Dec 11, 2008

"pleased with their report card"

The FY2008 Performance Evaluation Report can be downloaded from the LASO website.

The "report card" is called the FY 2008 Performance Evaluation Report. If they are pleased with the report card then of course they will be releasing it, right? Remember how it went last year:
"Editors note: On Jan. 17, 2008, the Monitor filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the FY 2007 Performance Evaluation Report of Los Alamos National Security, LLC, Management and Operation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The National Nuclear Security Administration and Los Alamos National Laboratory declined to make public the key document for assessing the first year of a new contract. After the formal request, the document was made available and forms the basis for the following story."

LANL Earns Incentive, Contract Extension

Thursday, December 11, 2008
By Sue Major Holmes, The Associated Press

The managers of Los Alamos National Laboratory are pleased with their report card for the year, a federal assessment that led to a one-year extension of their contract to run the lab for the Department of Energy.

The assessment, by the National Nuclear Security Administration's Los Alamos site office, awarded Los Alamos National Security LLC 87.9 percent of the possible fees available, up from 81.3 percent the previous year. The assessment was for Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, the second full year LANS has operated Los Alamos.

It was the first year the government could extend the expiration date — considered another incentive for performance. Ultimately, the contract could be extended up to 20 years.

The extension from seven years to eight “is a big deal for us, a vote of confidence” that assures another year of stability for the lab, Deputy Director Jan Van Prooyen said Wednesday shortly after the report was released.

“We have a good management team. They're experienced, they're dedicated and we're going to get better grades in the years ahead,” he said.

The extension “was our biggest and most important goal,” and gaining it shows Los Alamos is doing quality science and is contributing significantly to national security, he said.

The ratings process used by the DOE and NNSA is demanding and comprehensive, with some 200 measures that are difficult to achieve, Van Prooyen said.

LANS earned its fixed fee of $21.9 million as well as $41.5 million of a potential $51.2 million incentive fee, called an at-risk fee. In addition, it earned $7.3 million for so-called “work for others” projects at the lab, which are funded by non-DOE agencies.

LANS, which took over managing Los Alamos from the University of California in June 2006 after a series of security breaches, consists of the university, Bechtel Corp., BWX Technologies Inc. and Washington Group International.

The lab employs 8,500 full-time workers, down about 2,200 people since 2005. That includes the voluntary separations of about 500 workers last year. With contractors and others, the lab has more than 11,000 jobs.

The NNSA specifies what it wants, but leaves it up to the contractor to decide how to get that done.

The report card was based on LANS' own assessments, monthly performance reviews with the contractor, field assessments and audits, inspections, reviews of documents, tours of facilities and comments from the Department of Energy, NNSA and lab customers. Van Prooyen said the contractor has 1,000 separate measures it keeps on itself, which are available to NNSA daily and are validated by the agency. There also is oversight by LANS' parent companies.

LANS successfully completed more than 96 percent of certain weapons complex milestones, including producing seven pits, the triggers of nuclear weapons, the report said.

It said LANS made progress in reducing the number of classified parts kept at the lab, consolidating classified information and improving oversight of cybersecurity, but said it did not always meet NNSA's expectations in implementing nuclear safety programs at the lab.

NNSA said the contractor improved its relationship with the state Environmental Department. It “did not argue or debate every issue, but instead improved documentation and treated the regulator with care and respect,” the report said.

The report praised the contractor for shipping the last of certain high-activity waste from Los Alamos to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad and for completing the second axis at the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test facility, designed to check the reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile.

NNSA also had criticisms of LANS. The contractor did not finish construction and readiness testing on a small chemical lab, it was unsuccessful in the last two years in resuming low-level waste treatment operations and it paid little attention to improving low-level treatment systems. The contractor also has struggled with the preparation, review and startup of new operations and labwide planning for acquisitions did not meet expectations, so several key procurements languished.

Van Prooyen acknowledged some projects were taking more time than expected. He said LANS was working with the federal agencies to improve the process.

But, he said, “building and repairing nuclear facilities is a very challenging business. You have to do it right. There's a lot of planning that has to be done.”


Anonymous said...

