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Security agency doubled procurement spending in four years

Senior executive says National Security Agency is likely to double classified spending again by decade’s end.

The National Security Agency has doubled procurement spending since 2000 and will do so again by the end of this decade, according to Harry Gatanas, the organization's senior acquisition executive.

"This revolution in information technology is far more than we can handle; we've got to have the support of industry," said Gatanas at a briefing on Tuesday to local and state business development officials and reporters. He added that the global war on terrorism and the high value that military commanders place on intelligence were also driving increased spending.

Gatanas would not offer specific dollar figures because the agency's budget is classified, but he said it would involve billions of dollars in increased spending, mainly on information technology products and services. In fiscal 2003, he said, NSA executed about 43,000 contracts and 21,000 purchase orders.

NSA, headquartered at Fort Meade, Md., is the military's code-breaking and code-making agency, and employs nearly 40,000 workers. A 2001 book, Body of Secrets, pegged the agency's annual budget at $4 billion.

Gatanas said the agency wants to continue to expand its base of contractors. In the mid-1990s, about 20 companies did about 85 percent of the agency's contract work. Since 2001, NSA has expanded from using 140 businesses to 2,690.

Gatanas said the NSA's large-scale outsourcing of its noncritical technology systems to a consortium led by Computer Sciences Corp. -- in a contract worth $2 billion over 10 years -- has gone well. But, he says, the agency has no immediate plan to outsource other work because of the massive effort required to hold such competitions.

Gatanas said the agency has a shortage of space at Fort Meade because it's adding about 500 employees annually. As a result, the agency is increasingly renting space in nearby office parks and converting it into facilities where top-secret information can be discussed.

Also, Gatanas noted, NSA is building a massive data storage facility in Colorado, which will be able to hold the electronic equivalent of the Library of Congress every two days. He said the agency also needs contractors to assist with knowledge management, high-performance computing, legacy data migration, analytic tool development, and the dissemination and protection of technologies.