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[comments-gtlds] NSF Project Solicitation


                        FOR NSFNET AND THE NREN

                          Project Solicitation


The  rapid growth of the NSFNET has created the need for expanded
network  information services.  That growth,  together  with  the
expiration  of  the funding arrangement for the  NSFNET  National
Service Center (NNSC), has prompted this solicitation for one  or
more  Network Information Services Managers (NIS Manager(s))  for

This  solicitation invites proposals for one or more NIS  Manager
organizations to:  extend and coordinate directory  and  database
services  and  information services for the NSFNET;  and  provide
registration  services  for non-military  internet  networks  now
performed  by  the  Defense Information  Systems  Agency  Network
Information Center (the DISA NIC).  The DISA NIC will continue to
provide for the registration of military networks.

It  is  anticipated that this solicitation will result in one  or
more  five-year  cooperative  agreements  between  NSF  and   the
organization(s)  chosen as the NIS Manager(s).   NSF  funding  is
expected to be approximately $2,000,000 per year.

This  project  solicitation is issued pursuant  to  the  National
Science  Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42  U.S.C.  1861  et
seq)  and the Federal Cooperative Agreement Act (31 U.S.C.  6305)
and is not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.


During  the  past two decades computer networks have  facilitated
collaboration  among  members  of  many  research  and  education
communities  and provided them with remote access to  information
and  computing resources.  These networks have continued to  grow
both  in  the  number of users connected and  in the capabilities
provided  to the individual users.  It is anticipated  that  such
networks  will become essential to research and education  during
this  decade.   In  particular, the collection of  interconnected
networks  known  as  the Internet has become important  for  many
research  communities.  It is also of increasing  importance  for

Today  more  than  5,000 networks comprise the  Internet.   These
networks  link  together hundreds of thousands of  computers  and
millions  of  users  throughout the world.   The  domestic,  non-
military  portion  of  the  Internet includes  NSFNET.   It  also
includes other federally sponsored networks such as NASA  Science
Internet (NSI) and Energy Sciences Network (ESnet).  NSFNET, NSI,
and  ESnet,  as well as some other networks of the Internet,  are
related  to  the  National Research and Education Network  (NREN)
which was defined in the President's Fiscal 1992 budget and which
has  been authorized by the passage in December, 1991, of  Public
Law 102-194.

The  NREN  is  projected to evolve from a part  of  the  Internet
containing  portions of NSFNET, NSI, and ESnet.   This  evolution
will  reflect  the  legal requirements of the various  sponsoring
agencies.   For example, NASA and DOE are mission agencies  whose
networks' traffic must relate to the agencies' missions.  NSF, on
the  other  hand,  is  chartered  to  support  most  science  and
engineering  research and education; hence NSFNET can  carry  all
traffic  contemplated  for  the NREN  and  may  in  fact  support
additional traffic as well.

Because  of  the  breadth of the charter of  the  NSFNET,  it  is
projected  that  it will continue to serve an expanding  base  of
research and education users.  The provision of enhanced  network
information services for NSFNET will be an important part of  the
expansion in user base.

In  cooperation with the Internet community, the National Science
Foundation  has developed this solicitation for one or  more  NIS
Managers  to  provide  and/or coordinate  Registration  Services,
Directory   and Database Services, and Information  Services  for
the  NSFNET.  It is anticipated that the definition and provision
of  these  services  will help facilitate the  evolution  of  the
NSFNET and the development of the NREN.  References to NSFNET  in
this solicitation should in general be understood to include  the
NREN as well.

Certain  network information services are currently being offered
by  a variety of providers.  Some of these existing services  are
as follows.

    Internet   registration  services  (and   some   information
     services)   are  provided  by  the  DISA  NIC  operated   by
     Government Services, Inc. (GSI).

    Some NSFNET end user information services have been provided
     by  the  NSF Network Service Center (NNSC) operated by  Bolt
     Beranek   and  Newman  (BBN)  and  some  NSFNET   end   user
     information  services  have been  provided  by  campus-level
     computing and networking organizations.

    Information  services  for various federal  agency  backbone
     networks  are  provided  by the sponsoring  agencies  (e.g.,
     ESnet  information  services are provided  by  DOE  and  NSI
     information services are provided by NASA).

