafting the terms of the competition to make it clear that while locking in the reforms you are making in the business services, we don't want to forget the importance of mission.

If I get that statement right, and UC competes and loses, then it means there is someone better. If there is someone better, I still win because the country wins.

So my near-term strategy is to get UC to compete. I made it clear in the report that we hope that will happen. The Secretary agrees. In his response to the report he says he "strongly" agrees; he added the word "strongly" to the draft prepared for him. I've met with four of the regents; I will meet formally with the subset of the Regents that worries about laboratory matters a week from Thursday.

UC won't decide to compete until they see what it is they are competing for. In the normal course of things, that would be a long time from now, probably late next year. So we are going to start now developing the criteria.

I don't quite know what I mean by what I just said. I do know that ultimately I want to figure out a way to translate into RFP terms the kind of things like "fostering a culture of peer review" and "encouraging basic research" and "fostering scientific skepticism" and "having an intellectual atmosphere that will attract world-class scientific talent"Š translate from concepts we understand into concepts in a contract document. We will start now figuring out how to do that, probably with some help from the labs but also from someone like the National Academy of Sciences.

I have been urged to put someone good full time on that process; I will do that once I figure out who that is. It is probably someone from DC rather than Ralph Erickson's office.

The other part of the strategy is to make it easy to complete; UC should not have to dig into tuition to fund a bid and I think I know how to do that.

My second strategy is to keep people from preemptively bailing out. We can't keep everyone; I've seen the retention statistics and so have you. But I am hopeful with your help we can convince the talent on which this or any other laboratory ultimately stands or falls to hang in there for awhile and see what happens.

The first part of this strategy is obvious. Through August or September 2005 no one has any particular incentive to leave and you need to help me make them understand that. But I also have to make clear that one of the things you do if you run a world-class scientific establishment is make it attractive for world-class scientists. We must work in a way that gives people a reasonable expectation they are not flying into a cliff in October of 2005.

I have to be careful what I say about the outcome of a competition. I believe UC will be a very powerful competitor. However, there will almost certainly be other strong competitors; we don't know yet who they are.

That's another part of my strategy; convince the UC that some of the mythology they have heard is wrong (e.g. incumbents never winning in DOE contract competitions). One contractor who has won three times is running a laboratory and there are other M&O contractors who have competed and won. Convincing the University should be easy because we are working in an element of fact not judgment.

To carry out my strategy I have to do a couple of things. First, I have to convince first you and then the people who work for you that I am serious about looking out for the interests of laboratory employees. Second, I have to learn from you what it is that I have overlooked in this rudimentary approach I've devised so I can fold it in the strategy.

That's 100 percent of my remarks, now I will go to some of the questions that you have.

Q: Livermore is not part of this process?
A: Let me make sure you understand what we did and did not decide about Livermore. The report said the Secretary decides two things. One, as a matter of principle, neither law nor sound policy requires us to make the same decision about Livermore as we have made about LANL. Secondly, as a matter of practice, we don't have to make the LLNL decision for another year, so we didn't.
Does this suggest some value judgment about relative merits of labs? Were John Browne here he would recall for you the time I had an opportunity, in front of 9 Senators, to rank the national labs. I wasn't dumb enough to do it then and I won't do it now.
It reflects the reality of whatever problems we had in the past at Livermore - like the NIF overrun - the near-term problems uncovered here were not found at LLNL. Since the situations were different, there was no need to make the LLNL decision.
Where will we go on LLNL? One thing that bothers a lot of us is the notion of the two being run by different people. The only way to guarantee you are not in that world is to compete the two physics laboratories as a package. I don't know what we are going to do. A week from tomorrow I will be talking to people at LLNL and it will be a harder discussion. Everyone here knows what I am going to do. At Livermore they don't know because I don't know.
On the one hand, it is entirely consistent to extend LLNL while competing LANL. On the other hand, if you have a competition you have to be open to the possibility that you will get an outcome other than the incumbent.
Mike Anastasio is concerned about the two laboratories being run by different contractors. We may decide it is such a bad outcome we will make the competition two-fold. We will decide this early next year. If we compete LLNL, all the things I said about criteria earlier apply.
That's where we are. I don't like the ambiguity either.

Q: People are already saying they will move to LLNL to remove the uncertainty
A: That doesn't remove uncertainty; it actually adds to it. Good people left this lab and LLNL in anticipation we were going to announce an immediate termination last week. Making such an announcement would have been an extremely stupid thing to do. While not everyone agrees with what we did, we are not extremely stupid. I hope people will not make precipitous decisions they don't have to make until we have the facts. From some of the advance questions, I got the impression people are already looking to move to LLNL. Maintaining two strong labs is important; if too much movement to Livermore happens it would be bad and I hope it won't happen.

Q: I like that you are aggressively trying to get UC to bid, but if you examine the issue at their point of view, they have run the laboratories for all these years as a public service. What can you say?
A: Analogy is every year you are called up for jury duty; next year you have to compete for the privilege and there's an entrance fee (laughter).

That is the point of view of Dr. Atkinson, who will leave in October but he worries about that. If you look at his statement to the Greenwood committee and his public statement, on one hand he wants to compete, and on the other hand he's not sure it's the right thing to do.

I hope that I will be able to convince the University that competition and public service are not inconsistent. I don't know if I will be able to do that.

I hope I will be able to convince the University that as the Secretary and Deputy have said a couple of times, the contributions of the University could be even greater through competition. If you could put behind you the flak of "60 years without competition," the University's contributions would be seen as even stronger and the opportunity for public service even greater.

This is a poor analogy, but a real one. In a sense, I had to compete for the opportunity to serve in the job I am in now at no particular financial benefit to myself. Competition isn't inherently inconsistent with public service.

The other thing is local California politics. There are those who have always wanted to get a state institution out of the business of running a nuclear weapons lab and they're going to be grateful that I gave them the opportunity.

I can get the fee right, the RFP right, and level playing field. But getting around the inconsistency of an ethic of public service and a competition, and the real political influences that the University governing body has to pay attention to, will be a bit of an uphill fight. That's why I'm starting now.

Frankly, three or four months ago, I was afraid UC would have made an immediate decision not to compete. It is now clear they will at least think about it and see if it will be a level playing field.

Q: This is more a comment than a question. I have been in the weapons complex 30 years. When I first came in, it was made up of the blue chip corporations: Dow, ATT, UC. Every time a contract was put up for bid with original contractors, when they were asked to bid, they all walked away. We're the last original contractor.
When Dow ran Rocky, DuPont ran Savannah River, the quality of science and engineering was outstanding. You can't say that now. The last vestige exists here, due to the contractor we have. My concern is that if we oust someone like UC there is a difference about who runs the place.
A: Of course there's a difference. You may be right. I don't want to trivialize the concern. And I really don't want to get into "my science is better than your science" with people who are much better at science than I am.
I will say that you can find people who are fairly impressed by some of the other DOE labs. I will even say, running the risk of getting into the local rivalry, some people thought the world was going to end when Bell Labs and ATT left Sandia, but that doesn't appear to have happened. But I do take the point and it is something we have to be very careful of. But you have pointed out a danger, not an inevitable outcome.
One reason I want to get the criteria right is to minimize the chances of a bad outcome. You are also seeing trends that apply to everyone. When we started in this business we had a good deal less scrutiny. The old Joint Atomic Energy Committee was our oversight and we didn't have the other committees, and the Washington Post.

Q: One thing was puzzling me. We will have 1200 students here this summer. All of the Battelle-run facilities together won't have 1200 students. Is that demonstrated level of academic attractiveness going to count?
A: Yes.

Q: Is anything we will do between now and then going to count?
A: Yes. It is clear that this is a subset of what I said before; that the criteria have to recognize somehow what you just said about academics. Secondly, is the success that the University and the laboratory have had in reforming management and the success the University and lab have always had in the mission going to count? Of course it is. Demonstrated performance has to count.
I can't write in the criteria "demonstrated experience in running LANL" because that excludes competition. But we have to find a way to write criteria to take significant account of what has been done and will be done over the next two years. The Secretary and I have every intention of that happening.

Q: One thing missing in the debate is the uniqueness that LLNL and LANL bring vis-à-vis the stockpile. We have a unique role: certify reliability and safety. If a director has to worry about competing six months from now and we bring him a problem with the stockpile and he has to decide about causing waves, or answer to a board of regents, or a board of directors about the money. What safeguards will there be? Or do you want a businessman certifying the stockpile?
A: No

Q: Now if DOE is unhappy they have to show cause to terminate a contract. If you go to bidŠ
A: Let's get our words straight. We are not terminating the contract. I have been yelled at by a series of congressman, both publicly and privately because we are not terminating. To the Secretary's credit, he indicated early in the process that he had no intention of termination.

Q: Now true. But if you go to the regime that is in front of us, are you saying they will never have to make that decisionŠ
A: Careful. We don't have a specific regime in front of us. But you raise an important point. My belief is that the labs will always be run by someone who is technically competent. It is inconceivable to me that any departmental leadership would accept anything less. How do we deal with the very specific problem you raise? You are asking me to predict the quality of leadership in the department several years in the future.
Difficult but first of all, I believe that at least with this Administrator and this Secretary that the reverse is more likely to be the case. Don't think anyone would contemplate penalizing a contractor for standing up and saying there is a problem with the stockpile. Were I to discover that one of the labs was brushing a problem under the rug for fear of what it would do publicly, that would be more likely to cause the stronger reaction.
That question was sent to me in advance and I was thinking on the plane last night whether there is something I can do contractually to guard against the problem.
If somebody did something appallingly, criminally stupid, would the new contract prevent it? The current contract doesn't prevent appalling, criminal stupidity. We have to depend on the basic competence of the people who run the labs and the department. You are going to have to make it clear all the time, with every Secretary and every Administrator that certifying the stockpile is so important a decision that no one will ever think of shading it for any reason.
I have heard the Secretary talk about stockpile certification in public and private and I know what he thinks. I know what I think. I have no idea who will be running the department five years from now but I'm pretty sure they will have the same attitude or please, God, the Senate would never confirm them.

The question you raise for me is whether there is something I can do in the contract itself to make it clear that failing to certify the stockpile isn't a financial decision to make on financial grounds. If there is, I would like to do it. I will look at it more.

Q: Among the concerns President Atkinson raised was the relationship between UC and DOE. He made a plea on DOE's part for being contributor to some of misperceptions. When you look at how to set up competition, how will you answer UC's concerns there?
A: I talked a little about that with Dick. The Deputy Secretary and I where asked to talk about relationship between UC and lab. We felt it would be dishonest not to acknowledge the contributions of NNSA to the problem. We didn't cover it in same depth but we tried to cover it there and in prepared remarks for the Greenwood committee. The reorganization announced in December and more importantly the clarification of roles and responsibilities that underlie that reorganization, while not a response to LANL, were designed to guard against those kinds of problems.
The new model of contractor oversight, where the focus is on a higher level under Appendix F and relies on contractor assurance systems, is intended to restore that sense of collaboration while still preserving more effective oversight. Whether or not that will be enough to rectify the problems that we missed, and to guarantee we will help catch them before they become a big brouhaha in the future, we don't know yet. We have embarked on fairly major effort and one of the things I worry about is sustaining that and getting it all locked in while I am still here.
I am worried about it. I am doing something about it. I won't be able to tell you until after this competition is over if it was enough. I understand the problem. We're trying to solve it. I just don't know yet if what we are doing is enough.

Q: What role will Ralph Erickson and the local office have in developing the RFP and in evaluating proposals?
A: Because the new model of oversight depends so heavily on the local office, I am reluctant to burden them in the near term with new duties. I expect to have someone in Washington developing the criteria. I will involve Ralph but don't expect to place the burden for doing the work on Ralph. I expect he will be reviewing ideas generated elsewhere rather than pulling people off his day-to-day task.
As far as evaluating the proposals, there is a formal process for doing that. However, it is inconceivable that I wouldn't want the advice of someone who knows more about what LANL is doing than anyone else.

Q: Recognizing this could be viewed as brinkmanship, if UC decides not to compete would you reconsider your decision for competition?
A: Probably not. Tactically, what else am I going to say? (Laughter). You ask me a question with only one answer. First, there is nothing in the involvement I have had with UC to suggest they are approaching this with other than best motives: what's good for the lab and the country. The Secretary also is approaching from that perspective.
Gamesmanship, brinkmanship - neither of us interested in playing.
To answer the broader question, a decision has been made. We could have left ourselves a possibility of reversing it next year. We didn't. The Secretary believes he has made a decision to compete. I don't believe he views it as tentative. Performance matters because what you guys want is for DOE to be saying in 2005 "look at all they've done." But don't think if you work hard and do well we will reverse the decision. That is not in the cards.

Q: Is there a possibility to run a competition amongst people willing to do it for no fee? When I worked at DOE/Rocky Flats they wanted it competed because they thought could be run more efficiently. Rockwell got the job and in the late 70s made a decision, in manufacturing pits, they decided where Dow used to recover plutonium and clean up the garbage, that cost $40/gram. So they packaged the garbage and left it out there. It may have been a good business decision, but it was terrible for the environment.
A: You don't want it to be no fee contract. At a minimum has to be enough fee to allow recovery of your costs, just as costs of UC oversight come out of the fee. The Federal Acquisition Regulations govern what is allowable and unallowable; and you have things the contractor needs to do that are unallowable. That is what you use the fee for.
There is a difference between no fee and no profit. We need to think more about whether or not we should attempt to limit the bidding to nonprofits. My guess is we will have trouble convincing ourselves to go in that direction. After all, we just extended the Sandia contract with a for-profit operator.
Also I am not completely sure the examples you give are related to having a for-profit operator. Any organization is going to want to run the laboratory efficiently and one way you measure efficiency is cost. If a contract increases the profits through direct cost share, it does directly lead to the kind of problem you described. But you don't eliminate those problems through non-profits.
You raise a hugely important question, but I am not sure it is as relevant to this lab as to the complex at large. I will have to think about the implications.
It is certainly true that people made decisions that were reasonable at the time but left us with a huge cleanup legacy.

