Friday, August 25, 2017

UT Regents want System to help manage nation's Nuclear arsenal (but there's a catch)....

"But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."
James 4:16

Interesting development from this week's UT Regents meeting:
AUSTIN – Management of the nation’s most preeminent national laboratory in the areas of nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards and security, environmental management, energy and other programs will be open for bid for the first time since 2005, and University of Texas System leaders today received strong support from regents to pursue this unique opportunity.

UT System Deputy Chancellor David Daniel and UT Austin President Greg Fenves, under the leadership of UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven, a recognized figure in national security, presented their case to the Board of Regents for consideration. Both McRaven and Daniel emphasized the UT System is uniquely positioned to provide excellent service in the national interest. The scale of the UT System and its academic and health institutions’ scientific assets could strongly position it for operational leadership of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 17 national laboratories. LANL operates under the auspices of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE.

Instead of routinely renewing the contract for the management of LANL, which is currently managed and operated by the University of California System in concert with industry partners Bechtel National, Inc. and others, NNSA has decided to open the bid process and invite new parties to make their case to manage the lab.

Daniel stressed that the U.S. needs the strengths of its universities’ scientific prowess to maintain its nuclear deterrent, to promote non-proliferation, to monitor for rogue nuclear threats and testing, to manage environmental land and groundwater challenges left from the Cold War era, and to tackle new threats to national security such as cyberattacks.


UT Austin President Fenves expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to have his faculty and students collaborate and work with the Los Alamos team, learning from and contributing to solutions on national security challenges. He also referenced the critically important research opportunities that would accompany the role of leading the lab, specifically the advantages that would be presented UT Austin as a national top research-intensive university.

“For UT Austin, it would be a tremendous honor to help serve the nation. The important work at LANL is aligned with our research goals and priorities across the university,” Fenves said. “Our Texas Advanced Computing Center and Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences illustrate just two examples of those synergies, and we have a strong track record of meeting security clearances.”

If the UT System proceeds, this will be the second time it competes for the LANL contract. It participated in the 2005 bid procurement as part of a larger team led by Lockheed Martin, but the contract ultimately was awarded to the University of California System and its industry partners. The UC System has been involved in the management of LANL for more than 70 years. who understands why this is a hilarious ask?!?

Hint: The Los Alamos National Laboratory is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Now who, pray tell, is the current U.S. Secretary of Energy?!?

That would be former Governor Rick Perry.

Now, remind us which Governor put Wallace Hall on the UT Board?!?

Oh, that's right, RICK PERRY!!!

Then, of course, there's the fact that beyond the whole Wallace Hall impeachment fiasco, UT fought (and, unfortunately, largely thwarted) Rick Perry's higher ed reform agenda.

Bottom Line: Even by their standards, UT asking Rick Perry for a prestigious federal contract is an act of chutzpah.

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