NSA blazes ahead on IT systems

The National Security Agency has made progress recently on two major information technology programs: Trailblazer and Groundbreaker.

The agency awarded a $57 million contract for the former and released requests for proposals on the latter.

Litton TASC Inc. walked away with the prize for Trailblazer, a major effort to modernize NSA's foreign signals intelligence capabilities.

Litton announced the contract award March 8, and the company is limited on how much it can say about the program. TASC is not even allowed to discuss which agency the contract is with, describing the customer only as a "U.S. intelligence agency." TASC will provide systems engineering and technical assistance for the effort.

"Trailblazer will quite literally blaze a trail in helping this customer transform its signals intelligence collection, processing, analysis and dissemination system," said James Frey, Litton senior vice president and president of TASC.

The agency also released RFPs the week of March 5 for Groundbreaker, a multibillion-dollar outsourcing project that includes most of its internal computer systems, including telephone services; desktop computing hardware, software and support services; and IT security. NSA's mission-critical systems—those that manage classified information—would not be outsourced.

The deal is estimated to be worth $5 billion over 10 years.

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