Q: Think for a moment about the 10,000 people working at this laboratory rather than the contractual process. One thing people like is to have control over their own destiny. What I hear from you is "Šyou have no control, it's a process." I'm not working for the company. What am I working for over the next two and half years if we can't influence it?
A: If I said there is nothing you can do to influence it, I was not as precise as I'd hoped to be. What I said was I don't think you could do anything to reverse the decision to compete. On the other hand, let's pose a world in which the university elects to compete, the science and mission accomplishments represented most recently by Qual 1 [completion of the first certified pit] continue to be at superb level and the reforms that the Director and the University are putting in place take root because of your efforts. You are not subverting the contractual process to suggest you could be pretty confident of how a competition would come out because of your demonstrated record.
Take another view: These are silly reforms undertaken to avoid competition but now there is a competition. And an attitude of "Šwe did it this way under Oppenheimer." And there's a monthly Journal story that requires an explanation by me and by others in Washington. Then competition becomes a more difficult issue.
The idea there's nothing you can do to affect how this comes out is absolutely wrong

Between now and 2005 there is a world of difference between a world in which every few weeks you have to stop what you're doing so you can pull together talking points for me for some latest thing in the New Mexican that was picked up in the Washington clips and a world in which the news is "Senator Domenici announces latest scientific breakthrough."

Q: I agree with that. But for a minute, let's forget the contractual space. One year from now, what three things would you like to say about the lab? As friend and customer, what would you like to say?
A: I would like to continue to be able to say what I have said ever since I've had the job to Congress and officials, "You really ought to get out there, meet the people, see the stuff they're doing. You just have no idea."
Secondly, I would like to be able to say, "You know, they've really turned the corner on these business services things. They are working, as the Secretary once said, to make the business worthy of the science."
Third, I like to be able to say, "You know, I was really panicked that I would have huge exodus of people but they are hanging in there and I appreciated them giving me the chance."

Q: People on the premature retiree list are of the opinion that beatings will continue until morale improves. Are you willing to say that we are not a den of thieves?
A: I said that last time I was here. I've said it to Congress. If you read the last paragraph of my report, and I will attempt to paraphrase it here: The overwhelming majority of Los Alamos employees are honest, hardworking and dedicated people. There are problems, but they are the problems of a few.
I said it in my testimony; the Secretary quoted that in his letter. Everyone in the Department is urged to quote that statement.
Q: It would be a great opportunity to start the healing.
A: I never had the slightest doubt. There were just a few bad apples in a system that didn't catch them quickly enough. The overwhelming majority are solid. It's a bum rap for most people. I will say it again to Congress and to anyone who will listen.

Meeting notes

I have been told that I should try to get my hands on the notes from a particular meeting held at LANL. The meeting took place on 6 May 2003 with the LIM (Laboratory Information Meeting) group. Pete Nanos led off the meeting and then Linton Brooks spoke for a short time and then took a series of questions from the participants. I am told that the name of the person that was at the bottom of the notes was Linn Tytler? Or Tyler. Purportedly, during this meeting Brooks coached the attendees on what actions would be necessary in order for UC to retain the contract when it went up for bid. If true, these meeting notes might supply documentation for those who contend that the bid process was conducted in a questionable manner. If anyone can get a copy of those meeting notes, I would appreciate it.

The person who made this suggestion to me tells me that his copy of these meeting notes was destroyed in the fire which consumed all of the the Lockheed-Martin bid documents last Sunday evening.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Crux of the Issue

A comment from the


post, which suggests that DOE is trying to wiggle out of their contractual obligation.

If you look at the current UC/DOE contract, page 29, you will see exactly that fact. DOE agrees to fund shortfalls in the UC pension plan arising from economic conditions beyond UC's control. Everyone should do their homework about the current contract obligations on both sides before going ballistic. The complaint that "no information is available" is just not true. It just will not be spoon-fed.

Retirees press for info

ROGER SNODGRASS, roger@lamonitor.com, Monitor Assistant Editor

Designated deputy director John Mitchell, the number two person in the incoming management structure at Los Alamos National Laboratory, drew a tough assignment Monday night.

More than 150 retirees filled the hall at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, with one primary concern - but not a subject Mitchell could talk much about.

He appeared as a spokesperson for the Los Alamos National Security (LANS) team, to listen to concerns of the retiree community and answer questions about the transition to new management and the future.

"I am here to talk about the best way your interests can be observed, and ours, as time goes on," he said.


Full Story

One of those interesting coincidences?

The picture shows what remains of the equipment, material, documentation, furniture, etc. that Lockheed Martin had prepared and purchased in anticipation of winning the LANL contract. It had been packed up and placed into temporary storage at a moving company's facility in Albuquerque. Much of it, such as new high-end printers, computer servers, etc. was still palettized and shrink-wrapped. Last Sunday evening it mysteriously burst into flames. Preliminary investigation appears to show less material remaining than what had been in storage. Interesting.


Future of lanl retirees' pension fund

At the meeting at UNM-LA yesterday, LANS’s John Mitchell was asked, “Is the
company (LANS) interested in managing our (retirees’) pension fund?” His
answer: “If the government asks us to do this, yes, we will do it.” So we
have been told what is the probable future of our pension fund. Like some
others who have written in to the blog, we believe that action must be taken
NOW. The only action that has any possibility whatsoever of salvaging our
rightful pensions is legal action. Also like some others, we too are willing
to commit a thousand dollars toward such legal action.

Monday, January 23, 2006

UC-Retirement Part 2

If the LANS retirement plan for all future employees is a defined contribution plan, then the DOE/LANS benefit plan for future employees is credible no matter what they do to former employees since LANS, or DOE is making no promises for future benefits. Neither the DOE or UC would have any future employee recruitment incentive to fund a UC-LANL retirement plan shortfall. Then the proposed UC-LANL retirement "pot" is a zero sum game where maximum funded benefits could be less than promised. If this occurs, then how is the shortfall fairly/legally shared among retirees? The obvious next question is "Should the UC/DOE continue to allow new retirees to lump out and receive a benefit based on the plan's actuarial liabilty to them even if that amount may exceed their portion of the plan's actuarial assets now or in the future, thus reducing benefits for other existing retirees"? UC may not have an obligation to fund the UC-LANL plan, but they probably have a legal obligation to fairly distribute the shortfall. Have a nice day.

Dick Yactor

----Comment by Editor----

The operative phrase here is "betrayal of trust." The trust betrayed is that between UC and LANL employees who retire(d) before the new contract takes place, namely, June 1, 2006. LLCs, of any bold stripe, don't figure into this equation at all.

Focus on that.

Yes, DOE is malfeasant in the creation of a new military-industrial corporate entity to run LANL, but UC can't just dump its previous retirees, no matter what "campus" they came from.

-Brad Lee Holian

Points to consider to the UC Pension Debacle

From Anonymous:


For UC's pension debacle, I've collected some data from the articles and comments posted on your site along with what I know to create a list of points that might be of use to many readers of your site. More importantly, this list might also serve as a starting point with which UC retirees might create a clear and coherent set of concerns and demands to present to UC. After all, retirees are in a contractual agreement with UCOP, and should a party in that contract take action that endangers their ability to fulfill their obligations, the other parties to the contract have every right to point this out and insist that the errant party take action to ensure that they can live up to their obligations.

  1. There never has been and is not now a UCRP-LANL partition of the UCRS funds. This partition has never been considered seriously in the past because of the extreme difficulty in creating an equation to partition the funds. Some of the difficulty lies in individual employment histories within UC that include some employment at LANL, and the way the surpluses and banks of COLA funds and CPI funds might be distributed among the partitions. These two items do not exhaust the list of difficulties in disentangling the funds. In the Los Alamos Monitor article, the UC Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Benefits, Judy Boyette, seems to have some notion of how difficult this partition might be in noting that it might not be in place by May 31. She seems to be one of the few UC officials that has any idea of the difficulty.
  2. There is a statement in an article from the Tri-Valley News that once the LANL UCRS funds was a few hundred million dollars ahead and currently is about $54 million in deficit. This is a statement straight out of fantasyland. It is impossible to make such a statement before some equation for partitioning the funds has been created and agreed upon. This may be an attempt to deny the UCRS surplus funds along with the COLA and CPI bank of funds by braggadocio to the LANL partition, but the IRS rules and inevitable class actions suits that will follow should prohibit this and force a reasonable accounting for all of these funds. Certainly, if we can go back into the past with the LANL partition idea, we can account for how much the LANL partition has been hurt by problems in the rest of UCRS previously (remember when UC decided they were top heavy and decided to pension off old professors?) and augment it accordingly from the rest of the UCRS funds.
  3. In the Associated Press article, the Regents' Chairman Gerald Parsky is quoted as saying that UC would provide "substantially equivalent" pension benefits to retirees. Perhaps he misspoke or was misquoted. If I remember correctly, the phrase "substantially equivalent" is taken from the contract between the LANS LLC and the Federal Government. It does apply to current employee and all LANL retiree benefits such as health care etc. It also applies to any new pension plan(s) created by the LLC for its new employees or employees it rehires from UC, but it does not apply to the pension of UC retirees. UC retirees have a preexisting and legally enforceable contract with UCOP for their pension; this preexisting contract is not and cannot be altered by any agreement between the LLC and the Federal Government. In light of Abe Jacobson's analysis where he notes the use of the term "nonforfetable" it seems that the phrase "exactly the same" is more applicable to the UC retiree's pension.
  4. The two main risks to retirees from a partitioning of the UCRS funds appears to be a possible loss of the COLA and the possibility of the smaller partition(s) running out of funds. In the Monitor article, someone only identified as Mollinix (UC senior vice president for business and finance?) seems to have this in mind in stating that putting current LANL retirees into a separate account could benefit the University and others in the retirement plan. However, should one partition of the UCRS pension receive a COLA or CPI different from any other partition(s) this would surely give rise to ruinous class action suits for which UC would inevitably pay. UC retirees do, after all, have a contract with UCOP despite the UC administration's desire to forget about that. Apparently, it is also Molinex in the Monitor article that also talks about establishing "once and for all" the assets to be transfered to the LANL partition. This is not realistic. Should the LANL partition run out of funds while the rest of UCRS is funded, that would abrogate the nonforfeitable right of a UCRP member to receive UCRP retirement benefits and is a breach of the contract between UC retirees and UCOP.

UC-LANL retirement

UC has to do what it is doing, and you would too. The estimated future payouts to present and future UC-LANL campus employees is underfunded by ~$40M this year. This shortage could decrease or increase in coming years. I don't think DOE has agreed to fund the shortage. Do you expect the taxpayers of California to fund a shortage in benefits for mostly NM people? Dynes would be toast. If the contract had not been put up for bid and UC continued to run LANL, DOE would have had to provide increased funding to the plan. After June, I don't think there is an existing mechanism for that to happen. I think UC is telling DOE that there needs to be one. DOE has approved all the past salary and benefit packages and has funding everything. If the retirement plan funding is short, it is a result of DOE decisions and it's a DOE problem, not UC's. If DOE will not assume responsibility for full funding for the UC-LANL plan, do you believe that in the future there will be full funding for the UC-LLNL plan or the LANS plan or whatever? It is in DOE's interest to provide a credible benefits package to attract future LANL employees. Not providing full funding for all the retirement plans means that the promised retirement benefits for all present and future employees is incredible. It is a DOE problem, not UC's. Put the pressure where it belongs. Put it on DOE.

Dick Yactor

Trust in UC?

Dear Doug Roberts, please post the following on your blog.

On Jan. 17, 2006 I sent the following email to UC President Robert Dynes,
obviously with litte effect.

George A. Baker, Jr.

It is in the best interests of the University to retain the best senior
scientists. Trust was slowly returning, so I was shocked to read in the Los
Alamos Monitor that you are including retirees and inactive members in the
new stand alone pension plan. This is not required by the contract which
only says that you might consider doing this. It is contrary to what we have
been told here-to-fore. (Retires would not be affected.) Also the UCRP
plan booklet has said that any vested employee has a non-forfeitable right
to receive from UCRP (and not some spin-off) a pension (and other benefits) as
described in the plan booklet. This changing of horses in the middle of the
stream strikes a blow at trust.

At the very least, I strongly urge you TO DELAY ACTION ON YOUR PROPOSED PLAN

I am cognizant of the rule that I may communicate with the Regents only through

The failing of the system

I believe that this entire action is to force those of us who were going to
go inactive in UCRP and start drawing on it later, to roll over our
retirement into the new system giving them a much larger pool of money to
steal from. I for one do not trust going to this new system there is no
grantee that they will not plunder our retirement funds as has happened a
number of times before. One of the main reasons that I originally came to
the lab was for the retirement now after 31 years the regents by the stroke
of a pen put my entire life on the line with absolutely no grantees what so
ever. Not that I would any longer trust them. As they have shown by this
vote my 31 years of dedicated service means absolutely nothing to them.

Jan D. Batteux / LLNL I know it hasn't happened to me yet but it certainly
will at a later date.

UCRS-LANL: What if there's a new contractor?

It seems to me that the really big danger comes if UC doesn't get the next
contract or somehow loses this one early. Those of us now drawing
retirement feel pretty secure with UCRS and I'd have a little bit of
confidence in the proposed UCRP-LANL arrangement with the University
running it but none if LANS were to lose or pull out of the contract. In
that event, its a sure bet UC is no longer going to be managing the
UCRP-LANL plan and who knows whether there'd be any "attempt at
equivalence." I think the plan could then rapidly go defunct. When you
consider this scenario there is no way that the proposed separation of
currently retired people into UCRP-LANL can be considered a plan with
equivalent benefits. Part of benefits is the amount of risk involved. Or
maybe UC would like to give us a guarantee that if they lose or pull out of
the contract they'll transfer us back into UCRS. A lot of recently retired
people are going to outlive this contract.

I think we need to look at the possibility of a class action suit. I'd be
willing to put up a $1000 toward it.

Arvid Lundy

I started at the Lab in '67 and signed a loyalty oath. I was one of those
who had the option of going under social security later (mid-70s?) and did
so. I retired in '98.

Los Alamos team continues transition

By Wendy Tseng

The Los Alamos National Security transition team developed and submitted a basic transition plan to the Department of Energy for review Friday as part of its process to bring its new management team into the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The plan outlines the steps the LANS transition team needs to complete before taking over the lab on June 1.


Full Story

Director: 2005 LANL Ratings Improved

By John Arnold
Journal Northern Bureau

SANTA FE— Los Alamos National Laboratory has made "remarkable improvement" on its annual federal report card, according to LANL director Robert Kuckuck.

In a lab newsletter distributed last week, Kuckuck described the Department of Energy's 2005 Annual Performance Appraisal Evaluation, which has not yet been made public.


Full Story

Sunday, January 22, 2006

WGI expands jobs in nuclear facilities

Contract at Los Alamos laboratory will help company compete in future bidding

Melissa McGrath

Washington Group International's success last month in winning a multimillion dollar contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory means the Boise-based global engineering and construction firm is now working in nearly all major nuclear facilities in the United States.

