In July 1962, two enterprising men – a practical visionary and a programming genius – saw a promising business opportunity. Little did they know, they would become the co-founders of CACI International, a company that would grow so remarkably in the next half century that it would become one of the nation's most important government contractors.
As colleagues at the California-based RAND Corporation in the early 1960s, Herb Karr (the visionary) and Harry Markowitz (the programming genius) worked together to develop SIMSCRIPT, the world's first simulation programming language. After development, RAND placed the language in the public domain. Karr and Markowitz knew that the general release of a product like SIMSCRIPT was a rare occurrence, and they saw a ripe opportunity for teaching, using, and further developing the unsupported language.
With nothing more than a phone booth and a park bench for an office, they started their own company to support and train SIMSCRIPT users. They called it California Analysis Center, Inc. – "CACI."
As their first company project, Karr and Markowitz used their entire working capital – $1,000 each – on a direct-mail campaign to announce a seminar on SIMSCRIPT. The seminar would provide programmers and analysts with the opportunity to discuss and solve SIMSCRIPT "bugs" and explore new uses of the language.
With no capital left to spend, they relied on an answering service and a mail drop to handle seminar registrations. Fortunately, plenty of people were interested in learning about SIMSCRIPT. Simulation was still in its infancy, and seminar attendees jumped at the chance to study both the mechanics of the language and the techniques of simulation analysis in general.
CACI's early SIMSCRIPT courses not only demonstrated Karr's and Markowitz's preeminent skills in the language, but they led to a growing network of industry contacts – and those contacts, in turn, led to valuable simulation analysis work for the new company.
As the SIMSCRIPT seminars took off, Karr capitalized on his background in inventory control systems to write and submit a five-page unsolicited proposal to the U.S. Navy's Ships Parts Control Center in Mechanicsburg, PA. His unconventional technique worked; in June 1963, barely a year after founding CACI, Karr and Markowitz won their very first contract, valued at $17,330. The work, which involved researching and simulating selected operations of an inventory control point, became the first chapter in CACI's long history of support for Department of Defense clients.
CACI's next major development took place in 1964, when the company signed an agreement with IBM to develop a new compiler for translating programs written in SIMSCRIPT. This $30,000 contract led to the development of a new standard version of SIMSCRIPT, called SIMSCRIPT I.5. With this release in 1965, CACI became one of the earliest independent companies to develop and sell proprietary software.
In the years that followed, Karr and Markowitz continued to grow their new business by developing winning products and keeping a strong client focus. In 1967, CACI developed its second proprietary product, QWICK QWERY, an information retrieval system. Soon enough, the company adopted a new name – Consolidated Analysis Centers Inc. – to reflect its expansion. CACI also opened new branch offices in the Washington, DC metro area and New York City.
In 1968, just six years after the company was founded, revenues topped more than $1 million, and the number of full-time personnel had grown from just a handful to more than 40. That same year, CACI went public with 100,000 shares of common stock.
Now, nearly 50 years later, CACI takes great pride in its record of achievement and the people who contributed to its success. From its humble beginnings in 1962, the business venture that Karr and Markowitz created has become a national asset for national priorities – a $3.5 billion company with 13,900 employees worldwide – supporting America's most vital missions in defense, intelligence, homeland security, and IT modernization and government transformation.