Five million dollar federal contract announced

The National Center for the Study of Counter-Terrorism & CyberCrime at Norwich University has received a two-year $5 million federal contract to conduct research and technology development for the US military. Specifically, the research will be performed in the areas of nanotechnologies, unexploded ordinance detection, and computer network systems.

The contract is the result of the efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who placed the additional funds in the 2004 Department of Defense budget. Senator Leahy was also instrumental in the creation and location of the National Center at Norwich University.

"This contract award is the continuation of a win-win situation for our soldiers and the talented Vermont professionals performing this important research that will ultimately improve our soldiers' ability to perform under the most severe conditions," said Tom Aldrich, president of the National Center for the Study of Counter-Terrorism & CyberCrime at Norwich University. "We in the National Center will continue to look for talented men and women in Vermont who can bring forth ideas to keep Americans, who must go in harm's way (to keep us), safe and our nation secure. The wisdom of Senator Leahy and Norwich University's President Schneider bringing these talents together cannot be understated."

The research being contracted through the National Center at Norwich represents an important step toward furthering a key objective of the Center, to serve as an economic engine for the Vermont economy. The Center has created 15 new positions since its inception in October 2002. Additional professionals will be hired in order to manage and conduct the increased workload.

For some of the nano-technology work, the National Center will be sub-contracting with Diffraction, LTD of Waitsfield, Vt., which specializes in optical systems and micro- and nano-fabrication, including design, engineering and production of microsystems; high energy laser optics; diffractive optical elements; and process engineering for electro-optic applications. To complete its portion of the contract, Diffraction has plans to hire additional researchers.

"This contract offers a significant opportunity for Diffraction LTD to grow while continuing our efforts to develop new technologies; we will be utilizing and improving our nanotechnology capabilities in its performance," said Bill Parker, chief executive officer and director of research at Diffraction LTD.

The Center is working closely with QuantaSpec of Essex Junction to develop ways to use lasers for detecting unexploded ordinance. "With this technology, no longer will a soldier have to approach an explosive device to determine what it is. They will be able to detect it from a distance. I brought an idea to the National Center; they modified it; and together we were able to solve a critical need for our deployed soldiers. The National Center is an asset we never had before in Vermont," said Ken Pussey, president and CEO of QuantaSpec.

Additional contracts will involve ManTech International and Electronic Warfare Associates to accomplish some of the work in the areas of computer and network security. Both companies are dedicated to establishing and maintaining a presence in Vermont.

"Norwich University is extremely pleased to be a part of the Center's efforts with this vital research," said Norwich President Richard Schneider. "This new federal contract will not only help with our national security, but it will also strengthen the economic engine of Northfield by bringing in out-of-state businesses to assist with this research. We are most appreciative to Senator Leahy for his continuing efforts in obtaining this contract."

"The Center has quickly gotten a solid footing and is off to a strong start," said Sen. Patrick Leahy. "The Center's work will harness technology and expertise in new ways that will be important to our national security and the security of our troops. Norwich University is forging strong partnerships with Vermont's growing technology sector that will be important to the Center and to Vermont's economy. This kind of synergy is just what we had in mind, and it has great potential to benefit the Center's work and the Vermont companies that are partnering in these projects."

malbury@norwich.edu, October 2004

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