B-165218, JUL 21, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 57

B-165218: Jul 21, 1971

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THE PROCEDURE WAS CONSISTENT WITH THE COMMISSION'S PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT MAXIMUM PRACTICABLE COMPETITION SHOULD BE OBTAINED IN THE FUTURE WHENEVER CONTRACTS UTILIZING APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE TO BE AWARDED AND IT APPEARS LIKELY THE GOVERNMENT'S POSITION CAN BE IMPROVED IN TERMS OF COST OR PERFORMANCE. THE ADOPTION OF A POLICY FAVORABLE TO COMPETITION INSTEAD OF BEING DISRUPTIVE TO THE WEAPONS PROGRAM MIGHT WELL HAVE A SALUTORY EFFECT ON THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR'S PERFORMANCE. CONTRACTS - RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT - DUALITY OF APPROACH THE AWARD OF SIMILAR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTS TO TWO LABORATORIES BY THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION FOR THE SIMULTANEOUS DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IS NOT CONSIDERED A DUPLICATION OF EFFORT BUT A DUALITY OF APPROACH TO DOUBLE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR MAKING NEW DISCOVERIES AND TO EXPLORE A DIVERSITY OF BRANCHES OF EXISTING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FIELDS.

B-165218, JUL 21, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 57

ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION - CONTRACTS - COMPETITION V DEFENSE REQUIREMENTS ALTHOUGH THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION'S EXTENSION OF A CONTRACT CONTAINING AN "AVOIDANCE OF ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST" CLAUSE FOR MANNING AN UNDERGROUND WEAPONS TESTING ACTIVITY FOR A 5-YEAR PERIOD WITH THE CONTRACTOR INITIALLY SELECTED IN 1947 CONTRIBUTES TO THE COMMON DEFENSE AND SECURITY BY AVOIDING THE SERIOUS DISRUPTION OF THE WEAPONS PROGRAM THAT A CHANGE OF CONTRACTORS WOULD ENTAIL, AND THE PROCEDURE WAS CONSISTENT WITH THE COMMISSION'S PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT MAXIMUM PRACTICABLE COMPETITION SHOULD BE OBTAINED IN THE FUTURE WHENEVER CONTRACTS UTILIZING APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE TO BE AWARDED AND IT APPEARS LIKELY THE GOVERNMENT'S POSITION CAN BE IMPROVED IN TERMS OF COST OR PERFORMANCE. IN FACT, THE ADOPTION OF A POLICY FAVORABLE TO COMPETITION INSTEAD OF BEING DISRUPTIVE TO THE WEAPONS PROGRAM MIGHT WELL HAVE A SALUTORY EFFECT ON THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR'S PERFORMANCE. CONTRACTS - RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT - DUALITY OF APPROACH THE AWARD OF SIMILAR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CONTRACTS TO TWO LABORATORIES BY THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION FOR THE SIMULTANEOUS DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IS NOT CONSIDERED A DUPLICATION OF EFFORT BUT A DUALITY OF APPROACH TO DOUBLE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR MAKING NEW DISCOVERIES AND TO EXPLORE A DIVERSITY OF BRANCHES OF EXISTING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FIELDS.

TO THE CHAIRMAN, ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, JULY 21, 1971:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 4, 1970, CONCERNING CERTAIN ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED IN A LETTER DATED JULY 31, 1970, APPARENTLY FROM AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NORTHROP CORPORATION, WRITING IN AN UNOFFICIAL CAPACITY, RELATING TO CERTAIN UNFAIR CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION (AEC) AND ITS CONTRACTOR FOR MANNING THE NEVADA TEST SITE FOR UNDERGROUND WEAPONS TESTING.

THE LETTER OF JULY 31, 1970, ALLEGES THAT AEC IS IN THE PROCESS OF RENEWING A SERVICE CONTRACT FOR APPROXIMATELY 25 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR WITH EG&G FOR A 5-YEAR TERM. THE LETTER ALSO ADVISES OF AN APPARENT DUPLICATION OF EFFORT BETWEEN LAWRENCE RADIATION LABORATORY AND LOS ALAMOS SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY.