    Information  services for campus-level providers  have  been
     provided by NSFNET mid-level network organizations.

    Information services for NSFNET mid-level network  providers
     have   been   provided  by  Merit,  Inc.  under  Cooperative
     Agreement  NCR-8720904  as part of  the  management  of  the
     NSFNET backbone.

It  is expected that the NIS Manager organization(s) selected for
award(s)  as a result of this solicitation:   will, as  discussed
in Section III below, provide services to end users and to campus-
and  mid-level  network service providers; will  replace  certain
network  service providers (such as those mentioned in the  first
and second bullets above); and will coordinate with mid-level and
other network organizations (such as those mentioned in the third
through fifth bullets above).


Considerable  latitude exists for creative proposer responses  to
this  solicitation and a definitive list of services will not  be
given.   This  latitude exists for several reasons.   First,  the
provision of network information services on the scale called for
in  this solicitation is a novel undertaking for which innovative
solutions  are sought.  Second, it is possible for responders  to
propose to charge user fees for some services and the income from
such fees could affect the total amount of services offered.

The  services  shown  below  are  grouped  into  two  categories,
priority  and  desirable.  As stated above,  the  given  list  of
services  should  not be viewed as definitive and  proposers  are
encouraged  to  propose  other  services  that  they   feel   are

A. Priority Services
All  services  listed below that are preceded with  a  "(P)"  are
priority services, and an award for those services will be  made,
if  possible.   (This  does not imply that  all  responders  must
propose  priority services since multiple NIS Manager awards  may
be made.)

B. Desirable Services
All  services listed below that are not preceded with a "(P)" are
viewed  as suggested services that may be considered by proposers
as they prepare their responses.

Some  services listed below are to be provided to end  users  and
others  are  to be provided to other network information  service
providers.   The  NIS Manager(s) called for in this  solicitation
will be primarily a "NIS for NISs" but should also function as  a
"NIS  of first resort" and a "NIS of last resort" for end  users.
NIS  of  first  resort refers to activities  such  as  helping  a
potential  network user find a more localized  contact  who  will
assist with the process of becoming a network user.  NIS of  last
resort refers to activities such as assisting a network user  who
has  proceeded  from more local to less local requests  for  help
without  resolving a problem or getting a question answered.   In
many  cases, however, the NIS Manager(s) would work with  network
service providers who are closer to the end users.

Thus the provision of some of the services listed below might  be
accomplished  by coordinating information resources and  services
provided   by  others.   A  coordinated,  hierarchical   set   of
information services should result from the collaboration of  the
NIS Manager(s) with (but not limited to) the mid-level and campus-
level  providers  of  network information  services.   Responders
should seek to utilize such resources and services where possible
rather than to duplicate them.

The  following list is divided into three subareas:  registration
services,   directory  and  database  services,  and  information

1.  (P) Registration Services
The provider of registration services will function in accordance
with  the provisions of RFC 1174.  As stated in RFC 1174,  "[T]he
Internet system has employed a central Internet Assigned  Numbers
Authority  (IANA)  for the allocation and assignment  of  various
numeric  identifiers needed for the operation  of  the  Internet.
The  IANA  function  is performed by the University  of  Southern
California's  Information Sciences Institute.  The IANA  has  the
discretionary   authority   to   delegate   portions   of    this
responsibility   and,  with  respect  to  numeric   network   and
autonomous  system  identifiers, has lodged  this  responsibility
with  an Internet Registry (IR)."  Moreover, in cooperation  with
the  IANA,  the IR may create delegate registries  to  carry  out
registration services for specified domains.

The   NIS   Manager  responsible  for  non-military  registration
services will function either as the IR or as a delegate registry
authorized   by  the  IR  to  provide  non-military  registration
services.  NSF, DISA, and other interested parties will determine
which  organization  (the DISA NIC, the NSFNET  NIS  Manager,  or
another organization) will function as IR and which will function
as a delegate registry.

