The National Security Agency (NSA) awarded three prime contracts on 29 March for concept studies, launching the Agency's transformation efforts. The studies will define the architecture, cost, and acquisition approach for TRAILBLAZER 1, the NSA program to develop analytic capabilities to meet the challenge of rapidly evolving, modern telecommunications. The prime contracts were awarded to Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc. (Annapolis Junction, MD), Lockheed Martin Corporation (Hanover, MD), and TRW (Systems & Information Technology Group, Columbia, MD). These prime contractors will have over thirty industry partners, in total, associated with their efforts.
The award of these contracts culminates a process that began last August when over 130 potential industry partners participated in a TRAILBLAZER Industry Day at NSA Headquarters. Suggestions from industry, together with definition of the Agency's requirements, led to the subsequent release in October of a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to obtain detailed industry inputs. The final RFP was released in early December and proposals were submitted in January. The NSA Program Office completed this initial phase with the evaluation of seven proposals from a very broad cross-section of industry, including over 100 enterprises in the sectors of defense and intelligence, advanced information technology, internet dotcoms, commercial business process re-engineering, and academia.
The evaluation of the proposals reflected the Agency's emphasis on innovation to rapidly apply commercial information technology while at the same time providing overall program management through a disciplined acquisition process. The evaluation of this best value procurement took a few weeks longer than planned, due to the complexity of the proposals and the large response from industry. These contracts include a base period of performance and an option for analysis and integration of the results of the studies from all three contracts and other on-going NSA programs and architecture efforts.
The kick-off for these studies will be conducted in early April and subsequent analyses and deliverables will be focused on preparing for a limited production decision in 2002.