NSA fights for tech funding control

The National Security Agency is fighting a Senate proposal that would have the Defense Department in charge of NSA's multibillion-dollar information technology budget.

As originally reported by the Baltimore Sun, a provision in a Senate authorization bill would put the undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics in charge of hundreds of millions of dollars in tech contracts currently managed at NSA's Fort Meade facility.

Included in that authority is the agency's two biggest technology programs: Trailblazer and Groundbreaker.

"NSA is working closely with the House and Senate to address the concerns stated in the Defense Authorization bill as passed by the Senate," reads a July 30 e-mail from a spokesperson for the agency. "The NSA acquisition reform process has taken great strides over the past few years, but there is still work ahead. NSA will continue to work together effectively with the Congress, however, NSA opposes section 804 as currently written."

Trailblazer is a multimillion-dollar initiative for modernizing foreign signals intelligence capabilities. A team led by Science Applications International Corp is developing it.

Groundbreaker is $2 billion project that outsources support of most NSA internal computer systems to the Eagle Alliance, an industry group led by Computer Sciences Corp.

A defense spokesman said the department would not comment on any specific authorization bill provisions until Congress approves the whole bill.

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