Although the Department of Energy does not keep track of where WGI ranks in comparison to other contractors, the Los Alamos contract solidifies Washington Group's claim as one of the largest and most experienced leaders in the delicate business of handling hazardous materials.


Full Story

Friday, January 20, 2006

The final word, hopefully, on the port scan of my web server by the Federal Judiciary

[Photo retrieved from NSA Archives--Brad]



Article on Linton Brooks

LANS news

From Anonymous:

such pretty faces:

William Perry?

LANL pension split advances

ROGER SNODGRASS, roger@lamonitor.com, Monitor Assistant Editor

A committee of the University of California Board of Regents slowed but did not reject a complicated plan to calculate and isolate its diverging pension liabilities for employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

UC administrators were instructed to continue developing a concept that would include separating current LANL retirees from the university pension program known as the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP), as a first step toward subdividing UC's existing obligations to retirees and future obligations under the laboratory's new management.

Rather than leave the final decision in the hands of UC President Robert Dynes, as requested in the proposal, university officials were asked Wednesday to come back to the full board for final approval.

The regents meeting continues today on the campus of the UC San Diego.

Full Story

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Los Alamos lab employees outraged over UC pension fund vote

Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE - Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and retirees say they are outraged that the University of California Board of Regents has approved the creation of a separate pension fund for the lab.

The regents ratified a committee recommendation without discussion during a meeting Thursday in San Diego. The pension fund for the lab - called the UCRP-LANL Plan - will be removed from the overall UC pension fund.

UC President Robert Dynes recommended the regents approve creating a "cloned" plan that would provide the same monthly benefit formulas as the regular UC retirement plan. It would cover active, inactive and retired members, according to a report from Dynes' office.

But lab employees and retirees said Thursday they feel betrayed by the regents.

"Once this word gets out, people are going to be even more incensed," Charles Mansfield, president of the Laboratory Retiree Group, Inc., said after hearing about Thursday's decision. He had described employees and retirees as "livid" the day before the vote.

Mansfield said the move is a breach of trust between the university and lab employees and retirees.

Since 2003, when the Department of Energy announced the lab's management contract would be put out for bid, Mansfield said UC told employees they would remain with the UC retirement plan. Los Alamos National Security, a team led by UC and Bechtel Corp., was picked to manage the lab last month. Its contract starts June 1.

Mansfield said the retirees fear that management of the pension fund would be subcontracted to another firm that would raid the fund, which had a market value of $4.3 billion last June. UC's total pension fund was worth $41.8 billion.

Brad Holian, a semiretired physicist, is concerned the smaller lab fund would be riskier in the long run than the larger UC fund.

"It is terribly unfair to suddenly force people who have worked for over two decades at the lab under the UCRP system into an entirely new and unknown entity," Holian wrote in a letter to Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. "Retirement is all about planning, and we have been given no opportunity to plan for such a catastrophic turn of events."

UC officials have described the lab's pension fund as "extremely healthy."

On Wednesday, Regents' Chairman Gerald Parsky said the university would stand by its commitment to lab employees and retirees to provide "substantially equivalent" pension benefits.

Asked about the regents' vote Thursday, designated lab director Michael Anastasio said LANS was still committed to a smooth transition. He said LANS will submit its benefits proposals, including pensions, to the Department of Energy for approval next week.

LANS hopes to make formal offers to employees by March 15, he said.

Dynes has recommended that the new fund become effective no later than March 31.


Associated Press Writer Michelle Locke in San Diego contributed to this report.

Press Release

Source: Los Alamos National Security, LLC

Los Alamos National Security, LLC Briefs Lab Employees on Transition Plans, Leadership Team
Thursday January 19, 4:00 pm ET

LANS Approach Focuses on Scientific Excellence, Safety, Security, Best Business Practice

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of a series of transition meetings being held with employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory, designated Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio today gave an update on the transition and provided additional details about Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and its skilled management team of nuclear experts and industry leaders. LANS was selected in December 2005 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage and operate the Laboratory.

Our management team and approach will foster, with your support, an environment of continued scientific excellence that also emphasizes program accomplishments, effective safety and security, best business practices, and efficient processes to free up resources for research and development," said Anastasio, who, in addition to being the incoming director, is president of LANS.


Full Story

The Plan stays for all, or the Plan disappears for all

Regarding the move to strip LANL employees and retirees out of UCRP,
here is a query I wrote to the Regents on October 2, 2003 (over two
years ago). I never received a reply.

I repeated the basic question to our illustrious Director Nanos at an
ISR visit he made. He said he had no idea what the answer was.

Obviously the best hope for a legal strategy is to challenge the UCRS's
ability to jettison a special class of its vested members. The UCRP Plan
Description, which has served as *defacto* contract lo these many years,
states only that the Regents "reserve the right to terminate the Plan at
any time". As I read English, that means, either the Plan stays for all,
or the Plan disappears for all. However, there is no mention in that
Plan Description of any Regents' right to excise a subclass of the UCRP

For your reading enjoyment I include (attached) a copy (pdf) of the Plan
Description. You might want to link it. See in particular page 23 of the
pdf, "Plan Changes", under the heading "Additional Information". [This
version is for members without Social Security, but that makes no
difference. The same boilerplate "Plan Changes" is in both versions.]

A good law firm- if LANL retirees wanted to pony up to buy their
services -could skewer the UC on this one.

Best wishes,
Abe Jacobson , retiree
(not anonymous)

2 October 2003
I would like to ask the Regents to address a matter of increasing
concern to Laboratory UC retirees and to those who plan to retire in the
future. The matter is an obvious inconsistency between the structure and
definitions of our retirement system and the language of the UC contract
with the DOE for management of LANL.

A little clarity can dispell this problem. So far, good information is
lacking, and in lieu of good information, people will naturally tend to
suspect the worst.

In the Summary Plan Description of the University of California
Retirement Plan, “vesting” is defined as

"Vesting generally refers to a member’s nonforfeitable right to receive
UCRP retirement benefits upon leaving the University and reaching
retirement age."

Suppose the UC/DOE contract should end. Suppose an employee, vested and
eligible to retire from the UC, chooses to retire prior to the end of UC
management of Los Alamos. Then his or her vesting in UCRP appears from
the above definition to be “nonforfeitable” even if the Laboratory
subsequently is managed by another contractor. Thus, if he/she retires
before the contract change, then it appears that vesting prevents
him/her from being taken out of the UCRP.

On the other hand, the December 2000 contract language between the DOE
and the UC contradicts the UCRP Plan Description. The Contract envisions
the possible desirability of pulling existing retirees out of the UCRP.

The Prime Contract states, in section H.008, (f), (2), (ii):
"Notwithstanding the [other] provisions of paragraph (f), the parties
further agree to consider the desirability of covering [current]
pensioners, survivors [of those already retired], and terminated vested
and nonvested members under a successor plan."

This is disturbing, to say the least. Many employees at LANL have sought
clarification of this confusion, to no avail. We have spoken with the
Department of Labor, with officers of the Laboratory, with University of
California Benefits, and with the UC Office of the President. The
confusion is not limited to Laboratory employees and retirees. Senator
Bingaman is on record as being surprised by the lack of clarity in this

The employees and annuitants deserve accurate, timely, and legally
defensible information. So far, however, no spokesperson for the
University has done other than to duck the question.

I am requesting that the Regents have their legal staff prepare a white
paper resolving this matter, and that the paper be made available to
Laboratory UC employees and retirees so that they can know exactly what
“vesting” means as we approach a possible contract termination.

Abram R. ("Abe") Jacobson

Betrayed, Again

Thanks, UC. Thanks for nothing. First, 20+ years of neglect. Then Nanos. Then the shutdown. Your treatment of Todd and Sara Kauppila. Now you're dumping us.

Thank you very much.

Move to separate LANL pension fund irks employees

By Heather Clark The Associated Press |
January 19, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE — A University of California Board of Regents committee voted Wednesday to separate a pension fund covering Los Alamos National Laboratory employees from the university’s overall retirement fund.

The change now goes to the full Board of Regents for a vote today in San Diego, UC spokesman Chris Harrington said.

The move has outraged employees at the nuclearweapons lab who have been concerned about their benefits during a competition to manage the lab that began in 2003. Los Alamos National Security — a team headed by UC and Bechtel Corp. — was picked to manage the lab last month. Its contract starts June 1.


Full Story

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Time for everyone to write a letter...NOW!

The Regents of the University of California will meet tomorrow to consider a plan to form a separate retirement entity, UCRP-LANL, for all LANL employees, past and present. I have sent the following letter to Senator Domenici, Senator Bingaman, and Congressman Udall. Perhaps a similar letter from each and every LANL (and LLNL) employee and retiree would be in order.


Dear Senator Domenici:

I am very disturbed about the ill-advised scheme to break off the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) for Los Alamos National Laboratory into a separate entity, so-called UCRP-LANL. This act would be most destructive of the morale at the Lab, since it would unnecessarily put at risk the retirement of people like myself, who have contributed long years of service to our nation's security, and would also make it very difficult in the future to attract the very best talent to Los Alamos for the scientific research necessary to guarantee our nation's well-being. This is nothing less than a betrayal of trust.

With the demise of so many retirement plans among corporations all over the country, I have no faith whatsoever in the health of a retirement system consisting of a small pool of employees over the long term--LANL has only about 14,000 employees and retirees, compared to 200,000 in the UC system.

Furthermore, it is terribly unfair to suddenly force people who have worked for over two decades at the Lab under the UCRP system into an entirely new and unknown entity. Retirement is all about planning, and we have been given no opportunity to plan for such a catastrophic turn of events.

I hope you will look with great urgency into this matter of such importance to your constituents.

-Brad Lee Holian
Santa Fe, NM
LANL e-mail: blh@lanl.gov

Retire (in disgust) with lump sum benefits option.

From Anonymous:

Anonymous post please.

Regarding the apparent planned pension changes by UC:

State your intention to retire (in disgust) with lump sum benefits option.
Action to be taken because UC has made it clear that/LLC/DOE/UC can't be
trusted. Result will be decimation of the senior talent at the weapons complex,
with consequent effects on national security. All UC's doing.

Email everyone with a stake:

Even if UC action was taken, it can always be "reconsidered".

UC committee votes to separate Los Alamos lab pension plan

Associated Press

A University of California Board of Regents committee voted Wednesday to separate a pension fund covering Los Alamos National Laboratory employees from the university's overall retirement fund.

The change now goes to the full Board of Regents for a vote Thursday in San Diego, UC spokesman Chris Harrington said.

The move has outraged employees at the nuclear weapons lab who have been concerned about their benefits during a competition to manage the lab that began in 2003. Los Alamos National Security - a team headed by UC and Bechtel Corp. - was picked to manage the lab last month. Its contract starts June 1.

"People are just livid at this point," said Charles Mansfield, president of the Laboratory Retiree Group, Inc., after Wednesday's vote. The group represents about 750 households.

"It's unconscionable because the retirees were promised that we would be a part of the University of California retirement plan," he said. "This leaves us in a very tenuous situation."


Full Story

Motto of the staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory: "We are all in this...alone."
(Welcome, colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.)
Once again, we see the consequences of a VERY BAD IDEA--the privatization of LANL.
Has the time yet come for collective action?

Evaluate if a class action suit is feasible

A comment by our very prolific "b-ohica" on the



I have just received word that the following law firm in Oakland, Ca has been asked to watch this blog where they will gather your concerns and evaluate if a class action suit is in fact feasible on behalf of employees from both national labs. These people are on the employee’s side. Please keep it that way.

GICCB was made aware of the meeting that took place in San Diego and what was to be discussed. Please do not let this stop each and everyone of you from contacting GICCB and express your concerns on just how you feel about this breech of contract on University of California’s behalf. Your message needs to come through load and clear, however it will not unless we can get all 16,000 current employees and all of its retirees involved. Remember that it isn’t over until the fat lady sings. Please do not accept defeat.

I can only assume that SPSE has asked for the names and addresses of every retiree from both LANL and LLNL from HR and requested that be notified by mail; informing them of what is going on. It is my hopes that someone has taken this for action. Any further delays may cost all of us what we are truly entitled too.

For all the LLNL employees I have one thing to say; "YOU ARE NEXT". I would encourage all of you to save your retirement by partaking in this endeavor. Please take the time contact http://www.lawyers.com/giccb/ContactUs.jsp and just say no. NOT NOW & NOT EVER

A paragraph from the UC PDF that all LLNL employees should take to heart:

...a similar model further refined by the LANL experience could be used
when the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory management contract is
put out for bid, which the DOE/NNSA have indicated will occur in
2006 or 2007.

They can be contacted at
Office Location(s)
Oakland, California
1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1600
Oakland, California 94612-3528
Telephone: 510-832-5411
Fax: 510-832-1918 URL:

Update on the port scan of my web server by the Federal Judiciary


I received a phone message today from the IT person at the US Federal Judiciary with whom I had spoken regarding the port scan of my web server by a uscourts.gov machine on January 13. I did not fully understand the explanation, which was:

"The port scan on your web server accidentally occurred when a dsl line was being debugged. The persons conducting the port scan accidentally targeted your IP address instead of the intended target, which had an IP address identical to yours, except for one digit."

I do not fully understand this explanation, and will be requesting additional information tomorrow.


Retirees keep eyes on pension moves

ROGER SNODGRASS, roger@lamonitor.com, Monitor Assistant Editor

Recently retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bill Stanbro was not alone in expressing concern about the pension item on the tomorrow agenda for the University of California Board of Regents.

"It's not clear what they're up to there," he said this morning.

Late last week, a number of retirees sounded an alarm about UC's plans to set up a separate pension plan for LANL under a proposal submitted by UC President Robert C. Dynes.

E-mails were posted and calls went out for congressional intervention from individuals and representatives of retiree and employee groups.

Full Story

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Los Alamos pension plan underfunded

Once-strong program now running short
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER

The plush University of California pension that kept thousands of scientists working on U.S. nuclear weapons is losing its gold-plated luster, posting its first shortfall in decades.

From the latter days of the Cold War until recently, the university's retirement plan of more than $40 billion has been one of the nation's largest and healthiest, with a sufficient surplus of assets over liabilities so that employees have not had to contribute to their retirement for 15 years.

But this week, as the university's governing Board of Regents considers carving out a separate, "cloned" pension plan for employees at Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of two nuclear-weapons labs run by the university, a report prepared for the university shows that such a plan would start out underfunded by $54 million.


