NSA makes small biz, Trailblazer deals

As part of its ongoing acquisition reform efforts, the National Security Agency last month announced its first-ever multiple prime contract awards under the NSA Set-Aside for Small Business (NSETS) program.

NSETS is a multiple-award indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract worth up to $350 million over six years. It will provide a streamlined acquisition vehicle for NSA procurements, according to the agency.

The prime contract awards went to 14 small businesses in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area. The businesses represent contractor alliance teams with a total of more than 160 small businesses.

Under the terms of the contract, NSA will conduct task order competitions with each alliance team, through its prime, that will acquire services supporting a variety of mission requirements, including:

* Business processing.

* Software and systems engineering.

* Information technology.

* Operations support and training.

In other NSA contracting news, the agency recently awarded a $140 million systems engineering and technical assistance contract extension to Conquest Inc. for support on its Trailblazer project.

Trailblazer is an initiative designed to modernize NSA's foreign signals intelligence capabilities. Under the 3.5-year contract, which is a follow-on to a five-year, $57 million contract awarded last year, Conquest will provide systems engineering and technical support for several initiatives to modernize NSA systems.

Conquest is working with the agency to define and test the best architecture, cost and acquisition approach from concepts proposed by Trailblazer's three prime contractors —Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin Corp., and TRW Systems & Information Technology Gro

Conquest was awarded the contract extension last month and announced it June 3, but the company is limited on how much it can say about the program. The firm is not even allowed to discuss which agency the contract is with, describing the customer only as a "U.S. intelligence agency."

The Annapolis Junction, Md.-based company recently signed a partnership with Boeing Co., which will be its subcontractor on the new contract. Through the partnership agreement, Boeing will provide process and systems integration expertise to enhance the NSA's architecture for a variety of programs, said Paul Falkler, vice president of Conquest.


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