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NIST Seeks Input in Advance of Request for Proposals to Support National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) is inviting comments on a Partial Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for a contractor to operate a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to support the mission of the NCCoE. The FFRDC will be the first solely dedicated to enhancing the security of the nation's information systems.

The NCCoE was established in partnership with the state of Maryland and Montgomery County in February 2012. The center is a public-private entity that helps businesses secure their data and digital infrastructure by bringing together experts from industry, government and academia to find practical solutions for today's most pressing cybersecurity needs.

Following three Federal Register Notices announcing its intention to establish a FFRDC to support the cybersecurity center, NIST issued the Partial Draft RFP to give potential contractors a better understanding of the government's requirements. This process should also increase efficiency in proposal preparation and evaluation, negotiation and contract award.

FFRDCs are operated by a university or consortium of universities, other not-for-profit or nonprofit organization or an industrial firm, as an autonomous organization or as an identifiable separate operating unit of a parent organization. The centers work in the public interest and provide a highly efficient way to leverage and rapidly assemble resources and scientific and engineering talent, both public and private. By design, they have greater access to government and supplier data, and are required to be free from organizational conflicts of interest as well as bias toward any particular company, technology or product—key attributes, given the NCCoE's collaborative nature.

FFRDCs can have a number of structures that reflect various balances of contractor/government control and ownership. In the case of the NCCoE, federal staff will provide overall management of the center, and the FFRDC will support its mission through three major task areas: research, development, engineering and technical support; program/project management; and facilities management.

The Partial Draft RFP outlines NIST's plan to award a single Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity type contract with firm-fixed price, labor-hour or cost-reimbursement task orders. Specific work to be performed will be detailed in task orders. The proposed base period for the contract is 5 years, with a maximum amount of $400 million for that period.

Access the Partial Draft RFP at Interested parties have until 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Jan. 17, 2014, to submit their comments. NIST will hold an industry day Jan. 8, 2014, that will include discussion of the acquisition process and a question and answer session. Register for the industry day at by Jan. 6, 2014.

Released December 26, 2013, Updated January 25, 2023