AEC HAS FURNISHED OUR OFFICE WITH THE FOLLOWING BACKGROUND INFORMATION WITH REGARD TO THE CONTRACTING ARRANGEMENTS WITH EG&G:

2. EG&G WORK SCOPE.

EG&G'S MAJOR EFFORTS ARE DIRECTED TOWARD FURNISHING TECHNICAL TEST SUPPORT FOR ENGINEERING, INSTALLING, MAINTAINING, AND OPERATING TIMING AND FIRING FACILITIES AND MAKING DIAGNOSTIC MEASUREMENTS DURING TESTS OF NUCLEAR DEVICES AND HIGH EXPLOSIVE EXPERIMENTS AT THE NEVADA TEST SITE AND OTHER CONTINENTAL AND OFF-CONTINENT TEST LOCATIONS. OTHER TEST SUPPORT ACTIVITIES INCLUDE SPECIALIZED HIGH-SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY AND OPERATING OPERATIONS COORDINATION CENTERS. EG&G ALSO OPERATES EFFLUENT CLOUD TRACKING AIRCRAFT AND IS ENGAGED IN DEVELOPMENT OF DETECTION EQUIPMENT AND IMPROVED AIR SAMPLING CAPABILITY.

3. HISTORY OF EG&G CONTRACT.

EG&G WAS INITIALLY SELECTED IN NOVEMBER 1947, TO FURNISH R&D AND DESIGN SERVICES FOR THE LOS ALAMOS SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY AND SANDIA CORPORATION IN CONNECTION WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS TESTING. THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT WAS SUPERSEDED BY THE EXISTING CONTRACT WHICH HAS BEEN EXTENDED SIX TIMES; THE LAST EXTENSION WAS FOR THREE YEARS, THROUGH JUNE 30, 1971. ON APRIL 6, 1970, THE COMMISSION REVIEWED THE STAFF'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS WITH REGARD TO POSSIBLE EXTENSION OF THE CONTRACT BEYOND JUNE 30, 1971 (SEE DISCUSSION WHICH FOLLOWS) AND AUTHORIZED A FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION. THE AEC'S NEVADA OPERATIONS OFFICE IS CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATING AN APPROPRIATE CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENT PURSUANT TO THAT COMMISSION AUTHORIZATION.

4. ANNUAL CONTRACT COSTS.

THE ESTIMATED COST OF EGG'S EFFORTS FOR THE AEC, ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, IS IN THE RANGE OF $45 TO $50 MILLION. WHILE THE ESTIMATED COST IS AGREED TO IN ADVANCE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF NEGOTIATING THE FIXED FEE, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE CONTRACTOR IS REIMBURSED FOR ONLY THOSE ACTUAL COSTS WHICH MEET THE TESTS OF ALLOWABILITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROVISIONS OF THE CONTRACT AND THE AEC'S COST PRINCIPLES. IN ADDITION TO BEING REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL ALLOWABLE COSTS, THE CONTRACTOR RECEIVES A FIXED FEE THAT IS NEGOTIATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AEC'S ESTABLISHED FEE POLICIES.

AEC REPORTS THAT THE DECISION TO RENEW EG&G'S CONTRACT WITHOUT COMPETITION WAS BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS:

B. POLICY AS APPLIED IN THE EG&G CASE.

THE COMMISSION'S APRIL 6, 1970, AUTHORIZATION TO EXTEND THE EG&G CONTRACT FOLLOWED AN ANALYSIS BY THE HEADQUARTERS STAFF OF THE FACTS IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE POLICY AND SPECIFIC CRITERIA AND A THROUGH DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTING ANALYSIS WITH THE COMMISSION.