And all while they robbed you of your UCRP retirement and ULM got bonus checks and big pay raises. Isn't corporate america a wonderful thing. Oh and I forgot. You tax payers. You just gave up $14B more up to bail out the big three. What dorks you all are. These SOB's should have been abolished and nationalized under one roof known as the American Car Company. maybe then they could make a quality car everyone can afford for $20K out the door and it be equal to a Honda Accord. Until then, all yu did was pad the CEO and ULM pension plan and assure the backs of the unions will be broke. Can you imagine the quality of the car you're going to get when they cut these people's wages to $12.50 and hour with no benefits?

Anonymous said...

It's also funny that the Performance Evaluation Plan is so tightly guarded by LANS, preventing employees from knowing what they are supposed to be working on except by virtue of being yelled at by ULM when they fail to deliver on what turns out to have been important.

Anonymous said...

This is an outrage!
Could be somebody in the DOE is on the take!

Anonymous said...

DARHT was important. LANS got their fee for somehow meeting a milestone on DARHT. DARHT doesn't work and may never work. I'm not at all certain what the milestone was all about. Oh, wait, LANS. Now I remember. I was confused there for a moment. I thought we were supposed to be working for the American public. How silly of me.

Anonymous said...

A score of 88% should result in some nice fat bonuses for Mike and his friends.

Aren't you glad you put in the extra efforts at LANL so that ULM could get all the rewards?

Anonymous said...

Good job! Steven Chu. Nice Choice! Mr. President.

Anonymous said...

A score of 88% is not good enough for a Six Sigma outfit like LANS. Everyone join in and work extra hard next year and maybe we can achieve a score of 99%. Wouldn't that be something?

Bravo LANS! Your making some real success at LANL and it show.

I know it is tough to face change, but remember: LANS has the plan for making LANL grand!

(Mike A.)

Anonymous said...

Who did all the actual hard work at LANL that lead to these grades - employees at LANL, and how big were the annual salary increases? ... Who got the big bonuses - LANS executive managers at LANL. Corporate America at its best.

In 2007 General Motors sold 9.7 million cars worldwide, had global sales of $181 Billion and lost $5.7 Billion... Toyota sold 8.5 million cars worldwide, had global sales of $202 Billion and made $21.9 Billion... For 2007 General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner was paid $14.4 million... Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe was paid $900,000 - Also Corporate America at its best.


Anonymous said...

if it weren't so true...

1.  Put 400 bricks in a closed room.
2.  Put  your new employees in the room and close the door.
3.  Leave  them alone and come back after 6 hours.
4.  Then analyze the situation:

a.  If they are counting the bricks, put them in the Accounting Department.
b.  If they are recounting them, put them in Auditing.
c.  If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks, put them in Engineering.
d.  If they are arranging the  bricks in some strange order, put them in Planning.
e.  If they are throwing the bricks at each other, put them in Operations.
f.   If they  are sleeping, put them in Security.
g.  If they have broken the bricks  into pieces, put them in Information  Technology.
h.  If they are sitting idle, put them in Human Resources.
i.   If they say they have tried different combinations, they  are
     looking for more, yet not a brick has been moved, put them in Sales.
j.   If they have  already left for the day, put them in Marketing.
k.  If they are staring out of the window, put them in Strategic  Planning.
l.   If they are  talking to each other, and not a single brick has been moved, congratulate them and put them in Top Management .

Finally, if they have surrounded themselves with bricks in such a way that they can neither be seen nor heard from, put them in Government.

Anonymous said...

7:03 am: Funny, you didn't mention Science - a sign of the times for LANL...

Anonymous said...

To get of score of 90%, NNSA is going to want to see LANS engage in worker layoffs.

Once LANL has become nothing but support and management, with no production or research, LANS will make a perfect score of 100% and finally arrive at the fabled "Work Free Safety Zone" level.

NNSA and LANS will both be so proud on that day!

Anonymous said...

But, he said, “building and repairing nuclear facilities is a very challenging business. (Van Prooyen)

That comment by Van Prooyen sounds so much like a typical LANS Bechtel executive.

