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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.
One version of an old joke asks, “How do you go about watching an 800-pound gorilla?”
The answer: “Very carefully.”
But the same answer more seriously seems to apply equally well to the question of how the National Nuclear Security Administration goes about evaluating the job performance of a $2-billion-a-year national nuclear weapons laboratory.
Very carefully, in more than 180 pages, the report represents the essential annual assessment of the contractor under the terms of the contract. It is used to establish the bottom line, the amount of performance fee the contractors will be paid, based on how well they have met the challenges of the job.
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