ALTHOUGH VARIOUS PORTIONS OF THE PRESENT EG&G WORK SCOPE COULD, UNDOUBTEDLY, BE HANDLED COMPETENTLY BY OTHER FIRMS, INCLUDING, PERHAPS, NORTHROP CORPORATION, THE BROAD SPECTRUM OF COMPETENCIES THAT EG&G HAS DEVELOPED AND IS NOW SUPPLYING TO THE AEC, THE LABORATORIES, AND OTHER USERS IS NOT KNOWN TO EXIST IN ANY ONE ORGANIZATION LIKELY TO BE CONSIDERED AS A PROSPECTIVE REPLACEMENT. ANY PROJECTED BENEFITS FROM SEGMENTING THE WORK WOULD MOST LIKELY BE MORE THAN OFFSET BY THE SERIOUS DISRUPTIONS THIS WOULD CREATE IN THE WEAPONS TEST SUPPORT PROGRAM WHERE CLOSE COORDINATION AND ESTABLISHED INTER-RELATIONSHIPS CAN BE CRUCIAL. FURTHER, AN ARRANGEMENT INVOLVING MANY SEPARATE CONTRACTORS, WITHOUT THE CAPABILITY TO INTERCHANGE WORK OR PERSONNEL (BUT WITH STAFFING TO MEET PEAK LOADS) WOULD, NECESSARILY, BE LESS EFFICIENT THAN THE CURRENT EG&G CAPABILITY TO MANAGE A MORE LEVEL LOADED MANPOWER POOL ACROSS A BROAD SPECTRUM OF WORK. IN ADDITION, INCREASED COSTS DURING THE LEARNING PERIOD AND THE MORE LIKELY CONTINUING HIGHER COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE OVERHEADS AND FEES OF SEVERAL CONTRACTORS MADE COMPLETE SEGMENTATION OF THE EG&G WORK UNATTRACTIVE FROM A COST-SAVING POINT OF VIEW.

FROM A PROGRAMMATIC POINT OF VIEW, A CHANGE OF CONTRACTORS DURING A PERIOD OF CRITICAL UNDERGROUND TESTS TO BE CONDUCTED OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS WAS JUDGED TO SEVERELY AND UNNECESSARILY JEOPARDIZE THE SUCCESSFUL CONDUCT OF THE WEAPONS TESTING PROGRAM.

THESE WERE AMONG THE CONSIDERATIONS WHICH WENT INTO THIS PARTICULAR DECISION TO EXTEND THIS CONTRACT. EACH CASE, OF COURSE, PRESENTS A DIFFERENT SET OF FACTS AGAINST WHICH THE CRITERIA FOR POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT OR RE-COMPETITION ARE EMPLOYED.

WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPETITION FOR THE EG&G WORK, AEC'S REPORT STATES AS FOLLOWS:

7. OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE FOR EG&G WORK.

AS NOTED EARLIER, THE COMMISSION HAS AUTHORIZED A FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE EG&G CONTRACT. BECAUSE OF THE HIGHLY TECHNICAL NATURE OF THE WORK, THE IMPORTANCE OF ESTABLISHING LINES OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE LABORATORIES AND OTHER WEAPONS TEST ORGANIZATIONS, AND THE NECESSITY OF MOBILIZING AND MAINTAINING A STABLE, COMPETENT WORK FORCE, IT IS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL THAT CONTRACTS SUCH AS THIS COVER A SPAN OF SEVERAL YEARS. AS SUCH, THEY DO RESTRICT THE NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES OTHER ORGANIZATIONS HAVE TO COMPETE FOR THE WORK. IT WOULD, HOWEVER, BE NEITHER FEASIBLE NOR IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO PLACE THESE TYPES OF CONTRACTS ON A YEAR-TO-YEAR BASIS.

THE COMMISSION IS INTERESTED IN HAVING FIRMS, SUCH AS NORTHROP, MAKE THEIR CAPABILITIES AND INTERESTS KNOWN. THE MOST DIRECT METHOD OF DOING THIS IS TO CONTACT THE MANAGERS OF THE VARIOUS AEC OPERATIONS OFFICES UNDER WHOM MOST OF THE AEC'S CONTRACTS ARE ADMINISTERED. *** WE WOULD SUGGEST THAT HE GET IN TOUCH WITH THE U.S. ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, NEVADA OPERATIONS OFFICE, P.O. BOX 14100, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, 89114, ATTENTION: MR. ROBERT E. MILLER.

BY LETTER DATED APRIL 13, 1971, THIS OFFICE SOLICITED COMMENTS FROM THE NORTHROP CORPORATION IN REGARD TO THIS MATTER. THEIR COMMENTS ARE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

