Deadline looms for Argonne Laboratory outsourcing

The Oct. 14 deadline is quickly approaching for Northrop Grumman Corp. and other firms interested in bidding on an Energy Department contract to operate and manage the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill.

Companies interested in bidding must notify the department by Friday, though submissions are nonbinding.

The Energy Department scientific and engineering research facility is expected to have a budget of $492 million in fiscal 2007. The department likely will issue a draft request for proposals by year's end, and award a performance-based contract during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. The project includes a 60-day transition period.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, based in McLean, Va., is considering submitting an expression of interest, said Juli Ballesteros, the company's manager of media relations.

The University of Chicago has managed Argonne since it was created in 1946. Argonne and other national laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, are being put out for competitive bid this year under legislation passed by Congress in 2003.

The Energy Department published a pre-solicitation notice Sept. 7 inviting submissions to operate and manage the lab. The notice did not specify the management fees involved, but the University of Chicago student newspaper The Maroon said the university is paid about $3 million a year to run the facility.

The current manager of the Los Alamos lab, the University of California, has submitted a joint bid with Bechtel Group Inc. of San Francisco to continue operations. It is competing against a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., and the University of Texas. Northrop Grumman considered bidding for the Los Alamos lab opportunity, but later dropped out.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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