The   NIS   Manager  responsible  for  non-military  registration
services  will in any case be required to work with the DISA  NIC
to  design  and  implement a transition plan that  will  minimize
inconvenience  to the networking community during and  after  the
transition.   Non-military internet registration services  to  be
provided include the following:

    Domain  name  registration   (currently  averaging  229  new
     requests per month with a total of 3,950 already registered)

    Domain name server registration  (currently averaging 56 new
     requests per month with a total of 4,976 already registered)

    Network  number  assignment  (currently  averaging  523  new
     requests   per   month  with  a  total  of  38,561   already

    Autonomous system number assignment  (currently averaging 18
     new  requests  per  month  with a  total  of  2,284  already

2.  Directory and Database Services
Proposed  directory  implementations should  utilize  distributed
database  and  other advanced technologies wherever  practicable.
This  may  place the NIS Manager(s) in a coordination  role  with
respect  to  other organizations that have created and maintained
relevant directories and databases.  Procedures for creation  and
maintenance  of  proposed  directories and  databases  should  be
clearly specified.

   A.   (P)   A "Directory of Directories" which points to  other
directories and databases such as those listed below in 2B and 2C

  B.  Desirable Directory Services
  i.users accessible by name, discipline, and organization

  ii.     institutions  on  the  network and  characteristics  of
     their connections

  iii.   organizations accessible by function

  iv.     resources  available  on the network  (e.g.,  computing
     facilities, libraries, databases)

  C.  Desirable Database Services
  i.databases of  contributed materials

  ii.     databases  of  communications documents such  as  RFCs,
     FYIs, IDs, and IENs

  iii.   databases maintained for other groups, possibly for fee

3.  Information Services
   A.  (P)  Network Reference Desk Services These services should
provide  for  electronic mail, facsimile, telephone,  and  postal
queries and should be available for personnel from mid-level  and
campus networks and for end users and must include the following:

    answer general questions,

    distribute general information in response to questions,

    route questions to the appropriate information source,

    record and track all queries,

    prepare  and provide to NSF (for planning purposes)  summary
     reports and analyses of all queries, and

    develop  and  deploy  a  NIS trouble  ticket  system  (using
     available  software  as appropriate)  for  queries  and  NIS
     problems that cannot be immediately resolved.  (This  should
     complement,  not replace, Network Operations Center  trouble
     ticket systems.)

  B.  (P) Coordination Services
Coordination  services  will  involve  all  NSFNET  NIS   Manager
organizations and must include the following:

    convene  a NIS Liaison Council whose main function would  be
     coordination  and  information sharing  among  organizations
     such  as  mid-level network service providers and others  as

    work  with  appropriate agencies to encourage  international
     cooperation  between and coordination of network information
     services, and

    represent  the  NIS Manager organization(s)  to  appropriate
     administrative bodies.

  C.  Educational Services

    i) Training  Services:

  a.develop  and  deliver courses, seminars, and  conferences  on
     operational and technical topics (such as on how  to  run  a

  b.provide instructors for selected end-user courses

  c.make presentations to selected affinity groups interested  in
     establishing logical networks

  d.develop   presentations  for  potential  network  users   and

  e.make developed materials available to appropriate groups

  f.provide  information on training methodologies to appropriate

    ii) Outreach Services:

  a.publish  a  monthly newsletter for end users  and/or  provide
     materials for use by other newsletters

  b.publish  a  monthly network report like the current "Internet
     Monthly Report"

  c.work  with  the  appropriate groups to  distribute  materials
     dealing with network security

  d.work   with  the  appropriate  groups  to  help  K-12  school
     districts  and  two- and four-year colleges  increase  their
     level of networking involvement

    iii) Documentation Services:

  a.develop  and provide customizable end-user training materials
     using a variety of media

  b.develop  and provide "how to" templates covering the  use  of
     the network

  c.develop,  collect, and provide documents describing resources
     available on the network

  d.develop,   and  provide  a  historical  archive  of   network

  e.develop  and provide self-evaluation guidelines for mid-level
     and campus NIS providers

  f.maintain  and  distribute a written procedures  and  policies
     manual relating to network use


In  order  that  all proposers receive the same information,  all
questions regarding this solicitation should be directed  to  the
NSF  in  the  manner  indicated below.   All  questions  must  be
submitted  in writing.  Questions must be received by  3:00  P.M.
Eastern Standard Time, Monday, March 30, 1992, at:

  National Science Foundation
  Division of Networking and Communications Research and
  1800 G Street, N.W., Room 416
  Washington, D.C. 20550
  ATTN: G Strawn (NIS Inquiry)

Telephone, facsimile, and electronic mail questions will  not  be

Substantive questions received and the NSF's answers to them will
be  sent  to  all solicitation recipients approximately  fourteen
(14) calendar days thereafter.


