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Software Engineering Institute Contract Extended by Department of Defense for $2.7 Billion

Software Engineering Institute Contract Extended by Department of Defense for $2.7 Billion
July 7, 2020 • Press Release

Pittsburgh, Pa., July 7, 2020—The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has extended its contract with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to operate the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) for an additional term of five years with a value of up to $2.7 billion. The contract ensures that the institute, a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), will continue to support national security by advancing and transitioning the science, technologies, and practices needed to make software a strategic advantage for the DoD. 

The SEI, which is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)), is the only FFRDC focusing specifically on software-related security and engineering. The contract was awarded in 2015 for a term of five years with an option for a five-year extension. 

“Carnegie Mellon is pleased to continue to operate the federally funded research and development center dedicated to software and cybersecurity, providing the government with leading-edge software expertise to ensure our systems are dependable, resilient, and secure,” Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian said. “CMU’s longstanding expertise in computer science, cybersecurity, engineering, and artificial intelligence are essential for national defense as well as for the nation’s critical infrastructure and our commercial enterprises.”

As part of Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world’s leading academic institutions for research and education in computer science and engineering, the SEI is uniquely positioned to develop technologies and practices to solve difficult engineering and cybersecurity challenges in the nation’s critical infrastructure and in fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

“The work of the SEI in collaboration with other research efforts across the university magnifies the impact we can achieve not only for the DoD, but also more generally for Pittsburgh and the nation,” said J. Michael McQuade, CMU vice president for research. “Extending the work of the SEI helps to ensure that we continue to be a high-tech anchor for the region, supporting jobs and recruitment of research talent to CMU and to the area.”

Society faces enduring challenges as the need for software innovation and cybersecurity evolves and intensifies. Complex software systems require the highest levels of cybersecurity and now underpin the operations of the DoD, the Department of Homeland Security, other government agencies, and industry. 

“I’m pleased to see that the DoD has again recognized the remarkable value that CMU brings to the field of software development and cybersecurity,” Congressman Mike Doyle said. “Carnegie Mellon University overall, and the SEI in particular, are global leaders in addressing complex cybersecurity and software engineering challenges. I’m glad that CMU will be able to continue this important work, and that the SEI’s capabilities in this field continue to benefit the academic vitality and economic life of Pittsburgh.”

“The extension of our contract is a strong signal of the value the SEI brings to the DoD mission,” said Paul Nielsen, SEI director and CEO. “The people of the SEI provide objective, high-quality research; game-changing advances in mission capabilities, such as those provided by the safe and secure integration of AI; insight into current and future mission needs; and an understanding of adoption barriers and enablers that accelerate implementation of technologies.”

Since it was established in 1984, the SEI has pursued research, development and demonstration, collaboration, and transition objectives that address pervasive and significant problems. This work helps organizations to acquire, develop, operate, and sustain software systems, and ensure these software systems are innovative, affordable, trustworthy, and enduring.

FFRDCs are unique nonprofit entities sponsored and funded by the U.S. government that address long-term problems of considerable complexity, analyze technical questions with a high degree of objectivity, and provide creative and cost-effective solutions to government problems.

About the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute
The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI works with organizations to make measurable improvements in their software engineering capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering. The CERT Division of the SEI is the world’s leading trusted authority dedicated to improving the security and resilience of computer systems and networks and a national asset in the field of cybersecurity. For more information, visit the SEI website at