ALTHOUGH THE NORTHROP CORPORATION WOULD NOT CONSIDER THAT IT WAS IN THEIR BEST INTERESTS TO BID THE SPECIFIC PROGRAM REFERRED TO HERE, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THAT THE JURISDICTIONS GIVEN BY AEC IN THEIR REPORTS TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE INQUIRY ARE ADEQUATE TO JUSTIFY THE EXTENSION OF A SOLE-SOURCE CONTRACT OF THIS TYPE FOR A PERIOD OF TWENTY NINE YEARS WITHOUT ANY RECOMPETITION BASED ONLY ON THE ALLEGED UNIQUENESS OF THAT CONTRACTOR'S CAPABILITY AND THE CONTINUING CRITICAL NATURE OF THE TEST PROGRAM. WE WOULD BELIEVE, BASED ON OUR OWN EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY, THAT THERE ARE MANY COMPANIES THAT ARE CAPABLE OF PROVIDING A SUITABLE LEVEL OF SERVICE TO THE AEC, AND THAT THERE ARE APPROPRIATE POINTS IN ANY PROGRAM WHERE COMPETITION CAN BE INTRODUCED. WE WOULD FEEL THAT SUCH COMPETITION IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE SUPPORT SERVICE INDUSTRY. WE ARE FURTHER CONFIDENT THAT THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN WORK PERFORMANCE CAN BE SUITABLY PROTECTED THROUGH APPROPRIATE, OBJECTIVE, EVALUATION CRITERIA AND APPROPRIATE FORM OF CONTRACTING WHICH EMPHASIZES PERFORMANCE INCENTIVES.

AEC'S VIEW IS THAT THE PROCEDURES USED IN RENEWING THE EG&G CONTRACT WITHOUT COMPETITION ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH AEC POLICY AND SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS (AECPR) HAVE BEEN CITED IN SUPPORT OF THIS VIEW. SPECIFICALLY, AEC HAS CITED AECPR 9- 51.102(C) WHICH DEALS WITH OTHER CONTRACT ACTIONS REQUIRING ADVANCE HEADQUARTERS APPROVAL SUCH AS REQUESTS FOR EXTENSION OF ON-SITE SERVICE- TYPE CONTRACTS. AECPR 9-51.103-3(F) PROVIDES THAT REQUESTS FOR RENEWALS AND EXTENSIONS SHALL BE ACCOMPANIED BY A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF THE POSSIBILITIES OF OBTAINING A SUITABLE REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR WHERE APPROPRIATE. AECPR 9-56.401 PROVIDES THE CRITERIA WITH REGARD TO THE REPLACEMENT OF CONTRACTORS OPERATING AEC-OWNED PLANTS OR LABORATORIES.

AEC'S REPORT ADVISES THAT THE COMMISSION IS AWARE THAT CONDUCTING ITS OPERATIONS BY CONTRACT RATHER THAN IN-HOUSE MAY OPEN THE POSSIBILITY TO SOME FIRMS TO ACQUIRE INFORMATION THAT IS NOT READILY AVAILABLE TO OTHERS AND THEREBY HAVE A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. AECPR DEALS WITH THIS SUBJECT IN SECTION 9-1.54 ENTITLED "GENERAL POLICY FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST." PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION OF AECPR, A CONTRACT CLAUSE TO CONTROL THE PRIVATE USE OF DATA ACQUIRED UNDER AN AEC CONTRACT IS INCLUDED IN CONTRACTS SUCH AS EG&G'S CONTRACT. ALSO INCLUDED IN EG&G'S CONTRACT IS A TECHNICAL DATA PROVISION RELATING TO DRAWINGS, DESIGNS, AND SPECIFICATIONS. IN ADDITION, COPYRIGHT AND PATENT CLAUSES ARE INCLUDED WHICH ENABLE AEC TO KEEP INFORMED OF TECHNICAL DATA AND INFORMATION DEVELOPED UNDER ITS CONTRACTS. WE ARE ADVISED THAT ANOTHER PURPOSE OF THESE CLAUSES IS TO ASSURE AEC'S RIGHTS TO USE SUCH DATA FOR ANY PURPOSE INCLUDING DISSEMINATION TO THE PUBLIC. WE HAVE NO INFORMATION WHICH WOULD INDICATE THAT AEC AND EG&G ARE NOT COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THESE CLAUSES.

THE AECPRS ARE PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER AND ARE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE SPECIFIC REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE EXTENSION OF OPERATING AND SERVICE-TYPE CONTRACTS AND THE CRITERIA FOR THE INITIAL SELECTION OF SUCH CONTRACTORS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ATOMIC ENERGY. AEC'S POSITION IS THAT THE DESIRABILITY OF FREE COMPETITION IN PRIVATE ENTERPRISE MUST BE BALANCED BY THE PARAMOUNT OBJECTIVE OF MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMON DEFENSE AND SECURITY.

