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LANS earns $72.1 million for FY2009

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Officials withhold evaluation information

By Roger Snodgrass

Los Alamos National Security, LLC, earned $72.1 million in fees for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2009, according to a brief summary released Tuesday.

The lab earned 90 percent of the $80.2 million overall available fee.

Of the “at risk” portion of the incentive fee for its contract with the National Nuclear Security Administration, LANS, the partnership that manages Los Alamos National Laboratory, earned $43.3 million, or 84 percent of the at-risk portion of the fee.

Last year, the laboratory was awarded 88 percent of the overall available fee and 81 percent of the at-risk portion.

A significant determination in the performance evaluation process was the award of an additional year to the LANS contract. An additional year was also awarded last year.

Jeff Berger, LANL Communication Director released a “brief statement” about NNSA’s evaluation.

“NNSA cited its ‘very high expectations’ and noted significant progress in the Lab’s performance overall, especially in achieving its mission and delivering on program assignments,” according to the statement, which also notes that LANL Director Michael Anastasio has thanked employees for their “continued hard work and dedication to continuous improvement.”

The statement listed among the year’s accomplishments that contributedthe financial assessment such activities as “substantially completing the RLUOB (Radiological

Laboratory Utility Office Building) facility as part of the Laboratory’s Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement project, the use of the Roadrunner supercomputer, and the accelerated shipment offsite of transuranic waste.

Appearing before the Los Alamos County Council Tuesday night, Don Winchell, NNSA’s manager of the Los Alamos Site Office, said the second award of term had been completed in the last three weeks, effectively extending the LANS contract to 2015.

He said there had been a record of accomplishments for the year, including improved operations formality. He noted that LANL’s waste shipments had greatly improved.

“We shipped more waste in ’09 than in the last 10 years,” he said.

In the first two years of the contract, NNSA provided documentation for its award, including detailed metrics for multiple categories of performance under review, but that information will not be made available this year, according to an NNSA official. Questions to the Los Alamos Site Office were referred to NNSA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Wagner, NNSA’s deputy director of public affairs, said that under current policy the performance evaluation reports (PERs) would only be summarized by the data points that were provided.

She referred to a memorandum signed by David Boyd, director of NNSA’s Office of Acquisition and Supply Management on October 19, 2009, stating his determination that the NNSA PERs “will not be published or provided to the public on a routine basis.”

Because the information in the PER contains “source selection” or proprietary information, Boyd writes, the information will be withheld “until it is no longer useful for past performance evaluation.” That period, according a Federal Acquisition Regulation citation is said to be three years.

The FY 09 information, therefore, may be released no sooner than December 2012, at which time it must also be “reviewed and, if necessary, redacted for sensitive or classified information pursuant to Department security requirements.”

LANS is allowed to release the PER information before the three year period has expired, as long as the information released is mutually agreed upon with NNSA and scrubbed under the security requirements.

Further, the procurement memorandum suggests incorporating Performance Evaluation Plans in the contract as contract modifications in order to “diminish the number of media requests for this information.” That information would be available on a Department of Energy Web Site, according to the memo.