A. Who May Submit

Proposals for the implementation of and operation as NIS  Manager
may   be   submitted   by   U.S.  entities   including   academic
institutions, not-for-profit or for-profit organizations, or  any
combination thereof.

Proposers may include consortia of several organizations.  Should
an   award  be  made  to  a  consortium  in  response   to   this
solicitation,   that   consortium  must  have   a   single   lead
organization,  and the Principal Investigator  (PI)  must  be  an
employee of that organization.

It  is recommended that appropriate  administrative officials  of
proposing  organizations  be  familiar  with  the  policies   and
procedures stated in the NSF Grant Policy Manual1 (GPM) which are
applicable  to NSF awards.  If a proposal is recommended  for  an
award, the NSF Division of Grants and Contracts will request  cer
tain  organizational, management, and financial information  from
the  submitting organizations.  These requirements are  described
in Chapter III of the NSF GPM.

B.  Key Personnel

For  each  award  made,  the individual designated  as  principal
investigator/project director and other personnel deemed critical
to  the  effort  will  be named in a key personnel  clause  which
requires  NSF  approval prior to diversion or  replacement.   The
principal investigator/project director will be the primary point
of contact with NSF.

C.  Proposal Submission and Due Date

Ten  (10)  copies  of the proposal, including  one  copy  bearing
original signatures, should be mailed to:

     Proposal Processing Unit - Room 223
     Attn: Network Information Services      Project, NSF 92-24
     National Science Foundation
     1800 G Street, NW
     Washington, D.C. 20550

Only  one  (1) copy of NSF Form 1225, Information About Principal
Investigator/Project Director, should be sent,  attached  to  the
original signed proposal.

Proposals may also be submitted electronically.  For information,
contact  the  Electronic  Proposal Submission  Program  Director,
Division  of Information Systems (DIS), via phone (202) 357-7439,
or via electronic mail (eps@nsf.gov).

Proposals  submitted in response to this solicitation must:   (a)
be  received by NSF no later than Monday, May 18, 1992;  (b)   be
postmarked  no  later than five (5) days prior  to  the  deadline
date; or (c)  be sent via commercial overnight mail no later than
two  (2)  days  prior to the deadline date to be  considered  for
award.   Proposals submitted electronically will  be  dated  when
they enter the NSF system.

D.  Rights to Proposal Information

A  proposal that results in an NSF award will become part of  the
record of the transaction and will be available to the public  on
specific  request.   Information  or  material  that  NSF,  after
consultation  with the awardee, determines to be of a  privileged
nature will be held in confidence to the extent permitted by law,
including the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).  Without
assuming any liability for inadvertent disclosure, NSF will  seek
to  limit dissemination of such information to its employees and,
for purposes of evaluation of the proposal, to outside reviewers.

Accordingly, any privileged information contained in the proposal
should  be  clearly marked or indicated (as with an  asterisk  or
highlighter) and identified by a legend similar to the following:
"Following is ((proprietary) or (specify)) information that (name
of  proposing organization) requests not be released  to  persons
outside the Government, except for purposes of evaluation."

     E.  Evaluation of Proposals

Proposals  will  be  reviewed  in  accordance  with  the  special
criteria  given  below.  Evaluation of proposals in  response  to
this  solicitation  will  be  administered  by  the  Division  of
Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure of  NSF

The proposals will be reviewed by one or more merit review panels
chosen   by   NSF.    The   merit  review  panels   may   include
representatives of other federal agencies.  At the discretion  of
NSF, site visits may also be conducted.

