The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization based in Bedford, Massachusetts and McLean, Virginia. MITRE operates federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) to provide the United States government with support for systems engineering, research and development, and information technology. It manages FFRDCs for the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
MITRE was founded in 1958 and grew out of the computer laboratories of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory Division 6 during World War II. The United States Air Force began to develop an air defense system, which became known as SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment). IBM was chosen to build the computer elements of SAGE and, as MIT decided that this project would best be administered by an outside entity, MITRE was founded to oversee the project. MITRE officially opened on July 17, 1958 with Robert Everett as technical director and John Jacobs as deputy technical director. Clair “Hap” Halligan served as the first President and H. Rowan Gaither was the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees. After the SAGE project, MITRE would go on to assist with the creation of the NATO Air Defense Ground Environment and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), working with NORAD staff to support the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.
MITRE's continued work with the Air Force included technical assistance on AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System). These aircraft employed JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System), also developed by MITRE. In 1991, the Air Force deployed two prototype Joint STARS (Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) aircraft for Operation Desert Storm to identify and track the movement of Iraqi ground vehicles. Thereafter, MITRE served as the systems engineer for the Joint STARS program.
In 1990, the FAA sponsored a new FFRDC called the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development. Mitretek Systems (Noblis), was spun-off from MITRE in 1996, to focus on projects outside of the Department of Defense and the FAA. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) engaged MITRE to manage an FFRDC to support the modernization of its information systems. In 2008, the Department of Veterans Affairs became a co-sponsor, along with the IRS, of the Center for Enterprise Modernization.
In 2010, the Federal Judiciary created the Judiciary Engineering and Modernization Center (JEMC). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Health and Human Services created the CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare (CAMH) in 2012. The National Cybersecurity FFRDC was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2014.