In a move to modernize and improve its information technology infrastructure (ITI), the National Security Agency plans to pursue private sector performance of its non-mission related IT support. Lt Gen Michael V. Hayden, USAF, Director, NSA, announced this decision after the completion of an extensive 15-month feasibility study that evaluated and compared private sector performance to internal government service staffing options for the Agency's ITI.
The decision to pursue a government-industry partnership by moving into a managed competition for the ITI is a dramatic change in NSA's long-standing IT operations and is an effort to refocus Agency assets on core functions that directly support its national security missions.
"In order to remain successful in our foreign signals intelligence and information assurance missions, we must immediately begin to invest in our IT infrastructure to secure NSA's agility and adaptability in the Information Age," Hayden said. "It is critical that we have a robust and reliable infrastructure capable of supporting our missions."
Last year, NSA embarked on a 15-month feasibility study, called Project GROUNDBREAKER, to assess whether NSA's ITI needs could be met through a government-industry partnership. The GROUNDBREAKER Study identified ITI areas appropriate for private sector performance. Internal service options were also considered. The following four ITI areas will be included in the managed competition: Distributed Computing, Enterprise/Security Management, Networks, and Telephony. Other ITI services will continue to be provided by government personnel with re-engineered processes and performance metrics. Over the next year as part of the managed competition, NSA will balance the cost, benefits, and performance factors of private sector performance before making a final decision in the Spring of 2001 whether to move to an external service provider.
"Explosive growth in the global network and new technologies makes our partnership with industry more vital to NSA's success than ever before," Hayden said.
This latest decision to further consider a government-industry partnership follows the 1998 pilot program, Project BREAKTHROUGH, an employee-friendly approach to outsource 20 legacy software systems.