NIMA invites tech alliance help

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency this week issued a solicitation offering awards of up to $58 million to companies and institutions interested in helping the National Technology Alliance meet its needs in four technology areas.

The mission of NTA is "to influence commercial and dual-use technology development with an emphasis on meeting national security and defense needs," according to NIMA, which serves as the program's executive agent.

NTA's program office, in conjunction with its executive board, identified four technology areas that are critical to meeting the government's future technology challenges:

* Imagery processing and analysis, geographic information systems and cartography.

* Processing, analysis and management of data.

* Digital technology infrastructure.

* Chemical, biological and radiological defense.

In addition to NIMA, current members of the NTA executive board include representatives from the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, the National Institutes of Health, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Geological Survey.

NIMA expects to make one or more awards valued at a total of about $58 million for each year between 2002 and 2007, according to the broad agency announcement. The length of the individual projects will vary between six and 18 months, and larger projects will be completed in two or more phases.

In its role as NTA's executive agent, NIMA published the announcement and initiated the competitive acquisition to redefine and replace the current contracts that expire on Sept. 30.

A unique aspect of the NTA plan is that it attempts to reach "nontraditional" sources of commercial technology development as opposed to seeking strictly governmental solutions. As part of that effort, "teaming among academic and industry partners is encouraged." Historically black colleges and universities and minority institutions are also encouraged to submit proposals, although "no portion of the [announcement] will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation."

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