Full Story

Monday, January 16, 2006

Timely UCRP Pension Concern Voiced by UPTE

[Note: Good luck on getting anybody to intervene on this. The UC special committee on compensation is meeting to decide on this Wednesday. This Wednesday. --Doug]

From: J. Binstock
To: senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov, senator_domenici@domenici.senate.gov, tom.udall@mail.house.gov, Senator.Ducheny@sen.ca.gov
Cc: camrl@la-tierra.com, pumbanm@cybermesa.com, president@upte-cwa.org, steve.cz@comcast.net, Robert.Dynes@ucop.edu, lanlblog@parrot-farm.net
Date: Jan 16, 2006 2:32 PM
Subject: Timely UCRP Pension Concern Voiced by UPTE

Senator Jeff Bingaman,
Senator Domenici,
Representative Tom Udall,
CA Senator Denise Ducheny,
Manuel Trujillo
Chuck Montano
Jelger Kjalmijn
Steve Czuchlewski (CLE (Coalition for LANL Excellence), member of Executive Committee>,
President Dynes

Manuel Trujillo, president of the Los Alamos chapter of UPTE (Union of Professional and Technical Employees), has authorized me to send you this email on his behalf. Manuel expects to visit the Santa Fe offices of Senator Bingaman and Representative Udall to discuss this issue, on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 17. Since the subject of our concern is the proposal that University of California (UC) President Dynes will present at 10:50 PT on the morning of Wednesday, January 18, the issue is a timely one.

Our Concern
We would like your help in forestalling what appears to be an imminent massive (in the billion dollar range) raid on the pension fund assets of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) retirees and inactive members. The actuarily-derived "surplus" that is at stake is a phantom surplus, that becomes a shortfall if ERISA-required life-expectancy tables are used, instead of the arbitrary Regents-sanctioned incorrect tables specified in the UCRP source document (see the discussion we present in ref. 1 below). It is in the interests of the LANL UCRP retirees and inactive members for the following proposal to be delayed until the California Legislature has a chance to evaluate the consequences. It is entirely possible that the California Legislature is unaware that UC has a Regents-provided exemption from Federal ERISA requirements, and that all UCRP members (most of whom vote in California) lack the basic protection provided by ERISA.

The attached UCRPDoc.pdf (accessed from the LANL home page Friday January 13, 2006) contains the proposal by UC President Dynes to create a separate UCRP-LANL pension plan, to be discussed at the 1/18/06 Regents' meeting described in the attached comp.pdf. This proposal contains the statement

"To facilitate compliance with the current UC-DOE LANL contract close-out obligations and to provide for administration of a site-specific plan, consistent with the objectives of the National Nuclear Security Administration, President Robert C. Dynes is recommending that the UC Board of Regents consider at their January meeting a proposal to place the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) assets and liabilities of the LANL employees, retirees and inactive members in a separate UCsponsored pension plan, the UCRP-LANL Plan, subject to DOE approval."

However, a separate UCsponsored pension plan is not required by the UC-DOE LANL prime contract W-7405-ENG-36, which can be found at http://labs.ucop.edu/internet/comix/contract/LANL/lanl_k.pdf
(See p. 20, H.008 for UCRP pension requirements).
Only site-specific bookkeeping is required, and that is already a part of the current annual process. What this new Plan will facilitate, for LANL UCRP retirees and inactive members, is (from a reading of the UC-DOE LANL prime contract)
(a) a skimming of their "surplus" pension assets
(b) different treatment from those in the main UCRP Plan, up to and including their transfer out of UCRP altogether and into the new as-yet-to be-determined stand-alone pension plan associated with the new LANL contractor. Another possibility is that their pension plan membership will be terminated and private annuities will be bought with their actuarily-determined liability amount. The annuity that this actuarily-determined liability amount will buy on the open market is substantially less than the associated UCRP monthly payment, again due to the UCRP determination of liability using the incorrect life-expectancy tables discussed below in ref. 1.

As UCRP members who vote in California would vote against anyone who permitted these attacks on their pension assets, the Regents would want to exclude Californians from these actions, hence LANL UCRP members have to be separated out.

However, if the UCRP pension money of LANL retirees and inactive members can be isolated and skimmed off in this manner, Livermore could be next, so Livermore should be as concerned as we are about the proposal to be presented 1/18/06.

Below find a more detailed discussion of these issues.

* * * * * * * * *

Five points of concern follow, although much more can be said:

(1) UC uses understated (non-ERISA) life expectancies (ref. 1), and

(2) the current contract specifies that the entire (overstated) pension surplus goes to the new stand-alone pension plan (or reverts to DOE) (ref. 2).

The fact that the surplus is overstated (point 2) follows from the use of the understated life expectancies (point 1). Point (1) also results in understated lump sums for those who choose that option.

If the UC pension plan were required to comply with ERISA regulations, the current "surplus" would change sign.

(3) The new, intermediate, pension plan proposed by President Dynes in UCRPDoc.pdf will not only have its "surplus" skimmed off for the newer stand-alone plan (or for DOE), it will also have no active employees after the transition to the new stand-alone pension plan called for in the RFP. All members in the intermediate UCRP-LANL pension plan will be either retired or inactive. This means that should the assumed 7.5% return on assets not materialize, or should the UCRP-LANL plan members turn out to have the life expectancies represented by the ERISA tables, they will find their pension funds run out of money before the pensioners run out of years. There will be no new source of money from active employees, as there will be no active employees. This would not be the case if UCRP-LANL pensioners remained in the main UCRP plan.

(4) The current formula for the UCRP annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) underrepresents the Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment. For example, if the the CPI growth for a given year is 4%, the UCRP cola is 2%. The UCRP source document cited in Ref. 1 specifies that a CPI growth rate of 4% is assumed, so a COLA of 2% is assumed for the liability calculation. Currently, UCRP supplements its annual COLA's with occasional additional ad hoc cost-of-living adjustments intended to keep a floor under pension buying power. Separating out the UCRP-LANL plan will permit UC to reserve its ad hoc COLA's for the main plan. This would be justified by the fact that the "surplus" has been skimmed from the UCRP-LANL plan, and funding for ad hoc COLA's has to come out of this "surplus", because it isn't included in the liabilities.

(5) What state law will govern the separate UCRP-LANL pension plan proposed by President Dynes - California's or New Mexico's? How interested will the California Legislature be in overseeing a separate pension plan for people who live and vote in another state? What checks and balances are there for pensioners who can't vote the pension plan overseers out of office?

In addition to requesting that there be no split-off UCRP-LANL pension plan, we suggest that ERISA rules be applied to both the main UCRP pension plan (it is currently exempt), and to any stand-alone successor pension plan. The application of Sarbanes-Oxley-like rules to require language clarity in DOE contracts governing the treatment of thousands of employees would also be desirable.

* * * * * * * * *

See below for the relevant citations from the UCRP source document and Section H.008 of the current contract.

Reference (1): Article 2.06(c), page 15 of University of California Retirement Plan source document dated September 2004. Note that the ERISA-mandated tables are unisex, with no age age setback, so that UC is twice-over reducing the assumed life-expectancy, for a drastically understated UC-assumed liability.
Actuarially Equivalent means benefits and payment options the actuarial
present values of which are equal. Actuarial present values shall be
determined using the Actuarial Assumptions from time to time approved
by The Regents and incorporated into this Section. The current
assumptions are:
(a) assumed rate of investment earnings: 7.5% per year;

(b) assumed rate of Consumer Price Index movement: 4.0% per year;
(c) assumed rates of mortality used to determine benefits and payment
(i) Effective July 1, 2004, the 1994 Group Annuity Reserving Table
for Males with ages set back three years for the Member and
ages set back five years for the Eligible Survivor or Contingent
(ii) Prior to July 1, 2004, 1983 Group Annuity Table with age set
back four years for the Member and set back six years for the
Eligible Survivor or Contingent Annuitant;


Reference (2): Section H.008 (f) pp. 27-30 of the current UC Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36, Modification No. M579. Note that it is the A-B formula that results in the entire (overstated) surplus being transferred either to the successor pension plan or to the DOE.

(f) Contract termination and selection of a successor contractor. Should another contractor
replace the Contractor, the following become requirements:
(1) Liabilities for present and future benefits of Contract employees in the event there
is a successor plan. The liabilities as of the effective date of disaffiliation for
members to be covered by a successor pension plan shall be calculated by using

the UCRP Plan provisions, actuarial assumptions, and actuarial cost methods as
then in effect. Active members not retained by the Contractor are the only
members to be covered by a successor pension plan.
(2) (i) Contract service assets in the event there is a successor pension plan.
Contract service assets shall be determined by a formula to be negotiated
between the Parties, subject to an IRS ruling and in compliance with the
laws of the State of California as to permitted agreements that may be
contained in the aforementioned formula. If permitted, contract service
assets for a successor contractor shall be determined generally in

accordance with the following formula:

A - B, where
A = Market value of assets assigned to the DOE Laboratories as
determined from subparagraph (b)(5), as of the last business day of the
calendar quarter which ends coincident with, or next preceding, the
effective date of disaffiliation. From the effective date of spin-off to the
date of transfer of the assets, interest will be credited at the rate
established for a one year Treasury bill as published by the Federal
B = Liabilities associated with pensioners, survivors, terminated vested
and nonvested inactive members, members receiving disability income
under the UCRP and active members (contract employees) who are
retained by the Contractor as determined pursuant to subparagraph (f)(1)
If, for technical, administrative, or regulatory reasons, the preceding
formula proves inapplicable, the Contractor and DOE shall bargain in good
faith to produce a result which would be as equitable to both parties as the
preceding formula and in compliance with applicable law.
(ii) In no event, however, shall the UCRP retain an amount less than the
liabilities for benefits of members whose liabilities are retained by the
Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph (f), the Parties
further agree to consider the desirability of covering pensioners, survivors,
UCRP disability recipients, and terminated vested and nonvested members
under a successor plan.

(3) Disposition of contract service assets and liabilities. The Parties agree that any
disposition of contract service assets or transfer of liabilities upon Contract

termination shall be consistent with the then applicable federal and state laws
relating to qualified defined benefit pension plans and shall be subject to obtaining
such rulings and/or approvals from cognizant Federal and State agencies as may be
required by law or deemed prudent by the Contractor or DOE.

(i) Retention of assets and liabilities. When a successor pension plan has
been established by a successor contractor, UCRP shall retain the liabilities
associated with pensioners, survivors, UCRP disability recipients, and
terminated vested and nonvested members and active members who are
retained by the Contractor as determined in subparagraph (f)(1) above. In
the event that there is no successor plan, UCRP shall retain the liabilities
associated with all members (contract employees).
(ii) Transfer of assets and liabilities to successor pension plan. Under a
successor pension plan acceptable to the DOE and which fulfills all of the
Contractor's fiduciary responsibilities under UCRP, and which further
assumes UCRP liabilities for transferred Contract employees, the
Contractor agrees to transfer to the trustees of such successor plan an
amount equal to the contract service assets as determined in subparagraph
(f)(2) above. Such amount shall be transferred as investment holdings of
the UCRP, plus any necessary United States Currency, or, by mutual
agreement of the Parties, the total amount may be transferred as United
States Currency. Agreement by the DOE and Contractor will not be
unreasonably withheld.
(A) If the asset transfer to the successor contractor's trust is made in
the form of investment holdings, such holdings shall include cash,
equity securities and fixed income securities, but shall exclude
investment holdings (and earnings thereon) acquired after the
effective date of disaffiliation. Such assets shall be allocated on a
pro-rated basis, with proration for fixed income assets based on
rating and classification. The pro-rata allocation shall be the ratio
of (A) and (B) where, (A) is the contract service assets referred to
in subparagraph (f)(2) above and (B) is the total assets of the
Retirement Fund of UCRP at market value as of the effective date
of disaffiliation. Such assets shall be transferred within 36 months
of the effective date of disaffiliation, and shall include actual
investment earnings(gains or losses) of such assets less expenses
and benefit disbursements from the effective date of disaffiliation
to the date of transfer.
(B) The Contractor will transfer assets at a rate at least sufficient to
meet the cashflow requirement of transferred employees who go
into benefit status under the successor plan.
(C) If the transfer is made as United States Currency, the transfer shall
be increased to include interest on the amount at the rate

established for a one year Treasury bill as published by the Federal

Reserve, from the first day following the effective date of
disaffiliation through the day of payment.
(4) DOE agrees to require that, in the event of termination of work under the contract,
a successor contractor shall permanently maintain the benefit accrual terms and
conditions of UCRP for the Contractor employees transferred to the successor
contractor insofar as UCRP is consistent with the provisions of applicable law.
(5) In the event that there is no successor plan, a reconciliation of funding obligations
shall be done. A separate accounting of assets and liabilities for contract
employees shall be maintained by the Contractor. The Contractor shall assure
that accrued obligations to contract employees are met and that the fund is being
prudently managed. If, pursuant to approval by the Regents of the University of
California, all UCRP obligations to contract employees are fulfilled through a plan
spin-off and termination under the process outlined in subparagraphs (e)(3) above
and (g)(2) below, as applicable, the Contractor shall return any net excess assets
attributable to contract employees to DOE, if approved by the Internal Revenue
Service. If a funding shortfall arises as a result of economic conditions beyond the

Contractor's direct control, the DOE agrees to contribute funds necessary to fully
fund liabilities to cover obligations to contract employees, not including active
employees who continue to be permanently employed by the Contractor.
(g) UCRP plan termination.
(1) In the unlikely event of plan termination, the Contractor shall not terminate any

pension plan (commingled or site-specific) without notifying the Department at
least 60 days prior to the scheduled date of plan termination, or if earlier, 60 days
before plan members are notified of the plan termination.
(2) The Contractor may satisfy plan liabilities to plan members by the purchase of
annuities through competitive bidding on the open annuity market or through the

Transition Team

Subject: Re: transition website
From: "Bill Wadt"
Date: Mon, January 16, 2006 9:37 am


DeeDee McInroy is the lead on the FAQs for the transition
web-site. She's working for David McCumber, who's the overall lead for
transition communications. David reports to Micheline Devaurs, who's the
lead for organizational transition. Micheline reports to Rich Marquez
the overall lead for the LANL transition project.

