[ISN] NSA Picks Information Technology Contractor

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 01:13:31 PDT

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    Washington Post
    August 1, 2001
    Pg. E1
    By Vernon Loeb and Greg Schneider, Washington Post Staff Writers
    The National Security Agency yesterday awarded a 10-year contract
    worth more than $2 billion to Computer Sciences Corp. and more than a
    dozen partners in what NSA officials called the largest effort by a
    U.S. intelligence agency to entrust its information technology systems
    to a private contractor.
    With the Bush administration engaged in a comprehensive review of the
    nation's intelligence capabilities, the award represents a clear
    acknowledgment by NSA officials that the agency has fallen behind the
    technological curve and now needs the private sector to modernize its
    Cold War infrastructure.
    The contract, dubbed Project Groundbreaker, also represents a major
    departure for the NSA, which has long prided itself on developing much
    of its own computer and signals intelligence technology.
    "Technology is moving much faster today than it ever has and it's very
    hard to keep up with it. One of the things that makes sense is to
    bring commercial experience and commercial best practices into the
    government," said Thomas C. Robinson, president of Computer Sciences'
    defense group.
    Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the NSA's director, said the
    contract "allows us to refocus assets on the agency's core mission of
    providing foreign signals intelligence and protecting U.S. national
    security-related information systems."
    One intelligence community official called the contract "unprecedented
    in terms of the scale of the effort, taking advantage of the private
    sector's ability to make technical inroads and modernize rapidly. It
    could very well be replicated by other intelligence agencies, if the
    effort is successful."
    While many of the requirements included in the contract involve
    non-classified computing and telecommunications services, Computer
    Sciences and its partners also will be responsible for designing and
    maintaining classified systems used for the management of electronic
    signals and digital data intercepted around the globe.
    California-based CSC formed a partnership on the contract with
    Logicon, a Herndon-based unit of Northrop Grumman Corp. The joint
    venture is known as the Eagle Alliance, and will be led by Robinson.
    The team was selected over groups led by AT&T Corp. and OAO Technology
    Solutions Inc.
    Agency officials said the contract, which will become "fully
    operational" by Nov. 1, includes financial incentives to support the
    hiring of 750 NSA employees by the contractors at "comparable or
    better pay, benefits and opportunities."
    Computer Sciences officials said the company's experience in moving
    federal employees to the private sector through outsourcing was a key
    factor in winning the contract. The company delivered a feasibility
    study leading up to Project Groundbreaker in which it absorbed about
    75 NSA civil servants.
    It also undertook a similar outsourcing program for the Army in the
    past few years, a $680 million job called the Wholesale Logistics
    Modernization Program. Under that program, about 200 Army employees
    became CSC employees, the company said.
    "We're seeing more interest in the government going to industry to try
    to bring in best practices to improve their situation, to help them
    modernize. They don't have enough money to recapitalize and
    modernize," Robinson said.
    NSA employees who do not accept private-sector positions under the
    contract might be eligible for transfers within the agency, according
    to one NSA official. While there is no immediate prospect for layoffs,
    the official did not rule them out for employees who decline to go to
    work for the contractors.
    CSC's other partners include General Dynamics Corp., Keane Federal
    Systems Inc., Omen Inc., ACS Defense Inc., BTG Inc., CACI
    International Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., TRW Inc., Windemere, Fiber
    Plus, Verizon and Superior Communications.
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