Navy modifies NMCI service agreements

'I want our users to go to the system that we've got and push the start button and not have anything to worry about,' Rear Adm. James B. Godwin III says.

Rick Steele

To keep the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet initiative from sinking under the weight of its performance agreements, the Navy has radically revamped its service requirements.

Rear Adm. James Basil Godwin III, who recently took over as director of the $9 billion program, said the changes involve significant modifications to the service-level agreements and terms of full payment and performance with lead contractor EDS Corp.

The changes reduce the number of performance categories in the contract from 192 to 27. The number of service-level agreements also dropped, from 44 to seven, which will help Navy users more effectively measure performance, Godwin said.

He said the service agreements would better measure network performance in areas such as speed, throughput and availability, and will help officials monitor help desk response times and traffic.

The NMCI contract closely ties incentive payments to EDS and its subcontractors with customer satisfaction.

The new agreements are better aligned with Navy business processes, focus efforts on NMCI program priorities, provide uniform monthly reports for all performance categories and eliminate categories that are no longer needed, officials said.

Godwin said users helped the NMCI office and EDS reduce the number of service agreements.

'We had the users involved, specifically the Naval Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Va., the Marine Corps, as well as our requirements organizations, to advise us as to what will be really important,' he said. 'We did not want to go off and redefine this contract by ourselves. That's why you see us engaged with the users.'

The modifications also include an im- proved Service Level Agreement Incentives and Penalties program, dubbed SLAP.

The new structure is 'going to change accountability,' Godwin said. 'We're going to make this business of NMCI invisible to the user. I want our users to go to the system that we've got and push the start button and not have anything to worry about.'

Speaking recently at a luncheon held by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association in Arlington, Va., Godwin said it will take time to reach the 'lofty' goal.

Godwin began his Navy career as an aviator and also has significant experience in acquisition. He was the lead systems engineer and deputy program manager of the F/A-18 program at the Naval Systems Command. He later became program manager and program executive officer for tactical aircraft programs.

An EDS official said the modifications are based on commercial best practices and are designed to improve the network's overall service and efficiency. The official added that the new agreements 'are a critical step in enabling EDS to begin billing up to 100 percent on individual seats.'

'A couple of things aren't drilling down,' Godwin said. 'This is not an indictment against EDS. It's just as much our fault.'

Godwin asked NMCI users for patience.

'You're saying, 'I heard this before,' ' Godwin said, noting his success on the F-18 and other programs. 'If you give me a chance, we're going to do the same thing here.'

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