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University of Missouri Named a Preferred Contractor in a Major Department of Defense Award

Defense Systems Technical Area Tasks Award could be a significant boost for area economic development

August 4th, 2014

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A collaboration between the University of Missouri’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute (NSEI) and Center for Physical and Power Electronics has been named a preferred contractor by the Department of Defense for the Defense Systems Technical Area Tasks (DS TATs). The award includes private and public sector participants that develop and produce the defense systems necessary to keep the U.S. military strong. The partnership includes a contract ceiling of $3 billion for all contractors and could mean a significant addition to the local, regional and statewide economy.

“The Department of Defense conducted an intensive review process and developed a contract vehicle called Technical Areas Tasks that enables the government to acquire the technical services and equipment it needs from private contractors and research institutions,” said Mark Prelas, professor and director of research with the NSEI in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at MU. “As a preferred, pre-qualified contractor, MU will be able to bypass the formal bid process, which saves time and resources for the government and enables us to receive the contract within a four- to six-week window.”

DS TATs contracts provide research, development, engineering and advisory assistance to government entities who are seeking expertise within specific areas over the course of five years. Those areas include advanced materials, directed energy, survivability and vulnerability, military sensing equipment, weapons systems and other systems needed to outfit the military. Government requirements are relayed to the qualified participants and usually involve a rapid response, meaning that projects could begin very quickly, Prelas said.

“The award increases MU’s ability to earn federal contracts,” said Randy Curry, Logan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director for the Center for Physical and Power Electronics in the College of Engineering at MU. “As a pre-qualified contractor, MU could see a major influx of research dollars as the projects are awarded. This could spin off quite a few companies leading to jobs and significant economic growth for the area.”

A total of 12 contractors and other elite national research institutions are considered part of the award. The award also is important for the University’s Association of American Universities (AAU) membership standards and should grow the research capabilities of MU, Curry said.

The project, which is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center, is responsible for determining the contracts using the unrestricted competition pool. URS Corporation, an engineering, construction and technical services firm, will administer the project.