OUR OFFICE HAS MADE ITS OWN INVESTIGATION OF THE AWARD OF THE EG&G CONTRACT AND AEC'S REASONS FOR DECIDING TO EXTEND THIS CONTRACT WITHOUT COMPETITION WHICH MAY BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

(1) THE SERIOUS DISRUPTIONS IN THE WEAPONS PROGRAM THAT WOULD RESULT FROM SEGMENTING THE WORK.

(2) THE LOSS OF EFFICIENCY THAT WOULD RESULT FROM INCREASING THE NUMBER OF CONTRACTORS (WHICH WOULD BE NECESSARY BECAUSE APPARENTLY NO ONE FIRM CAN DUPLICATE ALL OF EG&G'S CAPABILITIES).

(3) THE PROBABILITY OF INCREASED COSTS.

(4) THE JUDGMENT THAT A CHANGE IN CONTRACTORS WOULD JEOPARDIZE THE SUCCESSFUL CONDUCT OF THE PROGRAM.

THE REVIEW BY OUR OFFICE AT AEC HEADQUARTERS DISCLOSED THAT THE ABOVE FACTORS WERE, IN FACT, CONSIDERED AND DOCUMENTED BY AEC IN REACHING ITS DECISION TO EXTEND EG&G'S CONTRACT. PURSUANT TO OUR REVIEW OF THE AECPR, WE FOUND THAT THE AWARD IN THIS CASE WAS CONSISTENT WITH THESE REGULATIONS.

WE NOTE THAT SECTIONS 31 (DEALING WITH RESEARCH ASSISTANCE) AND 41 (DEALING WITH OPERATION OF THE COMMISSION'S PRODUCTION FACILITIES) OF PUBLIC LAW 83-703, 68 STAT. 919 ET SEQ., 42 U.S.C. 2051 AND 2061, AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO AWARD CONTRACTS WITHOUT REGARD TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3709 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, 41 U.S.C. 5. FURTHER, WE ARE NOT UNAWARE OF THE FACT THAT UNDER 40 U.S.C. 474, NOTHING IN THE FEDERAL PROPERTY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES ACT OF 1949 SHALL IMPAIR OR AFFECT ANY AUTHORITY OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION. IN LIGHT OF THESE PROVISIONS WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED BY THE AEC IN THIS PROCUREMENT ARE UNLAWFUL.

HOWEVER, IN OUR JUDGMENT THE MAXIMUM PRACTICABLE COMPETITION SHOULD, AS A MATTER OF POLICY, BE OBTAINED WHENEVER CONTRACTS UTILIZING APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE TO BE AWARDED. WE RECOGNIZE THAT IN MANY INSTANCES, SUCH AS HERE, THE PRACTICALITIES OF THE SITUATION TEND TO IMPOSE SEVERE LIMITS ON THE AMOUNT OF COMPETITION OBTAINABLE. NEVERTHELESS, WE NOTE THAT UNDER AECPR 9-56.401(B), IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT COMPETITION IN THE RENEWAL OF THESE CONTRACTS WILL BE OBTAINED ONLY WHERE THE INCUMBENT'S PERFORMANCE IS CONSIDERED NOT BETTER THAN AVERAGE OR WHERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES "UNDERSCORE THE HIGH DESIRABILITY" OF OBTAINING COMPETITION. WE FEEL THAT COMPETITION SHOULD BE SOUGHT WHENEVER IT APPEARS LIKELY THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S POSITION CAN BE IMPROVED EITHER IN TERMS OF COST OR PERFORMANCE. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE ADOPTION OF SUCH POLICY WOULD LEAD TO WHOLESALE DISRUPTION OF THE COMMISSION'S PROGRAMS. THE INHERENT ADVANTAGES ENJOYED BY THE INCUMBENT WOULD TEND TO INSURE STABILITY IN MOST INSTANCES; AND THE ADOPTION OF A POLICY MORE FAVORABLE TO COMPETITION MIGHT WELL HAVE A SALUTORY EFFECT ON THE INCUMBENT'S PERFORMANCE.

THE FOREGOING ARE GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ONLY AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO IMPLY THAT COMPETITION WOULD NECESSARILY HAVE BEEN OBTAINED IN THE INSTANT CASE EVEN UNDER THE CHANGE IN CRITERIA WE ADVOCATE.

