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Maintaining High Scientific Quality at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories
[I]dentify key management principles for ensuring high scientific quality in world-class weapons and energy R&D and recommend how best the NNSA can create meaningful qualification and selection discriminators to help ensure world-class scientific quality is maintained in programs and activities at LANL and LLNL. The [NRC] will conduct its study with careful attention to the missions of LANL and LLNL and the needs of NNSA, the current situations at LANL and LLNL and operating requirements imposed upon them, the trends in the management of scientific activities at other relevant federal R&D organizations, and the future availability of scientific manpower required at LANL, LLNL, and similar laboratories.
The NNSA informed the NRC that it had assigned to others the responsibility for ensuring that security and operations management would be properly addressed by the competitions. To address the study’s charge, the NRC constituted the Committee on Criteria for the Management of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, a group of 15 scientists and engineers with experience in science and technology (S&T) management in a variety of institutions who met during January-April 2004 in Washington, D.C., and at each of the two laboratories, conducted a set of site visits to other DOE laboratories, and gathered additional information. The committee developed the following primary findings and recommendations for the NNSA:
Run the competitions for both LANL and LLNL simultaneously. Because of their unique role in nuclear weapons research and development (R&D) and stewardship, LANL and LLNL serve as peer communities for one another. The interplay between these two laboratories is very important, and there is a strong sentiment at the laboratories that their coordination and constructive competition are facilitated by their being managed by the same contractor. The NNSA should hold the M&O competitions for both laboratories simultaneously, allowing offerors to bid on an individual laboratory or on both, and should then evaluate the resulting proposals to ascertain which hold the best promise for ensuring that the laboratories’ programs remain coordinated and that the laboratories continue to serve as peer reviewers of one another’s work. The NNSA should also evaluate its own capabilities for playing that coordinating role in the event that different M&O contractors are selected for LLNL and LANL.
Use a single proposal evaluation board assisted by a panel of experts in science and technology management. The committee recommends that the NNSA constitute a single very knowledgeable evaluation board to evaluate the proposals it will receive for the management and operation of LANL and LLNL, to better en-