Contractors making gains at mapping agency

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency is increasingly relying on contractors to supply both employees and technology, its director, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., said today.

"We heavily depend on the contractor work force to be the priority end of our stick," Clapper said at NIMA Industry Day at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington.

Clapper said the number of full-time contractor equivalents at NIMA will exceed the number of government workers in fiscal 2003. He said contractors are incurring all the risks and hazards of the government work force.

NIMA also is increasing the extent of commercial input into the agency. Clapper said NIMA is moving away from quality control of their contractors to increase its emphasis on what he called a trusted cadre of contractors.

And for the first time in NIMA history, contractors can present new technologies and the agency will follow up and give them feedback, he said.

About 500 vendors attended the conference because Clapper is conducting industry outreach to boost his work force in response to demands from defense and intelligence customers as well as new customers in the Homeland Security Department. He said NIMA has more than $105 million to spend in fiscal 2003 on commercial imagery, an increase from $35 million last year.

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