WITH REGARD TO THE CONTENTION THAT THERE WAS DUPLICATION BETWEEN THE LOS ALAMOS SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY (LASL) AND THE LAWRENCE RADIATION LABORATORY (LRL), AEC MAKES A DISTINCTION BETWEEN QUALITY OF TECHNICAL APPROACH AND DUPLICATION OF EFFORT AND AEC'S REPORT ADVISES AS FOLLOWS: THE AEC DOES NOT CONSIDER IT PRUDENT TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE TO RISK THE PURSUIT OF ONLY A SINGLE TECHNICAL PATH; SEVERAL APPROACHES AND IDEAS MUST BE DEVELOPED SIMULTANEOUSLY TO INSURE THAT THE WEAPON DESIGNS SELECTED PROVIDE THE BEST SOLUTION AND PROVIDE THE OPTIMUM USE OF MATERIALS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE REQUIREMENTS. THE DUAL LABORATORY APPROACH TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT REDUCES THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THERE ARE NEW IDEAS BEING EXPLOITED BY OTHERS OF WHICH THE UNITED STATES IS UNAWARE. THIS DUALITY, WE MORE OR LESS DOUBLE OUR CHANCES OF MAKING NEW DISCOVERIES AND HALVE THE PROBABILITY OF EXTRAORDINARILY NEW IDEAS REMAINING HIDDEN BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE ATTENTION. TO ADVANCE TECHNOLOGY, ONE MUST EXPLORE A DIVERSITY OF BRANCHES OF THE EXISTING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FIELDS. THEREFORE, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO PURSUE DISSIMILAR INFERENCES FROM THEORETICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS, TO PIONEER NEW OFFSHOOTS FROM WHICH IS KNOWN TO BE SUCCESSFUL DESIGN PRACTICE, AND TO REEVALUATE EARLIER CONCEPTS IN LIGHT OF NEW KNOWLEDGE.

EACH LABORATORY TENDS TO PURSUE ITS OWN LINES OF INVESTIGATION. ONCE A LABORATORY HAS CHOSEN ITS COURSE OF ACTION, THE OTHER LABORATORY RARELY TRIES TO SURPASS IT ON THIS BASIS; RATHER, IT CHOOSES DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE PROBLEMS. IN SOME CASES, THE INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION BY OTHERS OF NEW CONCEPTS CAN GIVE THE APPEARANCE OF UNWARRANTED DUPLICATION. HOWEVER, WE WOULD NOT CHOOSE TO DISCOURAGE THIS VITAL ASPECT OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY.

TO AVOID WASTEFUL DUPLICATION, THERE IS A CONSTANT FLOW OF INFORMATION BETWEEN THE LABORATORIES THROUGH FORMALLY ORGANIZED JOINT GROUPS, TECHNICAL MEETINGS, CORRESPONDENCE, AND PERSONAL CONTACTS AND COMMUNIQUES CONCERNING THE VARIOUS SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS. HOWEVER, PERHAPS THE MOST EFFECTIVE DETERRENT TO UNNECESSARY DUPLICATION IS THAT THE URGENCY OF SUCCESS IN MEETING DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE REQUIREMENTS WITHIN STRICT BUDGETARY LIMITS PROHIBITS, FOR THE MOST PART, A DUPLICATION IN THE EXPLORATION AND DISCARDING OF IDEAS AND CONCEPTS.

3. DUPLICATION OF TEST DATA.

WITH REGARD TO *** COMMENT THAT "MANY TESTS AT THE NTS APPEAR TO GATHER IDENTICAL DATA," IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT EACH TEST OF A NUCLEAR DEVICE IS CONDUCTED TO GATHER DATA WITH REGARD TO A SPECIFIC DESIGN CONCEPT OR CONFIGURATION UNDER EXPLORATION BY ONE OF THE LABORATORIES. IN NO CASE WOULD BOTH LABORATORIES BE EXTRACTING THE SAME DATA ON THE SAME TEST. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT MANY OF THE SAME TYPES OF DIAGNOSTIC DATA ARE NOT COLLECTED ON EVERY SHOT FOR PURPOSES OF COMPARISON OF PERFORMANCE AGAINST ESTABLISHED NORMS.

PURSUANT TO OUR REVIEW, WE FIND THAT AEC'S REPORT FAIRLY REPRESENTS THE SITUATION ON THE QUESTION OF DUPLICATION OF EFFORT. OUR OFFICE PROPOSES TO TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THIS ISSUE.