Marine brass press for inclusion in NMCI

Marine brass press for inclusion in NMCI

'Any exclusion of the Marine Corps from NMCI would exacerbate the degraded condition of our information technology infrastructure.'
'GEN. JAMES JONES, MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT

The Marine Corps stands behind the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet and plans to make the transition to the new enterprise infrastructure next year, the Corps commandant says.

In a letter to Rep. Bob Stump (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Gen. James L. Jones said harm would be done if the Corps were released from the $6.9 billion outsourcing initiative as the committee recommended last month [GCN, Aug. 13, Page 17].

'Any exclusion of the Marine Corps from NMCI would exacerbate the degraded condition of our information technology infrastructure that has not been modernized for almost two years awaiting NMCI,' Jones said. 'We have recently updated our affordability analysis for NMCI, and under the present conditions of the contract, we are confident it is affordable for the Marine Corps.'

In July, the committee recommended cutting the Corps from NMCI and suggested fiscal 2002 funding of $527 million'$120 million less than President Bush requested.

In its report accompanying the Defense Department authorization bill, the committee slammed NMCI's 'lengthy program delays' and raised questions about the Navy's funding and budget strategies.

Navy and Marine officials have said they will work through legislative channels to make sure the Corps is included in NMCI.

'The Marines are going in. We are working hard to get the language removing them from NMCI cut out' of the authorization bill, said Capt. Chris Christopher, a Navy deputy program executive for IT.

Up for debate

The authorization bill will go before both houses of Congress for a full vote in the fall.

The delays first came up in a DOD memo that said more rigorous weapons-systems-level testing would have to be conducted to end a Congress-imposed pause that limited the amount of contractor work.

The Navy disagreed with the committee's findings. Service officials said they and prime contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. are testing NMCI and that more extensive Defense tests could wait until next year. At a press briefing last month, Navy officials said they recently struck an accord with DOD on the testing issue, but had not released the details of the agreement as of press time.

Another source of delay has been the process of taking an inventory of the Navy's legacy applications. Personnel at sites that will join NMCI have compiled lists of apps that they use and must decide whether to migrate to NMCI or drop. Those that make the cut are sent for security testing at the NMCI Proving Center Lab in San Diego.

'When this process is over, we will have a list of every application in the Department of the Navy, who's using it and what they're using it for,' Christopher said. 'That's a big asset.'

NMCI officials said the process would provide cost savings by letting the Navy negotiate enterprise software licenses rather than having individual commands buy programs.

So far, commands preparing to switch over to NMCI have reduced the number of legacy apps they use, officials said. For example, Navy Reserve units have gone from using 2,500 apps to 300, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has cut its number from 3,200 to 1,800.

In taking stock of the legacy apps, Navy officials have found that users tend to stick with software they know, even after it becomes obsolete.

The amount of work required to eliminate some apps and ready others for NMCI has caused some minor delays, but officials have established a timeline for commands to cut over to the network. Christopher said the transition is still within a few weeks of the schedule established by the contract and that the pace is expected to improve as commands become more familiar with the process.

A list of applicationss that have been tested for NMCI can be found at www.eds.com/nmci/.

GCN assistant managing editor for news Matt McLaughlin contributed to this story.

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