Our goal is to make the transition web-site the best (accurate and
timely) source of information on the transition, so we appreciate your
feedback. I'll check into the backlog. In some cases I know questions
were more appropriate for LANS or LASO to answer. We're working with
them to transfer any of those type of questions.l



Sunday, January 15, 2006

Message has been sent, loud and clear

Here is a message exchange that was sent to me for posting (with the permission of the authors). Personally, I am not a bit surprised by what is described below in the email exchange. In selecting the LANS LLC, the following message has been sent, loud and clear by DOE to UC:

"We like what you do and how you do it. This is why we awarded the contract to you and your industrial partners. Keep up the good work."

My suggestion is that, in the now famous words of Senator Dominici, you all "just get over it!" Assess whether or not the "new" UC presents an acceptable work environment for you, and choose your course of action accordingly.

Granted, what I think does not matter, so without further delay, here is the message exchange. First is an email that was sent to Brad Holian from a concerned staff member:

Brad -
I have been disappointed in the lack of good information on the "transition" website ( http://transition-int.lanl.gov/faq2.shtml). I submitted a question many weeks ago with no response. I contacted Bill Wadt, and he was nice enough to let me know that people were working on a response. But his message also indicated that Jim Fallin was involved in the process of posting answers to questions on the website. Well, no wonder answers have been slow in coming. We've been through this before with the Reader's Forum of the LANL Newsbulletin. (By the way, that problem has recently re-surfaced).

If you know Bill, I would urge you to contact him and suggest that Jim Fallin may not be the best person to be in charge of "Q&A" for the transition website. I don't know the extent of Fallin's involvement, but it's not a good sign.

In response, Brad sent this message to Bill Wadt:

Dear Bill:

Surely, this is some kind of bad joke! Can the transition team really be so blind as to put Fallin as the gatekeeper for comments on the transition? He has a very bad record of stonewalling during the shutdown, keeping any critical comments off of the Readers' Forum. And now this?

I looked myself for the questions that were posted on the Lab website, to see if they had indeed, as promised, been answered on the transition website. No such luck. The transition team is ill-served by a Haldeman-style gatekeeper, whoever s/he is--the staff needs to have answers to their questions posted in a timely fashion. Maybe you can see that something is done to break the logjam.

Thanks for your consideration of this important matter.


-Brad Lee Holian
Group X-7, Mail Stop B268
Applied Physics Division
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM 87545
phone: 505-667-9237
email: blh@lanl.gov


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Don't have the time


I simply do not have the time to add comments to posts for people. If you want to comment on material that has been submitted to this blog, and you do not have a blogger.com account, please go to blogger.com and spend the 45 seconds that it takes to set one up. Then all you will need to do is click on the "Comments" link at the bottom of a post and you will be able to add your comments yourselves.


Ironic that it comes right after Thursday's political pep talk

To our friends and supporters:

Yesterday marked an interesting milestone and I thought you'd be interested in the outcome. Ironic that it comes right after Thursday's political pep talk.

Shortly after Todd's death, LANL/UC indicated a desire to settle with me and yesterday we went to mediation in an attempt to come to a settlement. The mediator was Paul Bardacke, whom I will praise highly as a man of integrity and intelligence. He acted as an excellent mediator and didn't speak down to me just because I was the only one present who wasn't a lawyer.

I had already been warned by my attorney of the difficulties we faced due to the case law regarding survivorship. Todd, himself, would have an excellent case, but I, as surviving widow, have a much more difficult legal claim in the wrongful dismissal case. The fact that the stress of having been unfairly dismissed by his employer of 21 years killed Todd seems to have, in a legal sense, gotten UC off the hook for the fraudulent and criminal acts perpetrated by Nanos and his accomplices. Nonetheless, I still had a naïve idea that UC would help me, and went into the mediation thinking that they would be willing to offer a reasonable settlement. It was very clear moments after the slick lawyer (not a UC employee, but one from a private law firm retained by UC) started his opening statement that their intentions were very much other than what I'd hoped for. He quoted complicated law, callously reiterated Nanos' lies about Todd, and proceeded to tell me that it is their opinion that I have no claim whatsoever.

I won't state the amounts discussed, but I don't feel I was being unreasonable given the magnitude of our loss. Many people have expressed the opinion that I should have been asking for millions, but it's not that easy. Based on the legal difficulty noted above and the fact that I really just wanted to get it over with and move on with my life, I was willing to accept an amount close to what Todd's life insurance would have paid. Despite previous statements (mostly due to my own confusion) that amount was closer to $550K rather than a million. You would think UC would have been thrilled to accept those terms when you consider the magnitude of the abuse that they inflicted upon us. At one point during the mediation, I would have settled for much less than that since the UC lawyers had agreed to put out a statement clearing Todd's name (that was unexpected?but we never got far enough for me to know if they would have been willing to say it in a way that was acceptable to me!) Unfortunately their offer was so very pathetic that I honestly would have felt cheap and dirty taking it. After taxes and legal costs the amount offered would have just about purchased us a used car. Their willingness to mediate was clearly a ploy to make them look good (they can now claim that they tried to settle and make me look like the irrational, greedy widow who wouldn't accept their offers!) I am having a very hard time understanding how UC could perceive that the amount I would settle for was out of line if they were really willing to publicly clear Todd's name. For any of you still out there who honestly thought that LANL/UC would do what is right ?sorry. They sat right across from me and defended Nanos and his actions. Clearly the attitudes that permeated LANL/UC management have not changed with the new contract. The fact that people who were directly involved in Todd's destruction are being retained in high positions is clear evidence that nothing has changed. I feel for all of you as you defend your pensions and would remind those who may have gotten comfortable in the past few months that good employees are expendable to UC's politics.

So I keep fighting instead of moving on with life. There are legal hurdles to overcome, but it`s not over, and I have very good attorneys working for me, too. I may get nothing in the end, but I'm feeling very comfortable with my decision. I can live with the fact that I didn't just roll over and take the pittance offered for all the wrong done.

Thanks again for all your support.

Sara Kauppila


According to these documents, all LANL retirees will be affected, not just those who choose to retire during the contract transition period.



Big changes sought in how UC raises pay

Big changes sought in how UC raises pay
Regents asked to give president more power to set salary levels

Todd Wallack, Tanya Schevitz, Chronicle Staff Writers
Friday, January 13, 2006

The University of California's governing board will vote on a sweeping proposal next week to give President Robert Dynes the power to boost salaries for top executives by as much as $296,900 over three years without the board's approval.

UC says the proposal is part of a broad plan approved by the Board of Regents last year to make pay competitive with other top universities around the nation.

"The strategy is to attract and retain the highest quality academic, managerial and staff talent," the proposal reads.

UC officials have been under fire over their pay practices. In November, The Chronicle highlighted UC's practice of routinely paying some employees far more than disclosed to the public. Last year alone, UC gave employees hundreds of millions of dollars in extra pay on top of their salaries.


Full Story

This one incident sounds more like incompetent management

[I hesitate to post this, because this one incident sounds more like incompetent management rather than sexual harassment. However, were I not to agree to posting it, that could be construed as another bit of evidence in support of claims of systemic (as compared to isolated) patterns of permissive sexual harassment at LANL -- one thing I have not seen in evidence during my 20 years there. --Doug]

Hi, would you post this for me? I think I would rather it were anonymous until I get the necessary paperwork done. Thanks.

Is Sexual Discrimination Alive and Well at LANL?

When I came to this laboratory as a postdoc a year ago, I had no idea that sexual discrimination still existed. In the last year, I have experienced firsthand how prevalent it is. At first, I decided just to let it all go, since I knew my time here was limited. I figured I could just put up with it, get my work done, and get out at the end of two years. That changed yesterday. I discovered that my postdoc mentor, whom I had assumed was simply really bad at mentoring in general, was busily mentoring a male postdoc in my group who technically is someone else's postdoc. This male postdoc was encouraged to apply for faculty positions so that he had leverage during his conversion process here at LANL. My mentor is actively engaged in pushing forward the conversion of this postdoc, finding him the appropriate department in which to convert, and then finding him the necessary sponsor to do so. The only mentoring I have received thus far from this man is a vague statement about how I should try to go to a conference before I leave. Before anyone cries "sour grapes", let me explain that the male postdoc being mentored absolutely deserves to be converted-he is far and away one of the most outstanding scientists in his field. I don't object to his conversion-I object that it is being facilitated by my postdoc mentor, and not his own.

The above is just an example of the types of incidents that have occurred in the last year that have convinced me that the LANL "old boy's club" is alive and well. This disgusts me. It is bad enough that doing a postdoc at LANL is similar to career suicide if you aren't a physicist, but to watch my career land squarely in the toilet AND be mistreated because I'm female is too much. I intend to pursue legal action against the lab.

I know from conversations with other women at the lab that they have experienced similar situations. I know also that it takes a lot to stand up and say that it's wrong. I would like to ask women across LANL, in every field, to come to me with your stories, so that we can make this stop. Email me at lanlwomenstandup@yahoo.com, and perhaps we can make a difference together. The more women who speak up, the greater the likelihood that things will change. You may remain anonymous if you wish. It is not right for someone to discount you because you're a woman, no matter what. There are laws against that, and even LANL has to abide by them.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Competition for new Livermore lab contract begins

By Betsy Mason

The competition to find the next manager of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is underway. The Department of Energy got the ball rolling Friday with a request for interested parties to make themselves known.

A draft request for proposals, complete with contract terms, is tentatively scheduled for release this summer.

The University of California's current contract is set to expire Sept. 30, 2007. That date includes a two-year extension granted so competition for the Livermore management contract could be held separately from the Los Alamos National Laboratory competition, which was just completed in December.


Full Story

"Widespread mismanagement of LANL by UC"

"Widespread mismanagement of the Los Alamos National Laboratory by the University of California system led to a January 2004 decision to put Argonne and four other university-run labs up for competitive bidding." [-U of C (as in 'Chicago') Student Newspaper]


New DOE guidelines intensify race for Argonne

By Isaac Wolf
January 13, 2006 in News

The University’s effort to keep Argonne management right intensified last week as the federal government release stewardship guidelines for the lab

The outline, formally called a Request for Proposal, represents the Department of Energy’s (DOE) changing requirements for running Argonne, and could reflect weaknesses in the University’s current efforts or long-term expectation changes from the Department of Energy.

One main change is the DOE’s call for a new corporate body to oversee Argonne, according to University Vice President Thomas Rosenbaum. “This appears to be the model that DOE is moving towards throughout the national laboratory system,” Rosenbaum said.

The proposal also increases Argonne’s yearly management stipend from $3.5 million to $5.8 million. That increase would make Argonne more attractive to firms interested in the half-billion-dollar-a-year lab, which is located about 25 miles from the Chicago loop and focuses on high level physics, chemistry, and energy.

To Rosenbaum, the new management guidelines appropriately balance science and management expectations. Responding to the new guidelines, Rosenbaum said, “We are concentrating on producing a proposal that will permit us to exceed [the DOE’s] expectations.”

According to a press release from the University news office, the U of C has partnered with BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT) to bid on the contract for Argonne. BWXT, which provides management and operations support at nine DOE sites, is a well known leader in the industry of nuclear facilities operations. BWXT shares the University’s goals in the future management of Argonne. The University has managed Argonne since its creation in 1946, but the current contract expires this September.

Helping to drive the University’s effort to create a superlative Argonne management proposal is the competition it faces for the lab. Firms vying for Argonne include Battelle, the not-for-profit group that manages five national laboratories. In February 2005, Battelle took over the University of Chicago’s management of Argonne West, the lab in Idaho.

Widespread mismanagement of the Los Alamos National Laboratory by the University of California system led to a January 2004 decision to put Argonne and four other university-run labs up for competitive bidding.

While Battelle is considered the University’s most formidable competition for Argonne, some of the group’s labs have come under scrutiny for security and safety problems. At Oak Ridge, the Battelle lab in Tennessee, nuclear facilities were grossly unsecured, according to security analysts.

Ronald Timm and Peter Stockton, both national security analysts and former federal employees, visited Oak Ridge in September 2005 to learn about the lab’s security on behalf of the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C. think-tank.

After the two had an unsatisfactory glimpse—Timm said they received a “9th grade science tour”—they decided to take matters into their own hands: They would test the lab’s security by penetrating the Oak Ridge campus as far as security would allow.

Driving around Oak Ridge, the two stopped to get directions to the building with Uranium-233, Timm said. When they arrived at the building, the two security guards on the premises drove away.

Timm and Stockton parked within 10 feet of the building and spent 20 minutes walking around before security officers and suited Battelle officials stopped them, Timm said.

“It was poor security,” Timm said. “From my experience testing facilities, this was not the cream of the crop. And this was not standard procedure of how to secure a nuclear site.”

Oak Ridge spokesman Walter Perry disputed Timm’s claim, saying that the car had been parked in front a building that did not have nuclear materials and the two visitors were on sidewalks accessible to anyone on the lab campus.

Asked if Oak Ridge has ordered broad security review, Perry said the lab does not reveal its practices. “We are always reviewing our security practices to ensure our facilities and the employees who work in them are well protected,” he said. “One can rest assured that we are, and will always be, well prepared to deal with any adversaries.”

Another Battelle-run lab, Brookhaven, located in Long Island, New York, is also facing criticism. In the DOE’s 2004 annual evaluation, Brookhaven was reprimanded with a “marginal” rating for its “Safety and Health” performance.

In the report, the DOE charged that Brookhaven’s safety improvements included too much “low lying fruit,” with management “choosing not to select the more difficult tasks such as culture change, incident investigation, corrective actions, skill of the craft, etc.”

Responding to the report in a May 2005 letter, Brookhaven Director Praveen Chaudhari wrote that Brookhaven is striving to lower the rate of injuries.

Copyright © 1995-2005 Chicago Maroon


Max the farmer was in the fertilized egg business.
He had several hundred young layers (hens), called pullets and eight or ten
roosters, whose job was to fertilize the eggs.

The farmer kept records and any rooster that didn't perform went into the
soup pot and was replaced.

That took an awful lot of his time so he bought a set of tiny bells and
attached them to his roosters.
Each bell had a different tone so Max could tell from a distance, which
rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an
efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch, a very fine specimen he was,
too. But on this particular morning Max noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung
at all!

Max went to investigate. The other roosters were chasing pullets,
bells-a-ringing. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for

But to Farmer Max's amazement, Butch had his bell in his beak, so it
couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next

Max was so proud of Butch, he entered him in the county fair and Butch
became an overnight sensation among the judges. The result...The judges not
only awarded Butch the "No Bell Piece Prize" but they also awarded him the
"Pulletsurprise" as well.

Clearly Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician
could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our
planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them
when they weren't paying attention?