The proposal or proposals offering the greatest overall merit  in
meeting  the requirements of the NIS Manager(s) Project  will  be
determined  in  accordance  with the  general  criteria  and  the
following  special criteria which are listed in descending  order
of importance:

    Quality  and  quantity of the proposed  network  information
     services.   Also, the quality of performance measures  which
     the  proposer must develop and adopt to ascertain (at  least
     annually)  the quality and quantity of the proposed  network
     information services.

    Comprehension of the current Internet environment, vision as
     to  how  the  NSFNET should evolve, and  vision  as  to  how
     network information services should be provided during  this

    Capability  to  design  and provide  and/or  coordinate  the
     proposed  information services.  Factors  include:   use  of
     innovative   (but   not   untested)  approaches,   such   as
     distributed  data  bases;  ability  to  adjust  to   rapidly
     changing  service  requirements;  and  ability  to  develop,
     adopt, and employ new technologies and relevant standards.

    Capabilities and experience of key personnel including those
     that are part of any subcontract.

    Ability  to  work with other network service  providers  and
     organizations, both domestic and international.

    Quality of the proposed NIS Manager facilities.

While  the  overall  cost of the proposed services--both  to  the
government  and  to the networking community as a whole--will  be
considered  during  proposal evaluation, the  primary  basis  for
selection will be the evaluation criteria shown above.


The Foundation reserves the right to make one or more awards as a
result  of  proposals received in response to this  solicitation.
If   multiple   awards   are  made,  the   responsibilities   for
registration  services  will be made to a  single  proposer,  but
directory and database services and information services  may  be
divided  and/or  duplicated  as  deemed  appropriate.   NSF  also
reserves the right to make no award.

Should  one or more awards be made, it is contemplated that  they
will be Cooperative Agreements providing operational support  for
a  period  of five (5) years.  It is expected that any  resulting
awards will be announced in the summer of 1992.

Following the award(s), the NIS Manager for Registration Services
will  be required to develop operations agreements with the  DISA
Internet  Registration contractor (GSI) to insure  that  domestic
and  international  Internet Registration  continues  to  operate
smoothly both during the transition and afterwards.

The  progress, plans, and services of the NIS Manager(s) will  be
assessed  annually.  In particular, the quality and  quantity  of
the  services should be ascertainable annually during the  period
of  the agreement by performance measures which the proposer must
develop  and  adopt.  Determination(s) may be made  at  any  time
about  any additional, increased, decreased, or modified services
within the general scope and context of the agreement and NSF may
negotiate appropriate modification(s) to the award(s).

After  24  months  of  operation,  the  performance  of  the  NIS
Manager(s)   will  be  externally  reviewed.   The  review   will
determine if the NIS Manager(s) are meeting the established goals
and objectives.  The review will be used to determine whether NSF
will  continue to support the awardee(s) at the previously agreed
to level.

Awards  resulting  from  this solicitation  are  administered  in
accordance with the terms and conditions of GC-1, "Grant  General
Conditions",    and   CA-1,   "Cooperative   Agreement    General
Conditions".  Copies of these documents are available at no  cost
from  the  NSF  Forms and Publications Unit, via phone  (202)357-
7861,  or via electronic mail (pubs@nsf.gov).  More comprehensive
information is contained in the NSF GPM.

Proposals  should be prepared as follows in accordance  with  the
guidelines  contained  in the brochure Grants  for  Research  and
Education  in  Science and Engineering, (GRESE)  (NSF  90-77  rev
8/90)  (available  from the NSF Forms and  Publications  Unit  as
referred  to  above).  Each proposal should  reflect  the  unique
combination   of  the  proposing  organization's  interests   and
capabilities  in  providing  information  services   to   support
research and education users of the NSFNET.  Since reviewers will
be  asked to review more than one proposal, lengthy proposals are
not  recommended.  The narrative portion (Sections  I  through  M
below)  should be not more than 15 (8 1/2 x 11 inch) single-sided
pages  of single-spaced text (with one inch margins and 10  point
type).   A  separate budget narrative/business  plan  (Section  S
below)  should  not be more than six similar pages (exclusive  of
the  required budget forms which comprise Section R).  Appendices
other than those from the GRESE brochure and Appendix A described
below  will  not  necessarily be considered in the  merit  review
process.  Proposals should be securely fastened together, but not
placed in ring binders.