Constructing buildings and repairing them -- the future of LANL! And why not? After all, this once great lab is now being run by a CONSTRUCTION company.

Anonymous said...

Did I understand correctly that Bechtel owns REMAX, a leading real estate company? If so, I now understand the connection with much of the recent Los Alamos real estate activity with transient Bechtel carpetbaggers.

Anonymous said...

10:44 PM, intrguing rumor, but I can find no evidence that it's true. Can you?

Frank Young said...

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Anonymous said...

There are a bunch of mega-mansions either still going up or recently completed in the final section of Quemazon.

Some people in town obviously aren't hurting a bit for money. I wonder who they are?

Anonymous said...

"Some people in town obviously aren't hurting a bit for money. I wonder who they are?"

1. Old people who worked at the lab for 30 years and retired under UC.

2. Stupid people who spend all thier income on spectacular houses to impress people.

3. Upper-level managers.

Anonymous said...

4:22 pm: ""Some people in town obviously aren't hurting a bit for money. I wonder who they are?"

1. Old people who worked at the lab for 30 years and retired under UC."

59 years old and retired (under UC) happy and well-to-do. Not building in Quemazon, though - too smart for that.

Anonymous said...

"1. Old people who worked at the lab for 30 years and retired under UC." (4:22 PM)

Nah, I doubt it. Old people on retirement have to live off fixed incomes. They don't want to suddenly take on huge debts. Also, most old folks have a hard time keeping up with maintenance and don't want the hassle of running a mega-mansion.

My guess is 2 and 3, but mostly 3 (upper level LANS managers). There is a good reason why LANS salaries are now considered proprietary information and held from the public. You can see it in those new mega-mansion out at Quemazon.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, nooooo! Here we go again!

Air Force Flunks Another Nuke Inspection?
(Wired, December 13, 2008)

This isn't confirmed, yet. So take it with all the usual caveats. But we're hearing that a third Air Force nuclear team has flunked a critical test.

The 90th Missile Wing, operating out of F.E. Warren Air Force Base, is still in the midst of its "nuclear surety inspection," or NSI. But already, the wing has failed the test of its readiness to handle atomic arms, a source close to the test tells Danger Room. Problems with the "personal reliability program," which ensures that only the most highly-qualified, highly-trained individuals are working anywhere near a nuclear arsenal, doomed the wing's chances. Representatives from the 90th Missile Wing and from Air Force Space Command were not available for comment.

If confirmed, this would be the third Air Force nuclear unit to fail an inspection this year. In May, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base flunked its test, when security personnel couldn't be bothered to stop playing videogames on their cellphones. Six months later, Malmstrom Air Force Base's the 341st Missile Wing, had problems with its weapons storage area and its personnel reliability program, which prevented the unit from passing its exam. A testing team returns in about two months, to take a fresh look at the missileers.

The NSIs have been much harder to pass in recent months, after a series of nuclear-handling screw-ups stung the Air Force. Last fall, the 5th Bomb Wing lost track of six nuclear warheads. Then, in March, the service discovered that it had inadvertently shipped four Minuteman nuclear warhead nosecone fuses to Taiwan, thinking they were helicopter batteries. By June, Defense Secretary Robert Gates had sacked the top civilian and military leaders of the Air Force. A total of 15 officers (including six generals) were disciplined, over the mishaps.


The story has a nice pic of a soldier standing at attention next to a bunch of MIRV war heads.

Anonymous said...

Whom would someone try to impress in Los Alamos?

Anonymous said...

So, LANS gets its award fees.
Still, UC did all of that for about 10% of what LANS is getting paid.
The difference went to paying for actual work.

Somebody needs to do a comparision of scientific output in 2004 verese 2008. A totaling of publications would be a measure.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 6:39 AM, the non-profit UC method only cost about 5% of what the new for-profit system of management costs at LANL. NNSA and Congress have managed to increase the costs of running LANL 20 fold!

UC handled LANL for $8 million per year while the LLC profit fee is about $80 million.

On top of that, you have all the local Northern NM politicos being paid off with the new GRT tax of around $80 million per year. LANS has managed to mitigate the GRT from the original projections of $120 million per year.