Decidedly unfriendly behavior

Our friends over at uscourts.gov have suddenly decided to be bad neighbors. After days of using nagios-plugins 1.4.2 to troll the blog every three minutes (which I don't mind, btw), they attempted a port scan on my web server (which I do mind). See the picture for the log of the event. I've blacklisted them from that server. Can any of you security guys out there venture a guess at what they were attempting?


Domenici: LANL can't become 'endangered species'

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican

January 13, 2006

LOS ALAMOS -- The senator rallied scientists, rapped federal bureaucrats and broke ground on an $850 million construction project Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said he wants the future of Los Alamos National Laboratory to be one that's more scientific and less regulated for scientists in a speech to employees.


Full Story

Thursday, January 12, 2006



Encourages Unified Transition, NNSA Reforms to Aid Scientists
(Text of Prepared Remarks Included Below)

LOS ALAMOS - U.S. Senator Pete Domenici strongly encouraged Los Alamos National Laboratory employees to be part of a unified effort to successfully transition to a new management regime, while he works to prompt reforms on the federal level to further improve their capabilities.

Domenici, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds LANL and the Energy Department's weapons complex, today delivered an "all hands" employee address in Los Alamos as part of day-long visit to the city made famous by the Manhattan Project during World War II. In late December, DOE selected Los Alamos National Security LLC to assume management of the famed laboratory. LANS includes the University of California and the Bechtel Corp.

"We need a strong start with the new contract and the new year. It will take a unified effort among employees, the new contracting team and the NNSA to ensure there is a smooth transition period. I am confident outstanding questions about employee benefits and other issues will soon be resolved and that Los Alamos can move forward into a bright new era," Domenici said.

"We have a real opportunity with this new team to draw on its vast technical experience and new ideas to make a real difference in lab operations," he said. "Everyone must work with the new team to make a difference. Change is not easy, especially after 60 years. But it is inevitable. Every employee must do their part to suggest and implement positive reforms. New ideas and visions will sustain and challenge scientific growth at the labs and we need more of them."

Domenici and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman have conferred on obstacles posed by administration of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that impede progress by laboratory scientists at Los Alamos and throughout the national laboratory system. Domenici helped write the 1999 legislation creating the NNSA, but now questions whether its implementation is improving laboratory operations and enhancing national security missions.

"The new organization should focus on reducing bureaucratic red tape to free scientists to spend more time with experiments and less time filling out forms," Domenici said. "The NNSA might not have developed in the way we intended and as a result, makes your job more difficult. If this is the case, the act must be revisited as the NNSA must find a way to cut through the bureaucracy to free scientists to do their jobs."

In pledging to work with Bodman to address NNSA concerns, Domenici also said NNSA must better articulate a vision for LANL and the weapons complex as a whole.

"There are important questions to be answered. What investments are needed to support world-class research at the NNSA labs? When will the NNSA begin to consolidate unnecessary nuclear material so we can invest more in science and less on guarding unnecessary material? To what extent is the NNSA working with the Office of Science to leverage our resources and expertise across the department?" Domenici said.

Finally, Domenici highlighted a bipartisan legislative effort he is undertaking with Senators Jeff Bingaman and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to double federal investment in basic scientific research and education, particularly in secondary levels. The bill will follow recommendations made in a recent National Academies of Science report titled "Rising Above the Gathering Storm."

"The future success of this lab will depend on whether we successfully educate the next generation of scientists. It is clear that we do not invest enough in basic science research and we do a poor job of educating our students and teachers in engineering and science," Domenici said.

As part of his visit to LANL, Domenici also helped break ground on the initial phase of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility, an estimated $850 million nuclear facility construction project. The first phase will include Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building that will contain about 19,500 square feet of radiological laboratory space.

Finally, Domenici joined Los Alamos County officials to announced the Entrada Business Park that will be build on land transferred from DOE property-an initiative he sponsored to spur greater economic diversity and development in Los Alamos.

"This is a positive step in a process that has taken years and years to get moving. I look forward to this area growing and offering more space for Los Alamos as a community to expand," Domenici said.

Domenici is chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Both positions give him funding and oversight jurisdiction over DOE and its overall activities.


The following is the text of Domenici's prepared remarks:

JAN 12, 2006
Let me begin by thanking Director Kuckuck for his fine introduction and for taking on the duty of Lab Director during a critical time for this lab.

Bob stepped in following the shutdown and in the midst of a contract competition and did a tremendous job of getting the operations back to normal and refocused on the lab mission.

Please join me in giving Director Kuckuck a round of applause for his outstanding service.

Bob - I understand there is a lab in California in need of a lab director - are you interested? Don't worry; their contract isn't up for another two years.

Reason for Optimism

I am relieved that NNSA has finally made its decision and awarded the contract, putting and end to a very long period of anxiousness and waiting.

I recognize there are a number of details that are still unresolved, including the employee benefits, but those answers will be coming soon.

We need to get on to a strong start with the new contract and a new year.

It will take a unified effort among employees, the new contracting team and the NNSA to ensure there is a smooth transition period.

The new contracting team, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, has a big challenge ahead.

NNSA has selected the LANS team because they bring together scientific and operational excellence.

We have a real opportunity with this new team, to draw on their vast technical experience and new ideas to make a real difference in lab operations.

I can't tell you how many scientists have asked me to find a way to let them do their job. The new organization should focus on reducing bureaucratic red tape, freeing scientists to spend more time with experiments and less time filling out forms.

It is encouraging that later today; we will break ground on the new $850 million CMR building to replace the existing 53 year facility. The existing lab is long past its prime and it is high time to replace it with a first class facility from science to safety.

Employees must work to implement positive change.

Everyone must work with the new team to make a difference. Change is not easy, especially after 60 years, -- but it is inevitable. Every employee must do their part to suggest and implement positive reforms.

New ideas and visions will sustain and challenge scientific growth at the labs and we need more of them.

Job safety must be a priority. It should be your goal to make operations at LANL on par with the scientific excellence for which this lab is known.

I also challenge the young scientists in this room to become the next leaders. Who among you will be the next Director of Los Alamos? We need to develop young managers and scientists to accept responsibility for the future of this lab.

NNSA must be part of the solution as well.

While we are celebrating this new era, we also need to examine NNSA's role. Congress created the NNSA to improve operations and better execute the national security mission. However, it might not have developed in the way we intended and as a result, makes your job more difficult.

If this is the case, the Act must be revisited. NNSA must find a way to cut through the bureaucracy to free scientist to do their job.

I have shared my concerns with Secretary Bodman and I will work with him to ensure that NNSA does a better job of executing its national security mission.

It is also important for NNSA to articulate its vision for the future for Los Alamos and the complex as a whole.

o What investments are needed to support world-class research at the NNSA labs?
o When will the NNSA begin to consolidate unnecessary nuclear material so we can invest more in science and less on guarding unnecessary material?
o To what extent is the NNSA working with the Office of Science to leverage our resources and expertise across the Department?
I believe the success of this laboratory and the NNSA is critical to our country.

This laboratory was critical in World War II, and it continues to protect this country today.

We cannot allow people like you, or institutions like this, to become endangered species.

Let me explain what I mean by this.

The future success of this lab will depend on whether or not we are successful in educating the next generation of scientists.

Science Funding / Science Education

It is clear that we don't invest enough in basic science research and we do a poor job of educating our students or teachers in engineering and science.

Today, the U.S. is a net importer of high technology products. The U.S. share of high-technology exports have fallen over the last two decades from 30 percent to 17 percent.

In Japan, 66 percent of undergraduates receive degrees in science and engineering. In the U.S. it is only 32 percent.

We need to do a better job of educating our children.

A recent National Academy of Sciences report entitled "Rising above the Gathering Storm" recommended that we make a greater investment in basic sciences research and education in order to remain economically and scientifically competitive.

This year, Senator Bingaman, Senator Alexander and I will introduce legislation that doubles funding for science research and improves scientific education in secondary schools.

You can be sure that the labs will play an important role in this endeavor. The legislation bill will strengthen and extend activities at the DOE to support math and science education.

It will create summer institutes at the national laboratories to enhance the skills of current math and science teachers from around the country.

We will also establish a competitive, merit-based scholarship program to support 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students in math, science, and engineering fields.

The report also recognized that laboratory directed research and development funding is an essential tool to permit scientists to pursue promising scientific discovery.

Norm Augustine, the Chairman of this NAS report and former CEO of Lockheed Martin, noted that lab directed research funding was the most important investment we can make in support of scientific discovery.

The NAS report recommended that all federal research institutions be authorized to direct up to 8 percent of their budgets to LDRD research projects. I concur with this recommendation and I will continue to fight to ensure that we have a healthy LDRD program.


I am pleased that we are able to put the competition behind us and get on with our work.

Clearly, we will all be very busy this year in our joint effort to ensure a successful transition for Los Alamos.

I would like your input on the progress and direction of the transition, to ensure that we are on the right track.

I hope that everyone at the lab will take it upon themselves to do their part to guarantee the success of this great institution.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Domenici to address Lab work force Thursday

[If anybody feels like sending me a summary of what was said at this meeting, I would be happy to share it here. --Doug]

New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici is scheduled to speak to Laboratory employees at 1 p.m., Thursday from the Administration Building Auditorium at Technical Area 3.

Domenici will talk about the future of the Lab in light of the award of a new operating contract for Los Alamos, as well as the overall national vision for science and research, according to a news advisory from his press office.

Standard escort rules apply for admission into the auditorium to hear the talk. The talk also will be broadcast on LABNET Channel 9 and on desktop computers using Real Media stream and IPTV technology.

Domenici also is scheduled to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lab's new Radiological Laboratory Utility Office, phase one of the planned Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement project at TA-55.

To read an all-employee memo from Laboratory Director Bob Kuckuck, click here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

LANS-LLC is going to retain three AD's

From Anonymous:

This is direct from the "horse's mouth" - LANS-LLC is going to retain three AD's:
Doug Beason
Terry Wallace
Susan Seestrom

Small Business?

Submitted by Anonymous:

[Note: This bit of info was submitted earlier, and I requested additional description on the significance represented therein. The submitter responded with the following. --Doug]

This is an Anonymous Post, please...

Could you spell out the significance of this, please?

No desire to put out more rhetoric, throw another "blog" on the fire, not related to lab, have no vested interest in outcome. Reporting verifiable information. Government contracting is not science, logic does not prevail. In contract law you are dealing with abstracts given 'names' not equal to, nor consistent, or required to be consistent with what we would consider 'physical reality'. If this, then that, or this is that, equations, are not required to add up, except in an altered reality artfully created to conform with contract law and maximize the use of loopholes. If we "Ask SBA", SBA would say they are not responsible for evaluating "self-certifications". The RFP was not a small business set aside. Had such been the case, this would already be in the courts. This is no "silver bullet". Would not know where to point a "silver bullet".

LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC will be able to retain the "small business" status for the next 5 years. LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC will be able to compete as a small business. DoE will meet their small business quotas. With the Consent Order in place, the sanction prohibiting UC as a prime contractor for Los Alamos National Labs is circumvented with UC as a subcontractor. UC gets to keep the pension funds, UC gives away the "employee paper points". The United States government pension plan operated by the United States government (actually corporations owned and operated by the United States government for vesting pension funds in stock for profit) increases their stock value in the top 10 contractors. Grumpy folks not with the program and not team players are removed. The partners are able to move risky business behind the 'front' and away from FOIA access. This is an excellent position for the research community that transfers into LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC. Research grants set aside for small business become accessible. The list of advantages is immense. But, it is pyramid scheme, based on a concept that five of the top ten contractors can get together as a partnership and self represent them as a small business. That era ended in 2005. They slipped through the loophole.

Or did they? There is a slight glitch in the timing when the RFP was delayed. Is LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC a small business or a partnership of several large businesses? Can a partnership of several large businesses represent itself as a small business?

Could you spell out the significance of this, please?

LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC is a small business. Project Managers and Group Leaders need to understand the shift and start using the shift to their advantage. Innovation, creativity, and research will flourish. But, if your[sic] stogie[sic] and don't get with the program and understand the principles of being a small business for profit, the exit doors are wide open.

Could you spell out the significance of this, please?

The chance to start over, to be young again, and have financial backing beyond comprehension with advantages never dreamed before comes with the struggles of being young again.

Could you spell out the significance of this, please?

Regards the pension funds, they are being manipulated across the United States in the largest money grab since the turn of the century. There is no safety net. All it takes is two company buyouts and funds are gone forever, another loophole for another day.

Original submission:

This is an Anonymous Post, please...
The following can be verified at: http://www.bpn.gov/ccrinq/scripts/search.asp.
In the Legal Business Name or DBA: type LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC
LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC has no record of doing business with the government. DoE has a requirement to provide a percentage of contracts to small business. In one stroke of the pen, DOE has fulfilled the SBA requirement for many years. Given the opportunity to go with a large business or a small business, there never was a contest. The Final Consent Order, once finally signed, effectively sanction the University of California from doing business as a prime contractor at Los Alamos. DoE had no choice except to enter into a competition. Artfully created and legal, other large DoD and DoE contractors compete routinely against small business by creating these "fronts". All above board, except, You need to look at the articles of incorporation in Delaware (and their special laws).
Is LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC a small business or a partnership of several large businesses? Can a partnership of several large businesses represent itself as a small business? If LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL SECURITY LLC misrepresented their small business certification... Their proposal and subsequent contact award is Null and Void. Lockheed would be the last to raise this question, they have done the same in the past and will in the future. Underlying question: Lockheed and Texas could have created an LLC front specified as a small business. The[y] knew they were competing against a 'small business'.


General Information
Current Registration Status: Active in CCR; Registration valid until 12/23/2006.

DUNS: 175252894
Doing Business As (DBA):
Division Name:
Division Number
Company URL:

Physical Street Address 1: 4200 WEST JEMEZ
Physical Street Address 2: SUITE 200B, BOX 15
Physical City: LOS ALAMOS
Physical State: NM
Physical Zip/Postal Code: 87544-5501
Physical Country: USA

Mailing Address: 4200 WEST JEMEZ
Mailing Address 2: SUITE 200B, BOX 15
Mailing City: LOS ALAMOS
Mailing State: NM
Mailing Zip/Postal Code: 87544-5501
Mailing Country: USA

Business Start Date: 07/19/2005

Corporate Information
Type of Organization
Corporate Entity, Not Tax Exempt
(State of Incorporation is DE)

Business Types/Grants
B1 - Construction Firm
B9 - Large Business
LJ - Limited Liability Company
VN - Contracts

Goods / Services
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

Product Service Codes (PSC)

Federal Supply Classification (FSC)

Small Business Types
This information comes from the Small Business Administration and is not editable by CCR vendors.

