SOCORRO, N.M., January 9, 2003 -- New Mexico Tech is poised to enter into a strategic agreement with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which will allow the public university and the private company to jointly pursue business opportunities in areas of mutual interest.

Immediate plans call for New Mexico Tech and SAIC to collaborate on Homeland Security technology and training, international law enforcement and counter-terrorism training, cyber-security issues, and scientific research related to astronomy and directed energy topics.

A formal signing ceremony for the strategic agreement is scheduled to be held on Monday, January 13, at 10:50 a.m. at Brown Hall, the university's main administration building.

New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López will sign on behalf of the university, and retired U.S. Army General Wayne A. Downing, a member of SAIC's Board of Directors, will sign on behalf of the research and engineering company.

The general public and news media are invited to attend the signing ceremony and subsequent press conference.

Also scheduled to attend are New Mexico Tech Vice President for Research Van Romero and David F. Williams, SAIC senior vice president.

After the signing ceremony, General Downing will address participants in a Weapons of Mass Destruction/First Responders course being conducted at New Mexico Tech's Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC), the largest civilian explosives testing center in the nation.

The retired U. S. Army General will then later be given a tour of the research facility's extensive field testing sites.

"New Mexico Tech is a leader in technological research and education; and, as its name implies, SAIC is also a proven leader when it comes to applying recent scientific discoveries to address the important technological challenges that face our nation," Tech President López said.

"This newly forged relationship with SAIC promises to extend our university's reach well beyond our campus to research programs throughout the world," López added.

"This landmark agreement further demonstrates SAIC's commitment to assisting the federal government with various aspects of Homeland Security," said General Downing. "Combining SAIC's scientific and technological capabilities with New Mexico Tech's research and educational expertise will allow both entities to provide the knowledge and technological edge required to protect our nation."

General Downing has been on the SAIC Board of Directors since 1996. He recently returned to the private sector after having served in the White House as National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism.

As the U.S. President's principal advisor on matters related to combating terrorism, General Downing was responsible for coordinating the military, diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, and financial operations of the Bush administration's "war on terrorism," as well as for developing and executing a unified strategy that integrated all elements of national power to address counter-terrorism issues.

In the past few years, New Mexico Tech and SAIC have worked together at the university's EMRTC to provide first responders from throughout the nation with life-saving skills and knowledge.

Last year, for instance, more than 5,000 of the nation's fire, police, and emergency medical personnel participated in hands-on training exercises at New Mexico Tech to learn how to properly respond to major terrorist incidents.