Finally, you have new taxes added on to pay Bechtel and company for all the WFO work that comes into LANL. That comes out to roughly $8 million per year.

Add it all up and the total for-profit costs runs to about $170 million per year verses the $8 million with the old non-profit system.

You also need to factor in non-economic issues that the for-profit system has created, such as the steeply declining morale, the bitter "us vs. them" attitude between workers and top management, and the decline of science at this national science lab.

All this during a time when the deficit is growing at an enormous rate, our enemies are praying for greater US weakness, and the US government is literally bankrupt!

One solution to this financial mess would be to hand LANL back to a suitable non-profit. There are still non-profits running some of the DOE labs (i.e., Battelle Institute at PNNL). Doing so would save the US government a wad of money, make LANL more competitive at bringing in WFO projects, and go a long way towards salvaging the science done at LANL.

Anonymous said...

As emotions aside, the situation at LANL today is really considerably worse than when LANS took over. In fact, the work environment is the worst I've seen in 24 years. And that includes the reign of Vice Admiral Nanos. ( BTW, looks like we are getting another one of those "Rear Admirals" to manage us. )

Science is objectively dying, the buildings and infrastructure are in a terrible shape, and the business side of things has gotten even more convoluted and confusing. In fact, it's hard to pinpoint a single improvement. (Any takers? Just one improvement?)

I guess what DOE is saying by this reward is that this is exactly what they want to see. LANS is just doing exactly what they are paid to do, no more, no less.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12/14/08 12:16 PM asks for "just one improvement"

Doesn't my bonus count as an improvement?


Anonymous said... improvement. Well, we no longer have to compete with Livermore. The fix is on before we even start. In addition, they no longer need to travel to Washington to cry about how LANL got all the good work. God I miss Agnew with his, "let them eat walnuts" stance.

Anonymous said...

Any takers? Just one improvement?

After a serious effort trying to identify any improvements I can think of only two. 1) The lab no longer closes the roads down for nuclear material transfers. The road closures were costly, counter-productive, and created security risks. 2) Its easier to find parking at TA-3.

On the negative side, I can think of several dozen things that work less well now than before LANS took over.

DOE paying LANS an award fee is testimony to DOE's complete and total incompetence.

Anonymous said...

At least you can count on one constant:

It's only going to get worse at LANL with LANS (aka Bechtel) running the lab to pocket an $80 million per year profit fee and make 20% executive bonuses.

Anonymous said...

This whole one year extension sounds and smells like Bush/Cheney politics, like federal employees get one extra holiday (day) this year, LANS gets one entire extra holiday (year). Consider this "bonus year" equivalent to a presidential pardon for lack of contract performance

Anonymous said...

I'm betting that most Democratic politicans will enjoy pocketing Bechtel's lobby money as much as the Bush and Cheney crowd.

It's also important to note one very critical fact.. the Democrats don't like nuclear weapons or the nuclear weapon labs!!!

If you think it was bad at LANL under Bush, just wait until you see what Obama has planned for LANL. Can you spell R-I-F?

Anonymous said...

6:37, there's nothing fishy about the extension, it's been part of the deal all year. If LANS had failed to "make the grade" this year, NNSA would have automatically been able to exercise the option to rebid the contract. (IIRC, the threshold was 70%). That's why you hear so many sighs of relief from ULM... they were all worried they'd have to go get real jobs.

Anonymous said...

A low LANS score would reflect poorly on Tom D'Agostino's sole decision to choose LANS for the management contract. Therefore, a low score for LANS will never happen. LANS will continue to see improving scores as long as DOE and NNSA manage LANL.

Of course, rumors are flying around that the nuclear weapons complex is about to be moved over to DOD control. That would be a game changer to this situation.

Anonymous said...

12/16/08 1:36 PM, you are absolutely correct! Mr. D'Agostino is in fact grading himself. A good score shows things improved compared to the UC years. A good score it will be.

The only things they care about at this point are no scandals in the press and fewer reported safety and security incidents. Both are easily achievable. Impose draconian security measures, which make work impossible (less work, fewer troubles!) and scare people into underreporting incidents, injuries, etc. Voila, a great score!