USC wins Spawar pact

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (Spawar) last week awarded a $1.7 million contract to the University of Southern California to develop technology that will help further the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Total Information Awareness (TIA) project.

The contract, which is scheduled to run through 2005, was awarded Dec. 18. It calls for the "development of information technologies to aid in detection, classification, identification and tracking of potential foreign terrorists to prevent terrorist acts."

A DARPA Broad Agency Announcement was issued in March to companies and universities to develop research that will allow the federal government and certain intelligence agencies to track and monitor information. Spawar awarded a contract to USC to develop unspecified technologies to complement the TIA project.

"The proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, technology or systems," the original proposal read.

Several TIA components are housed at the Army Intelligence and Security Command's Information Dominance Center. That partnership enables DARPA to maintain its research and development focus while working with the command on testing and evaluation and getting technology into the user's hands as quickly as possible.

"There are currently subsets of the tools and technologies being used by analysts to help us understand if they are useful or not," Robert Popp, deputy director of DARPA's Information Awareness Office, told Federal Computer Week in October.

The TIA project is funded in the fiscal 2003 budget at $10 million, and DOD is developing future funding requirements.

However, the Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained DARPA budget documents and found that although the TIA budget is $10 million, related programs that may become part of the system are funded at $240 million for fiscal 2001 through 2003.

DARPA received more than 170 proposals after issuing the broad agency announcement for the TIA system and is in the process of funding the most relevant ones.

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