NSA Moving Ahead With Groundbreaker Contract

It's crunch time for the three teams chasing the $5 billion, 10-year National Security Agency outsourcing contract.

The agency has released the request for proposals for the contract, called Groundbreaker. Proposals are due in early May, and an award is expected in late summer.

NSA wants to outsource the information technology it uses that is not related to gathering and analyzing intelligence. Areas to be turned over to a contractor include distributed computing, enterprise and security management, networks and telephony, according to a statement by Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, NSA director.

Outsourcing the non-mission technology will allow the spy agency to modernize and improve its IT infrastructure and shift money to its core intelligence functions, Hayden said.

Three teams are bidding on the contract. AT&T Corp., Basking Ridge, N.J., is leading a team that includes IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and others.

Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif., is leading a team that includes Accenture, General Dynamics Corp., Keane Inc., Logicon Inc. and TRW Inc. Verizon Communications Inc. also is part of the team through a relationship with General Dynamics.

OAO Corp., Greenbelt, Md., is leading at team that includes Coleman Research Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., ManTech International Corp., OAO Technology Solutions Inc., Raytheon Co. and WorldCom Inc.

The NSA contract also calls for the agency's IT employees to become employees of the winning contractor. It is estimated as many as 2,000 employees could be affected by this. Another 1,000 workers, who are employees of contractors currently doing work for NSA, also may become employees of the winning contractor.

"This is going to be the largest outsourcing contract to date in terms of the number of positions," said Olga Grkavac, executive vice president of the enterprise solutions division at the Information Technology Association of America. Arlington, Va.-based ITAA has been active as industry voice in support of the project before Congress.

The project also is important because of the intelligence and national security mission of the NSA, Grkavac said. Because of that critical national security mission, the NSA outsourcing project will serve as a model for other agencies to follow, she said.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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