Form 1023 (Appendix 10)
NSF Solicitation for Network Information
Services Manager for NSFnet and the NREN
||NSF9224--Network Information Services
Manager(s) for NSFNET and NREN
||March 19, 1992
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
NETWORK INFORMATION SERVICES
MANAGER(S)FOR NSFNET AND THE NREN
I. Purpose of This 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 the NSFNET.
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
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 au-thorized by the passage in December, 1991, of Public
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
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
- 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
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).
III. Project Requirements
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
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 important.
1. 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 services.
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
- Network number assignment (currently averaging
523 new requests per month with a total of 38,561 already registered)
- Autonomous system number assignment (currently
averaging 18 new requests per month with a total of 2,284 already
registered) 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.
1. (P) A "Directory of Directories"
which points to other directories and databases such as those
listed below in 2B and 2C
2. Desirable Directory Services
3. 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
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
1. (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
- route questions to the appropriate information
- 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
2. (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 appropriate,
- 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:
1. develop and deliver courses, seminars, and conferences on
operational and technical topics (such as on how to run a NIS)
2. provide instructors for selected end-user courses
3. make presentations to selected affinity groups interested
in establishing logical networks
4. develop presentations for potential network users and institutions
5. make developed materials available to appropriate groups
6. provide information on training methodologies to appropriate
ii) Outreach Services:publish a monthly
newsletter for end users and/or provide materials for use by
1. publish a monthly network report like
the current "Internet Monthly Report"
2. work with the appropriate groups to distribute materials dealing
with network security
3. work with the appropriate groups to help K-12 school districts
and two- and four-year colleges increase their level of networking
iii) Documentation Services:
1. develop and provide customizable end-user
training materials using a variety of media
2. develop and provide "how to" templates covering
the use of the network
3. develop, collect, and provide documents describing resources
available on the network
4. develop, and provide a historical archive of network development
5. develop and provide self-evaluation guidelines for mid-level
and campus NIS providers
6. maintain and distribute a written procedures and policies
manual relating to network use
IV. Questions about this solicitation
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 Infrastructure
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 accepted.Substantive questions received
and the NSF's answers to them will be sent to all solicitation
recipients approximately fourteen (14) calendar days thereafter.
V. Proposal Submission Information
1. 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 or-ganizations,
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
certain 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 (email@example.com).
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
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 (NSF/DNCRI).
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
VI. Award Information
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
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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More comprehensive information is contained in the NSF GPM.
VII. Contents of Proposal
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 singlespaced 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 brochure):
1. NSF Cover Page(s) (Appendix IV). All
consortium members and/or all major subcontractors should complete
and submit a copy of this page.
2. Information about Principal Investigator/Project Director
(Appendix III). Attach one copy to the original signed proposal.
Do not include the form within the body of the proposal.
3. "Certification Regarding Lobbying" form. See page
26 of GRESE.
4. Results from prior NSF support.
5. List of collaborators within past 48 months and names of graduate
and postdoctoral advisors of each investigator.
6. Current and pending support for key individuals (Appendix
7. Table of Contents with page numbers keyed to the major sections
of the proposal.
8. Executive Summary of no more than two pages which provides
a brief description of the proposed effort.
9. A plan to accomplish the tasks and furnish the services described
in Section III (Project Requirements) of this solicitation.2
10. Explicit procedures for monitoring the quality, availability
and effectiveness of the services provided.
11. Evidence of organizational knowledge and understanding of
the current Internet environment and vision of how the NSFNET
12. Documentation of the qualifications of the proposing organization(s),
- 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
13. Documentation of technical and managerial
qualifications of key personnel. (Curricula vitae of key personnel
should be placed in Appendix A.)
14. Explicit procedures for interaction with NSF/DNCRI.
15. Explicit procedures for interaction with existing Network
Information Services (NISs) and Network Operation Centers (NOCs).
16. (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.
17. Explicit procedures for interaction with international organizations
and network providers.
18. 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.
19. 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 sufficient 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, sub-contracting 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.
1 The 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
2 Upon 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.
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