Contractors Battelle and Boeing [BA] have signed an agreement to bid as a team for the Sandia National Laboratories’ management and operation contract, Battelle said Tuesday. Team members include the University of New Mexico (UNM), the Texas A&M University System, and the University of Texas System.

The Sandia National Laboratories produce nonnuclear weapon components and develop systems to ensure the reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in addition to the development of nuclear intelligence, nonproliferation, and treaty verification technologies.

The NNSA released on May 18 the Request for Proposals for the contract, which is currently held by Lockheed Martin [LMT] subsidiary Sandia Corp. The current contract, worth around $2.9 billion per year, expires on April 30, 2017. The new cost-plus-fixed fee contract will feature a four-month transition, a five-year base period, and up to five one-year extensions, with fees that have not yet been determined.


Evaluation criteria include relevant performance over the last five years, qualified personnel and management, small business participation plans, and reasonable management cost.

Ed Dolanski, president of Boeing Global Services and Support, said in the announcement that “Battelle’s leadership in national lab management and Boeing’s leadership in weapons and systems engineering will provide new capabilities to help NNSA more effectively meet their nuclear security objectives.” 

The heads of teaming universities highlighted Sandia’s history of partnership with the academic community on research and as a pipeline for the next generation of technical experts. Robert Frank, UNM president, noted that the university and Sandia “have shared a strong, multidimensional and strategic research collaboration for many decades, aligned both in proximity and in mission,” and that the partnership would “provide many benefits to the local community and the state of New Mexico.”

Lockheed Martin said last week it is in the process of reviewing the RFP. Spokesman Matthew Kramer said by email, “We previously expressed our interest in bidding to NNSA in response to their Request for Information in 2015. We’re proud of our longstanding partnership with Sandia and our support of its vital national security mission.” The NNSA decided to conduct a full and open competition for a follow-on contract following the discovery that Sandia Corp. had illegally used federal funds to lobby for a contract extension, a matter that was resolved last year when the contractor agreed to pay over $4.7 million in a settlement.

According to the NNSA’s contract competition website, entities that have participated during the draft solicitation process include BWX Technologies [BWXT], Fluor [FLR], Orbital ATK [OA], and the University of Arizona. These companies and institutions have not made clear their intentions to bid on the RFP.

Jud Simmons, spokesman for BWX Technologies, said early this month that the company has been “watching with interest” the contract competition and evaluating its options. “We believe that a number of our core capabilities would be a good fit for the Sandia mission should we decide to engage in a proposal effort,” he said. A Bechtel spokesman also said early this month that the company has not yet determined whether it will participate in the competition, while a Fluor spokesperson declined to comment at the time.

RFP responses are due by 4 p.m. EDT on July 13 via A contract decision is expected by the end of the year.