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Nebel: LANL Bidders Please Respond To Questions

on December 23, 2017 - 9:24am
Los Alamos

The last time the lab management contract was put out on bid I remember thinking: “Oh great. Now we are going to have a whole new level of worthless managers sidling up to the trough to skim money out of the lab. Where am I going to find the money to cover the inevitable increase in the overhead?”

The money I was bringing in wasn’t weapons program money and there was no way that my customers were going to cover that increase.

So, what happened? My understanding is that right now a Phd Full Time Equivalent (FTE) costs about $600,000/year at LANL. At my present company, the cost is less than half of that, and we are working to cut the overhead even more. LANL has effectively priced themselves out of the market in doing non-NNSA research.

When I came to LANL in 1980, about half of the research that was being done was outside of the fence. I don’t know what the proportion is today, but I doubt that it is anywhere near 50 percent.

All we have been hearing in the media lately is how the state is going to maintain the GRT revenue and how the potential contractors are going to support the LANL communities. I would like to know how they are going to support the scientists. What are they going to do about the costs? Are they going to try to diversify the mission of the laboratory? What are they going to do if the nuclear weapons program has funding problems?

I would like to hear a response from the bidders to THESE issues.