After a long governmental procurement process, on Friday, 26 October 2001, the United States Government entered an agreement with NeuStar, Inc. to provide registry services for the .us country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), replacing VeriSign, Inc. Consistent with this change in contracted operators, on Friday, 16 November 2001, the .us ccTLD was redelegated from VeriSign to NeuStar.
This redelegation occurred before the completion of the normal IANA requirements. The United States Government informed ICANN on 16 November 2001 that, because of complexities of U.S. procurement laws, it was not able to extend the existing arrangements with VeriSign nor complete the necessary three-way set of communications among itself, ICANN, and NeuStar. This presented a peculiar set of circumstances: ICANN was faced with the choice of (1) either authorizing a redelegation, or (2) creating a situation where the event would have occurred regardless but there would be inconsistent data in the IANA database. Given ICANN's primary mission focus on stability (and security as part of achieving stability), ICANN authorized an emergency redelegation prior to an appropriate contract.
All parties involved are committed to complete these contractual and other arrangements as soon as practicable following the end of the protest period (regarding the NeuStar contract) that is allowed for by U.S. law, this apparently being the earliest opportunity that U.S. law allows the U.S. Government to participate in contract negotiations. In its contract with NeuStar, the United States requires NeuStar to abide by the GAC principles (which require a binding written communication with ICANN), and has so committed to ICANN directly.
A full IANA report will be posted as soon as it is complete.