Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 13, 1997

APL Signs Long-Term
Contract With Navy

Ben Walker
Applied Physics Laboratory
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory signed a five-year $1.6 billion contract with the Naval Sea Systems Command today. The contract, which is exclusively for Navy or Navy-related tasks to be assigned to APL, represents approximately 60 percent of the laboratory's annual budget.

APL Director Gary Smith says, "The signing of this contract reaffirms the mutual commitment of APL and the Navy to continue our traditional mission to develop and apply science and technology to maintain a strong national defense."

The Navy has been APL's primary sponsor since the laboratory was established in 1942. In extending this relationship the new contract shifts management authority from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to NAVSEA. Funding under the new contract is at approximately the same level as that received under previous SPAWAR contracts. Tasks to be assigned under the new contract include research, systems engineering and evaluation, and technical services in such areas as theater air defense, battle space management, weapon system evaluation and submarine survivability.

John Lordan (seated at left), the university's interim senior vice president for business affairs, and William Van Houten, NAVSEA's principal contracting officer, sign a five-year $1.6 billion contract between the Naval Sea Systems Command and APL. APL Director Gary Smith (standing between the signers) expresses his approval as ink hits paper.

Although APL's previous Navy contract was for three years, with an annual option to renew for the second and third years, the new contract is for a continuous five-year term without option requirements. William J. Van Houten, NAVSEA's principal contracting officer, represented the Navy at the contract signing. After the official signing ceremony he said, "A lot was happening during the previous contract period. There were feasibility studies, capitalization issues and other items to consider. The Navy needed to see how things were going to work out. We're now confident that APL has a stable environment." The Navy's signing of a five-year contract "is a testament to their confidence in the laboratory," he said.

"This multiyear contract is a symbol of the confidence the Navy places in the work of APL. That confidence is justified," says Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), a member of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics and representing Maryland's sixth district, where APL is located. "Since 1942, APL has been one of the primary reasons our naval forces have maintained a technological advantage over every other naval force in the world."

On Oct. 1, APL signed a five-year $500 million contract with NASA. Tasks assigned by NASA under this contract will represent about 17 percent of APL's annual budget.

The NASA contract provides for research, design, mission operations and data analysis services in support of the agency's Mission to Planet Earth, Discovery Program and other space enterprises. APL was awarded NASA's first Discovery mission in 1993: the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft, which is en route to the first-ever orbit and study of an asteroid beginning in February 1999.

Ed Portner, APL's assistant director for business operations, points out that "these contract amounts--$1.6 billion and $500 million--are not guarantees of funding. Rather they are not-to-be-exceeded ceilings against which various work tasks will be charged."

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