Business Types Expiration Date
21 - Small Business --

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
NAICS Code Description Small Business Emerging Small Business

2:51 pm: Lockheed won't protest decision on LANL management

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
January 11, 2006

The losing contractor in a bid to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory has decided not to protest the government's decision.

A coalition including Lockheed Martin Corp. and the University of Texas lost the bid to manage the lab on Dec. 21. The U.S. Department of Energy instead chose a team including the University of California and Bechtel National.

"Although we are very disappointed with the outcome, we have decided at this time not to protest," Lockheed spokeswoman Wendy Owen said by telephone on Wednesday.

She declined to elaborate.


Full Story

Are the "substantial costs of transition" due to new managers?

Submitted by Anonymous:


Upper Lab management summary of the hiring freeze--no, wait, let's not
call it a freeze; let's call it a...constipation.

Since last October the Lab has hired 118 external UCpeople plus a
number of postdoc conversions.
Given a best guess at attrition (retirees, etc.) and the FY06budget,
management projected that the Lab might be able to hire about 300
external (UC) in FY06.

* Since then, the FY06 budget has gone down (e.g., just 3-4 weeks
agothe weapons RTBF budget was hit by an $80M reduction).
* Contrary to whatNNSA told LANL earlier, it looks like there will be
substantial costs of the
transition to LANS that will now come out of LANL's FY06 budget.
* Attrition may be less than anticipated--fewer planned retirementsare
in the queue now than this time last year.

Institutionally, Lab management is very concerned about the FTE level
for the rest of FY06. General priorities for hiring external people:
* Must be truly exceptional
* Early career
* In the best long-term interest of the Lab, rather than hired
primarily todo a very specific job that may be too narrowly focused
* Good indication why the person's skills can't be found within the Lab
(i.e., shift an existing personto do the job).

Question: Do these hiring criteria apply to new managers, too, or are
they so important as to be exempt?
Question: Are the "substantial costs of transition" due to new managers
and their increased salaries?
Question: Is a lower rate of attrition due to the lull before the
storm, namely, the release of details about retirement and benefits to
be disclosed in March?

No protest, Lockheed just said

Submitted by Eli Kintisch, Science Magazine:

No protest, Lockheed just said:

Their spokesperson just told me, solidifying it for UC.

Feel free to post.

Eli Kintisch, Reporter
Science Magazine

The Los Alamos deal: Bad deeds rewarded

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Major mismanagement and security lapses at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico prompted the federal government to seek bids for running the top-secret facility.

From the beginning in 1943, the University of California held the no-bid contract for the lab where the first nuclear weapons were constructed.

And the winner? None other than the University of California, partnered with Bechtel National Inc., the largest project management company in the country and a huge government contractor.


Full Story

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Transition Information Resource

I received an anonymous request to post the following information resource regarding transition issues at LANL.


Los Alamos National Security, LLC

Michael Anastasio, President
Joe Scarpino, Senior Executive
Los Alamos Research Park
4200 West Jemez Road, Suite 200B
Los Alamos, NM 87544
tel: 505.663.5340
fax: 505.663.5440
email: info@LANSLLC.com

B. Sue Kuntz, Acting External Affairs and Communications Manager (Dec. 28-Jan. 18)
Los Alamos Research Park
4200 West Jemez Road, Suite 200B
Los Alamos, NM 87544
tel: 509.539.3497
email: s.kuntz@LANSLLC.com

Jeff Berger , External Affairs and Communications Manager
Los Alamos Research Park
4200 West Jemez Road, Suite 200B
Los Alamos, NM 87544
tel: 505.663.5340
tel: 415.768.6397
fax: 505.663.5440
email: j.berger@LANSLLC.com

Los Alamos Lab Contractor Caught in Scientific Fraud: Work on Chromium Contamination Conflicts With Ties to Polluters

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 10 (AScribe Newswire) -- The consulting firm in charge of investigating how toxic chromium from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) contaminated a regional aquifer fraudulently planted an article in a scientific journal reversing the findings of an earlier study linking the chemical to cancer, according to documents obtained by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

The consultants are ChemRisk, based in San Francisco, who have a multimillion-dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Energy and Centers for Disease Control to examine all chemical and radioactive releases from the lab (LANL), which develops nuclear weapons and is managed by the University of California and Bechtel Corp. ChemRisk's job is to find and catalog historical documents on chemical and radioactive leaks and discharges, but also prioritizing the health risks of the chemicals detected.

In December, extraordinarily high levels of chromium were found in test wells just north of LANL. Today, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Tom Widner of ChemRisk, director for the Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) project, confirmed that his team is investigating the chromium contamination. The Journal said chromium levels in a monitoring well in Mortandad Canyon were more than four times federal drinking water standards and eight times the state ground-water quality standard.

The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 23 that in 1997 ChemRisk distorted the data from a Chinese study linking a form of chromium to stomach cancer to publish an article under the original author's byline that reversed the earlier findings. ChemRisk was working for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on the infamous "Erin Brockovich" case, in which residents of Hinkley, Calif., sued PG&E for polluting their drinking water with chromium-6. PG&E paid $333 million to settle the case.


Full Story

LANL Funding May Change

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering changing the way it funds the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, following a federal audit questioning previous contributions.

Lab manager the University of California makes contributions to the charitable foundation and is reimbursed by DOE. Those reimbursements conflict with federal accounting rules, according to the audit by DOE's Office of the Inspector General.

In the future, the federal government may fund the foundation through a grant rather than from general administrative funds, said Anthony Lovato, the contracting officer at NNSA's Los Alamos office.


Full Story

Consultant's Credibility Doubted; Group Tracks LANL Emissions

By John Arnold
Journal Staff Writer

A Washington D.C.-based environmental watchdog says an environmental consulting firm hired to track decades worth of pollution at Los Alamos National Laboratory should be taken off the job.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hired ChemRisk in 1999 to determine how much pollution has been released by the lab since it was built in 1943.

But the Environmental Working Group is asking the agency to suspend ChemRisk's contract, after the organization learned that the company is involved in investigating chromium contamination in the Los Alamos regional aquifer.

EWG contends that ChemRisk has a conflict of interest in performing such work because the company was hired by California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to help that utility fight the chromium contamination lawsuit depicted in the film "Erin Brockovich."


Full Story

Monday, January 09, 2006

Texas lawmaker reviewing Los Alamos contract

Last Update: 01/09/2006 12:56:04 PM
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A congressman has received most of the materials he requested about the awarding of a contract to run Los Alamos National Laboratory.

That word comes from Lisa Miller, the spokeswoman for Texas Republican Joe Barton. Barton heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


Full Story

Recent letters to the LANL NewsBulletin

A couple of recent letters to the LANL NewsBulletin (the only recent letters to the NewsBulletin)

Editor's Note: As the Laboratory begins in earnest the transition to a new management and operations contractor on June 1, many questions will be raised. While we are publishing this letter, it should be noted that the Laboratory's transition management team, through the Transition Web page, is attempting to respond to questions and concerns raised by the work force. We have referred these letters to the transition team for review. As decisions are made on transition-related matters, information will be added to the Transition Web page. Laboratory employees are urged to check the Transition Web page frequently for information related to the transition.

Dec. 23, 2005


What is being accomplished by making retirees re-apply for their job at the Lab if they want to continue working here? Why do they have to re-compete for their positions? What does the new company care whether they are retired or not?

I can understand starting them over under the new pension plan -- new vacation and sick leave -- but why make them go through the whole process of re-applying? The Lab is going to lose a huge part of its knowledge and experience when those people, who cannot give up that University of California retirement, are forced out.

What is the Lab trying to accomplish by doing this? Also, what are their options if they cash out of UC? Can they stay in their current positions -- or do they also have to re-apply?

--Janet Neff-Shampine


Jan. 4, 2006


Now that the contract is settled is there any hope that the retirement will change for those of us with 20+ years in? The University of California system benefits those [who] joined the Lab at an older age, but those of us who started at a younger age are somewhat "stuck" until we are old. (Example: I have been here 20+ years but can't retire for 20 years because I'm only 45.) Some of us don't care to stay around that long.Will there be a change to reflect "years of service" similar to state or county employees?

--Tom Houlton

Salary limit for contractor key personnel

Page 38 (sec H-36 (d) (iv) of the new contract spells out a limit to the salaries of contractor key personnel:

(iv) Notwithstanding any other term or condition set forth in the Contract, the compensation for each of the Contractor’s Key Personnel, shall not exceed (i) $473,318 benchmark in effect at the time of Contract award (i.e., the Contract’s effective date) or (ii) the revised benchmark amount, in any subsequent government fiscal year, as determined by the applicable Determination of Executive Compensation Benchmark Amount Pursuant to Section 39 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Act (41 U.S.C. 435), as Amended, as required in FAR Subpart 31.205-6 “Compensation for Personal Services”, paragraph (p) “Limitation on allowability of compensation for certain contractor personnel.”

[See http://www.doeal.gov/lanlcontractrecompete/NewLANLContract/SectionBToH05192005.doc]

Q: Does "compensation" include bonuses?
(Re: Mike Anastasio's rumored annual gross of $1.3M as the new Director of LANL--incidentally, this is comparable to the rumored undisclosed amount that C. Paul Robinson of Lockheed Martin earns.)

Nuclear weapons business as usual: Despite past performances Bechtel & UC awarded Los Alamos contract

By Scott Kovac and Sasha Pyle
Online Journal Contributing Writers

Jan 9, 2006, 02:27

In a December 21 announcement that surprised many, powerful Lockheed Martin and its academic bidding partner, the University of Texas, failed to win the plum annual management contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The winning team consisted of Bechtel National, its roster of crony corporations, and the University of California (UC), the lab's manager since the Manhattan Project.

Despite UC's name still being on the contract, this signals a big shift for the lab. Like many of the nation's resources under this administration, it is being privatized and placed into corporate hands, a little further from public view.

Bechtel's victory may be a cause for surprise, but not necessarily for relief. Department of Energy (DOE) officials say Bechtel/UC will provide better "integration of the nuclear weapons complex." Could "integration" be code for monopoly? Bechtel subsidiaries already co-manage Yucca Mountain, the Nevada Test Site, Y12, Savannah River and Pantex -- and they subcontract at eight additional DOE sites. UC still runs Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley Labs, along with Los Alamos. Perhaps DOE couldn't risk introducing a new cast of characters to the legacy of waste, contamination and mismanagement plaguing the national complex, more of which undoubtedly would have been exposed by a clean sweep at LANL.


Full Story

Saturday, January 07, 2006

New lab leaders begin transition

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
January 7, 2006

The next leader of Los Alamos National Laboratory and his deputy have arrived in Los Alamos and are preparing to take over management of the lab.

Michael Anastasio, the incoming lab director, and his deputy, John Mitchell, arrived in Los Alamos this week with a transition team of 24 people, spokeswoman Sue Kuntz said.

Anastasio heads Los Alamos National Security LLC, the new private company that will take over management of the historic lab June 1. The University of California will continue to manage the lab by itself until then.


Full Story

Friday, January 06, 2006

Texas coalition to get debriefing on Los Alamos bid

Associated Press

U.S. Department of Energy officials were debriefing Lockheed Martin Corp. and the University of Texas on Friday about why they did not get the contract to run Los Alamos National Laboratory.

However, Lockheed spokeswoman Wendy Owen said officials do not expect to be able to discuss the contract award right away.

"We're still in a wait-and-see mode," she said.

Owen said she expects it to be the middle of next week before Lockheed officials work through the material on the decision.


Full Story

We have an extremely interested visitor

Starting at 11:04 yesterday morning, I noticed what appears to be an extremely interested visitor to this blog. As of this afternoon, they have made 475 visits. Why, do you suppose, is the Federal Judiciary suddenly so interested in what is going on here? It looks as if a bot has been set up to check in on us every three minutes.

Here are the last few log entries for that host:

igor:[/var/log/httpd]# tail -200 id_time.log | grep lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:01:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:04:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:07:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:10:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:13:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:16:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:19:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:22:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:25:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:28:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:31:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:34:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:37:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:40:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:43:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:46:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:49:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:52:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:55:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:13:58:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:01:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:04:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:07:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:10:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:13:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:16:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:19:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:22:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:25:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:28:04 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:31:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:34:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:37:03 -0700]
lsm10.gtwy.uscourts.gov - - [06/Jan/2006:14:40:03 -0700]


Thursday, January 05, 2006

UC's Los Alamos contract not yet a done deal

Failed suitor Lockheed Martin could file protest of award, awaits Energy Department briefing on reasons for decision
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER

The naming of a University of California/Bechtel-led team last month to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory might not be the last word on who runs the birthplace of the bomb.

Executives at Lockheed Martin, the defense contractor that led a competing team with the University of Texas, have been smarting at losing the Los Alamos contract and talking privately about a protest.

Lockheed spokeswoman Wendy Owen said consideration of a contract protest is "speculative," at least until a meeting Friday when the firm's executives will try to learn why they lost.


Full Story

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What has changed?

From Anonymous:

Here is a link to a presentation that was given to us back in June of
2005. It clearly showed what your options were once the new
contractor took over. The question is, has there been a presentation
distributed since that date which defines the options more clearly.
It seems to me that the people who are leaving would clearly want to
know this no later then March 1st, 2006 so that you can get your
first retirement check on July 1st, 2006. Is there anyone on this
blog that is 50 years old who would be retiring in June just before
the new contractor takes over? HR is going to need that 90 days
notice. I'd say it is time to the focus the goal of this of blog into
getting information about ones future retirement, not issues that
will not concern you from that date on. It's time to move on.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Guest editorial

Dear colleagues –

Some of you might like to see the more complete version of the guest editorial I wrote for the Albuquerque Tribune on the subject of the lab's new managers. It can be found on our web site here.

This guest editorial refers to a conversation I once had with the head of LANL's government relations group. For the record, that person was Karl Braithwaite. Two of us at the Study Group had expressed the hope, in 1992 or so, that LANL might become less of a weapons lab – even convert to something “peaceful.” (We were new at the disarmament business.) Karl responded by saying that “Livermore will become more the lab you want,” while Los Alamos will be assigned the “dirty work.” This fact of life, he explained, was because of the geographical differences between the two sites. Of course we understood those differences quite well prior to his comment.