The proposals should contain the following Sections A through  S,
plus Appendix A.  (references to appendices are to those in GRESE

A.   NSF  Cover  Page(s)  (Appendix IV).  All consortium  members
     and/or all major subcontractors should complete and submit a
     copy of this page.

B.   Information  about  Principal Investigator/Project  Director
     (Appendix III).  Attach one copy to the original signed  pro
     posal.   Do  not  include the form within the  body  of  the

C.   "Certification  Regarding Lobbying" form.  See  page  26  of

D.   Results from prior NSF support.

E.   List  of  collaborators within past 48 months and  names  of
     graduate and postdoctoral advisors of each investigator.

F.   Current  and  pending support for key individuals  (Appendix

G.   Table  of  Contents  with page numbers keyed  to  the  major
     sections of the proposal.

H.   Executive Summary of no more than two pages which provides a
     brief description of the proposed effort.

I.   A  plan  to  accomplish the tasks and furnish  the  services
     described  in  Section  III (Project Requirements)  of  this

J.   Explicit procedures for monitoring the quality, availability
     and effectiveness of the services provided.

K.   Evidence  of  organizational knowledge and understanding  of
     the  current  Internet environment and  vision  of  how  the
     NSFNET should evolve.

L.   Documentation   of  the  qualifications  of  the   proposing
     organization(s), including:

        experience  applicable to the provision,  operation  and
       management of the NIS Manager(s) Project; and

        if  a consortium and/or major subcontracts are proposed,
       experience in managing subcontracts with special  emphasis
     on   establishing   performance  standards  and   monitoring
       quality control.

M.   Documentation of technical and managerial qualifications  of
     key personnel.  (Curricula vitae  of key personnel should be
     placed in Appendix A.)

N.   Explicit procedures for interaction with NSF/DNCRI.

O.   Explicit  procedures for interaction with  existing  Network
     Information  Services (NISs) and Network  Operation  Centers

P.   (For  Registration Services proposers) A clear plan for  the
     transition  from current procedures and practices  to  those
     proposed  for  non-military  network  Internet  Registration
     services  and explicit procedures for interaction  with  the
     DISA NIC.

Q.   Explicit   procedures  for  interaction  with  international
     organizations and network providers.

R.   Summary  Proposal Budget (NSF Form 1030) for the  cumulative
     five-year period plus individual annual budgets (on NSF Form
     1030)  for  each  year (Appendix V).  As instructed  on  the
     reverse  side of NSF Form 1030, identify each year's request
     (e.g.,  "Cumulative  Budget", "First  Year",  etc.)  in  the
     margin at the top right of the form.

S.   A   proposed   five-year   budget  narrative/business   plan
     (referred to as "the narrative" in this paragraph) for funds
     requested  from NSF.  The narrative should be  organized  by
     the  three subareas of Registration Services, Directory  and
     Database  Services,  and Information Services  described  in
     Section III, Project Requirements of this solicitation on  a
     per  year  basis.  The narrative should contain  information
     about  the  services  proposed and explain  the  significant
     costs associated with the individual subareas proposed.  The
     annual  costs of each subarea should be explained  in  suffi
     cient  detail to allow identification of such items  as  the
     proposed  level  of  effort  for  professional  and  support
     personnel  (and  associated  direct  and  indirect   costs),
     travel,  equipment, subcontracting and profit (if any).   If
     for  estimating purposes, the proposer normally  uses  fully
     loaded  labor  rates,  such  rates  may  be  used  if  their
     derivation is explained.

Appendix  A.  Curricula Vitae

Biographical information (limited to two pages) on the  principal
investigator and other key individuals from all organizations who
will be directly involved in the management and operation of  the
project.   Lists  of publications for each individual  should  be
limited to the ten most relevant.

1The NSF Grant Policy Manual (NSF 88-47, July 1989) is for sale
through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.  Telephone (202)783-3288.
2Upon completion of the project, a Final Project Report (NSF Form
98A), including the Part IV Summary, will be required.
Applicants should review this form prior to proposal submission
so that appropriate tracking mechanisms are included in the
proposal plan to ensure that complete information will be
available at the completion of the project.