NARA begins search for vendor to develop archives

The National Archives and Records Administration late last week released the final solicitation for its Electronic Records Archive project. The potential eight-year, performance-based contract could be worth about $122 million, industry sources said.

NARA is asking vendors to submit bids by Jan. 28 that will outline how they would develop and implement a system that would "authentically preserve and provide access to any kind of electronic record, free from dependence on any specific hardware or software." The system also must manage the life cycle of all records.

The system also must be able to accommodate technology insertion by using standards and industry accepted interfaces, NARA said in the solicitation.

The first year of the contract is firm fixed price, and the option years are cost-plus-award fee contracts, said Dan Jansen, a project manager. The agency released a draft RFP in August and with industry input, made some changes to the final procurement.

Madan Kar, contracting officer for the project, said most of the changes were in the performance metrics and the statement of objectives.

NARA will select two contractors to perform a system analysis and develop a prototype during the first year of the contract, which according to industry sources is worth about $22 million. The agency then will select the prototype it thinks is best for the remaining seven years of the contract, Jansen said.

All three branches of government will start to send data to the system in fiscal 2006 and by 2012, 95 percent of all data will be sent to the systems, NARA said in the request for proposals.

There are 11 companies who have signed up on the bidder's list, including Accenture Ltd, IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumann Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. All bidders must have developers who are certified by the Software Engineering Institute to be level three in the software capability maturity model, Jansen said.

"This is not just about systems integration, but true business transformation," said an industry source, who request anonymity. "This will impact the way everyone works in the future."

The RFP is available at

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