As the 12/28/05 editorial makes clear, I think one of the most important things about the new “Los Alamos National Security, LLC” (LANS) corporation is the much greater motivation this new organization will have to do whatever NNSA wants, in contrast to the prior contract with UC. The new contract and the new missions that go with it -- namely, the development, testing, and manufacture of plutonium components for new nuclear weapons -- will no doubt gradually shape the laboratory culture and staff. Many staff members and new hires will have little idea of how their work fits into somebody else's larger vision.

The new LANL contract is one of potentially very great total dollar value. It could greatly exceed, say, the sum of the contracts given thus far to Halliburton in Iraq. While the LANS contract does not have the extreme profit potential available to an agent of an occupying military power, it does come with what could be large cumulative fees. We can be sure that management personnel will be highly incentivized, as writers on this blog have noted.

The Bechtel Group, Washington Group International, and BWXT are very interesting organizations, and worthy of more study than we have been able to quickly do. A very few key references can be found on our web site here. I am sure we could pick over some of this prior work and say that some of it might be overblown. Experience suggests, however, that for every exaggerated scandal there are two or three others not mentioned – scandals that nobody (yet) knows about. Where there is this much smoke, there is a lot of fire.

Should we look to the new LANL managers to foster or protect good "science," as some are suggesting? At least 70% of LANL's budget is designated to maintain, design, or produce weapons of mass destruction. Is this, the bulk of the lab's mission, really science? Or is it just a large and complex technical activity conducted under the color of science? If it is science, why should we want this kind of science, or want to do it, or even tolerate it? Doesn't our country devote altogether too much "science" to destructive ends?

Our nation has signed and ratified a treaty which commits us to nuclear disarmament -- not just to negotiate in good faith toward it, but to actually complete the process, as the International Court of Justice unanimously ruled in 1996. Most people in the U.S. think this is a very good idea, as polls show.

Now we have strongly connected the nuclear weapons design and manufacturing business with war profiteering (Washington Group and Bechtel were #4 and #6, respectively, in post-conquest Iraq and Afghanistan billings through July 2004). These companies, like BWXT, have strong material and institutional interests in militarism, war, and nuclear weapons. This is not a good situation, and it calls for special efforts from all of us.

Greg Mello, Director
Los Alamos Study Group
Greg Mello
Los Alamos Study Group
2901 Summit Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-265-1200 voice
505-265-1207 fax
505-577-8563 cell
(signal very weak in the office; messages
on cell phone may not be received promptly)

Invitation from Cheryl Rofer

I received this invitation from Cheryl Rofer to join her on her blog (WhirldView) in a discussion of a letter of hers that was published in the most recent issue of Physics Today. Over there on her own blog Cheryl makes the somewhat puzzling claim that her PT letter was republished whole in LANL, The Real Story. I quote:

"The letter appeared on the Physics Today web site within the last few days and rapidly was copied whole onto the LANL Blog, as is Doug Roberts’s modus operandi. Comments now accrue. Doug e-mailed me to invite me to comment."

As you can see, the article was not "copied whole"; rather, just the first three paragraphs followed by a link to the original for the rest of the article, as is my standard practice.

In her invitation to me (below), she also makes reference to personal attacks, of which I was not aware. Y'all judge for yourselves, but she seems a bit volatile to me. Myself, I will politely decline her invitation, but the rest of you should check it out. My advice, however, is to engage with care.


I have posted a comment on WhirledView, where I invite you and others to a policy discussion. I request that you refrain from the personal attacks that you have already begun in the link you provide.

Please don't shut down this website

Doug. I think this website has been an invaluable
resource for discussion of issues at LANL. And there
will be plenty of issues to discuss in an open forum
in the future. Please don't shut down this website. If
you don't want to adminstrate it any longer, perhaps
it could be handed off to a group of LANL employees?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Sent to Kuckuck and Anastasio

I was told that this is what was sent to Kuckuck and Anastasio and
received in the Director's office positively. The list of signees
continues to grow.

I feel uncomfortable giving out the email addresses of all these folks
on the blog, however. If you post this, I would appreciate not
including the email addresses.

Dave Forslund


Director Mike Anastasio
Dear Director Anastasio,
The past few years at LANL have been traumatic and unsettling. We have seen many valuable and outstanding colleagues leave or retire. We have seen low morale and growing cynicism. Many scientists, engineers and support staff have pondered how to return LANL to its mission - a collection of excellent minds assembled to address the many challenges to National Security. The new contract provides an opportunity for a new and exciting start as well as a revalidation of the trust the Nation has placed in the Laboratory.
As the decision time approached, a few of us decided to put down on paper what we consider as guiding principles of an excellent scientific and technical institution and some key issues of implementation. What would it take to rekindle the curiosity and spark and return LANL to the kind of institution that attracts and keeps the best people?
We quickly found consensus on five core principles and four issues regarding implementation. The circulation of the memo has been organic in nature and has largely been distributed by personal contact. Nonetheless, the roughly 250 signatures as of today suggest that it does have considerable resonance. We were then faced with questions concerning the relevance of a document that contains no details much less a roadmap for how to implement them. Further, there is nothing intrinsically new in this memo as all the points have been made many times and by many different parties. Our hope, however, is that this time these points will actually be implemented and sustained through dialogue and constructive action.
As the memo began circulating, more and more scientists signed on. We then started to believe that the simplicity of the document was its strength. The scientific staff wanted a voice, but even more they wanted the ability to devote their time to solving the complex problems and challenges facing the nation. To be able to solve problems is what excites and motivates them. The memo, therefore, represents the voice of a subset of the laboratory's staff that wishes to work with you to make LANL an institution based on excellence, to build respect between the management and technical and support staff, and to reaffirm the commitment to address current and emerging national security challenges.

We are committed to keeping LANL a place of excellence that the Nation is proud of and turns to when faced with a challenge to its security. We look forward to your leadership in creating the enriching environment in which all members can make productive contributions to science in the interests of national security.
Robert Ecke, Rajan Gupta, Basil Swanson, Woody Woodruff


Five key guiding principles for maintaining scientific and technological excellence
As the LANL contract transition approaches, there is serious concern among many whether outstanding science and technology in the interest of national security can survive at this institution. Will there continue to be support for science, will outstanding scientists who challenge the conventional and seek the novel be able to thrive, and will there be enlightened leadership that values science? The answers to these questions will determine whether the best staff will stay at LANL. One way to ensure that LANL remains a center of scientific excellence is to spell out and adhere to the guiding principles required for excellence. We, the undersigned, have drafted five important principles that constitute time-proven attributes of the highest-quality scientific and technical enterprises. It is our hope that the new team acknowledges, upholds and promotes these principles as the foundation upon which to build the new LANL. In doing so science will thrive and, by working together, we will be able to maintain LANL as a center of excellence and continue to address the many complex challenges facing the nation. We believe that this is essential for recruiting and retaining the best individuals and for delivering on our mission.
1) Science has been the foundation of excellence at Los Alamos from the very beginning. To address the current and emerging national security needs, excellence must be maintained. This requires stable institutional investment in recruiting and retaining exceptional talent, a large post-doctoral and student program for science and recruiting, and world-class facilities.
2) Foreign nationals have, historically, been important to the vitality and excellence of science and programs at LANL, and remain so because the pool of scientific and engineering talent is increasingly global. Foreign nationals should be welcomed, treated with equal respect, nurtured, and recruited based on merit. Foreign nationals should be equal participants in science and technology consistent with classification, security and counterintelligence.
3) Scientific and technological isolation is a threat to the vitality of national security programs at LANL. To maintain excellence, the institution must encourage interaction and collaboration with the broad scientific community and value peer-reviewed publication. Requirements for accomplishing this objective include a streamlined visitor program and modern facilities for research and meetings.
4) Investigator initiated science and engineering is essential for innovation, long-term focus, and the creation of new programs. This research needs to be peer reviewed, broad based, and supported by stable institutional funding: LDRD at or above the 6% level, and additional weapons supporting research that bridges the gap between basic science and programs.
5) Open experimental and computational facilities that are world class must be supported and encouraged. These facilities will invite international collaboration and enhance the national security mission.
In addition to these five principles we list four issues that are very important for implementing these principles and for success of the programs.
a) Unnecessary bureaucracy must be eliminated. Safety and security requirements must be simple, clear, and stable over time. They must be vetted through a regular dialogue between the scientific/engineering and the safety/security communities before implementation.
b) Innovation, risk taking, and excellence must be protected and nurtured by enlightened management that builds consensus by an integrated top down and bottom up approach.
c) Operations should be integrated, with the support and technical sides working together.
d) Enlightened future leaders must be recruited, mentored and nurtured.
This articulation of principles is not meant to sidestep or question the enormous effort being carried out by the lab management to define roadmaps, skills and capabilities. These ideas summarize what we think are essential characteristics of any modern, first-rate scientific and engineering organization. Below is a growing list of names of people who have already signed this memo.

Mary Neu

Houston T. Hawkins

Thomas Terwilliger
Goutam Gupta
Srinivas Iyer
Rashi Iyer
Weon Bae
Charlie Strauss
Jin Moon
Jose Olivares
Sabine Lauer
Linda Meincke
Andrew Bradbury
Paul Scott White
Jian Song
Hong Cai
Larry Hersman
Christian Forst
Cheryl Kuske
Brian A. MacDonald
Anu Chaudhary
Clifford J. Unkefer
L.S. Cram
Ryszard Michalczyk
Robert Habbersett
Carolyn Bell
Sheng Gu
Rita Svensson
Min Sung Park
Shunsheng Han
Jean Challacombe
Judith Cohn
Andrew Thomas Kppisch
Laurie G. Dixon
Kwasi G. Mawuenyega
James Freyer
Rebecca McIntosh
James R. Brainard
Norman Doggett

Woody Woodruff
Basil Swanson
Thomas McCleskey
David Morris
Roderick A. Fry
Brian L. Scott
Tony Beugelsdijk
Hsing-Lin Wang
David C. Thompson
David Dogruel
Richard B. Dyer
Steven J. Buelow
David L. Thorn
Eugene J. Peterson
George Busch
Michael Janicke
James Bailey
Kevin Cott
Victor Klimov
Aaron Koskelo
Gregory Kubas
Michael Declue
Richard Keaton
Steven Doorn
David Vieira
Xinxin Zhao
Robert Donohoe

Mathew Hecht
Curtis Canada
Olaf Lubeck
Hristo Djidjev
Don Hush
Cliff Joslyn
David Forslund
John Middleditch
Allon Percus
Frank Alexander
David Daniel

D Division:
Edward Van Eeckhout

DX Division:
Nancy Sauer
David Moore

EES Division:
Paul Johnson
Mike Fehler
Hans Ziock
Steen Rasmussen
Robert P Swift
Peter C. Lichtner
Peter M. Roberts
James T. Rutledge
Monica Maceira
Donald Hickmott
James Tencate
Jasper Vrugt
Thomas Rahn
Jamie Gardner
Seth Olson
Manvedra Dubey
Donatella Pasqualini
Siobhan M. Corish
Pierre-Alain Monnard
Ren-Guan Duan
Bryan Travis
J. T. Fabryka-Martin
Gordon Keating
Lee Steck
Jody Benson
Cathy Wilson
Carl Walter Gable
Daniel Levitt
Al A. Eddebbarh
Bruce A. Robinson
Nathan G. McDowell
James W. Carey
George Guthrie
Robert M. Owczarek
David E. Broxton
Paul Rich

Mario Perez
Karen Grace
Michael Tuszewski
Steven P. Love
William Priedhorsky
Herb Funsten
Katrin Heitmann
Michelle Thomsen
Reiner Friedel
David Lawrence
Bruce Barraclough
William Feldman
Anthony Davis
Nancy David
Lakshman Prasad
Petr Chylek
Roger C. Wiens
Neal Harvey
Patrick Colestock
John Steinberg
Elizabeth MacDonald

LANSCE Division:
Rene Reifarth
Robert C. Haight
Monica Hartl
James Sturrock
Rex Hjelm
Ronald Nelson
Tony S. Hill
Sergey Kurennoy
Tsuyoshi Tajima
Peregrine M. McGehee
Ming Xiong Liu

Joe D. Thompson
Greg Swift
Ning Li
Michael Nastasi
Nicholas Curro
Nathan Beck
S. G. Srivilliputhur
Robert D. Field
Michael John Twardos
Michael Hundley
Kenneth J. McClellan
Samuel Thomas Picraux
Jennifer Martinez
Marcelo Jaime
Yuntian Theodore Zhu
Kennard V. Wilson Jr.
Amit Misra
Scott. N. Backhaus
Scott A. Crooker
Quanxi Jia
Richard Averitt
Roman Movshovich
George T. Gray III
Andrew P. Shreve
John Swadener
Peter M. Goodwin
Wei Bao
Greg Kaduckak
Terry Holesinger
Boris Maiorov
Tomasz Durakiewicz

Nerses H. Krikorian
Craig McCluskey

David L. Clark
Gordon Jarvinen
Kirk Veirs

Glen Wurden

Andrew Hime
William Louis
Ivan Vitev
William Wood
Garrett Kenyon
David Montgomery
David M. Lee
James Harrington
Mark Makela
Martin Cooper
Geoffrey Mills
Anuj K. Purwar
Dean Preston
Norman A. Kurnit
Todd Haines
W. Scott Wilburn
Richard Renneke
Scott Hsu
Christopher Tomkins
Mark Kostora

Alexander Balatski
Rajan Gupta
Bette Korber
Salman Habib
Tanmoy Bhattacharya
Alex Friedland
Yuri Shirman
Michael Nieto
Emil Mottola
Eli Ben Naim
Matt Hastings
Charles Reichhardt
Eddy Timmermans
Joseph Carlson
Sanjay Reddy
Terry Goldman
Joseph Ginocchio
James Friar
Benjamin Gibson
Pawel Weronski
Cristian Batista
Byron B. Goldstein
Artem G. Abanov
David Smith
Hans Frauenfelder
N. Gulbahce Johnson
Ivar Martin
Joel Miller
Luis Bettencourt
Stuart A. Trugm
William Fischer
Wojciech H. Zurek
Christopher Jarzynski
J. Tinka Gammel
Thomas Leitner
Mattias Graf
Irene Beyerlein
Jack Hills
John Pearson
Yi Jiang
Geoffrey West
Duan Z. Zhang
Manjit Sahota
Qisu Zou
Xia Ma

TT Division:
Robert E. Hermes

Galen Gisler
Hui Li
Mark Mineev
J. R. Ristorcelli Jr.

Robert Ecke
Alan Hurd
Gerald Geernaert

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