National Security Agency awards computer modernization contract

Approximately 750 government jobs will be outsourced under a 10-year information technology contract worth $2 billion awarded Tuesday by the National Security Agency. The contract, known as "Project Groundbreaker," was awarded to a team led by Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) and Logicon. The contract covers the agency's telephone, Web and desktop-computing modernization effort, and takes effect in November. AT&T also bid on the contract. "The ability of NSA to perform its mission depends on efficient and stable [information technology infrastructure], one that is secure, agile and responsive to evolving mission needs in balance with the requirements to recapitalize and refresh technology," said NSA Director Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden. The American Federation of Government Employees criticized the project because the contract was awarded without a public-private competition. Agency officials said the project was exempt from the government's public-private competition process. NSA employees have no union representation. Still, Wiley Pearson, defense policy analyst for AFGE, warned that the union would fight attempts by other agencies to bypass the competition process. NSA's aging computer systems received wide criticism after a January 2000 meltdown that derailed the agency's internal communications systems. The agency decided to outsource its unclassified computer systems after a 15-month feasibility study conducted by Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. Van B. Honeywell, CSC's chairman and chief executive officer, said the contract represents a trend among federal agencies to take advantage of best practices used in the private sector. General Dynamics, Keane Federal Systems, Omen Inc., ACS Defense, BTG, CACI, Compaq, TRW, Windemere, Fiber Plus, Verizon and Superior Communications are subcontractors on the project.
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