After NMCI, lawmakers bar use of buying vehicle at DOD

The Navy's novel contracting approach on the multibillion dollar Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project sparked Congress to make it difficult for other Defense Department agencies to use the technique.

| GCN STAFFThe Navy's novel contracting approach on the multibillion dollar Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project sparked Congress to make it difficult for other Defense Department agencies to use the technique.After the Navy attempted an end run around Congress by choosing a multiyear services contract to buy the services needed for NMCI, lawmakers responsible for the department's fiscal 2001 appropriations bill changed the rules for using such contracting vehicles.NMCI, which could be worth up to $16 billion to Electronic Data Systems Corp. over eight years, is the Navy's plan to outsource its internal communications systems. EDS will wire the service with common platforms and manage the systems under what EDS has dubbed the government's largest outsourcing deal.align="right" width="110">Lawmakers got nervous when they realized the Navy was preparing to spend billions without legislative oversight of its plans, said Joseph R. Cipriano, the Navy's program executive officer for information technology and IT acquisition manager. The Navy never sought new funding for NMCI but reapportioned funds already allocated.But Congress delivered a nearly fatal roundhouse to the intranet plan last May by including language in the 2001 Defense authorization bill to withhold money for the program until at least two months after the Navy delivered studies and contractual assurances.Lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee used their power over future budgets to lure Navy brass to meetings to discuss NMCI, said Chip Mather of Acquisition Solutions Inc. of Chantilly, Va. Mather, who has studied the NMCI deal, said he used a similar approach to buy technology as an Air Force acquisition executive in 1982.On Capitol Hill, committee members chastised the service and demanded a laundry list of items detailing how the plan would succeed. They asked the Navy for a business case analysis and details on how NMCI would comply with the IT Management Reform Act. The clause in the DOD authorization bill ensured that the Navy would deliver the goods before spending any money on what lawmakers deemed a controversial plan.The NMCI procurement slowed to a crawl while the Navy did its homework [].Eventually, Congress waved NMCI through. But lawmakers included language in Section 8008 of the final Defense appropriations bill that made it easier for them to baby-sit future DOD multiyear contract gambits. Now, when any DOD agency wants to spend more than $20 million per year on a multiyear contact or embark on a new one worth more than $500 million, it must first seek approval from the House and Senate defense committees.It was Penny Rebinkoff, legal counsel in the Navy's IT Office and a member of the NMCI team, who first brought up the idea of using the multiservices contract, said Lt. Jane Alexander, a Navy spokeswoman. Rebinkoff declined to talk to GCN for this article.Previously, the Navy had only used that contracting vehicle for recurring charges such as utilities, Cipriano said.Before NMCI jelled, Cipriano said, it was a collection of disparate Navy systems needs, each requiring a piece of the service's limited IT budget.The Navy needed to improve its connectivity and upgrade its infrastructure, but officials feared that using a requirements contract or similar contracting vehicle would kick off a long budget battle with Congress that would eventually result in the service buying obsolete systems, Cipriano said.Most of the Navy's senior officers agreed that maintaining solid technology should become a recurring cost. 'But we knew that when money gets tight, modernization gets put aside,' and the funding is reprogrammed, Cipriano said.By May 1999, the service's wish list had grown long. During a meeting at the Center for Naval Analysis in Arlington, Va., representatives from commands across the Navy and Marine Corps pondered the service's IT vision.Some officials thought industry would capitalize the hard costs if the Navy promised to buy services long term, he said. The plan would get the Navy both the services and equipment it wanted without having to pony the money up front.Buying into the logic that IT resembled utility services as an ongoing expenditure, Cipriano opted to use Rebinkoff's suggestion to create a services contract for NMCI under 10USC.2306G of the federal code.Focus groups compiled lists of common services the Navy wanted, emphasizing requirements that would likely satisfy most users by incorporating many platforms already in use throughout the service.Other Navy teams studied the requirements should a military action require a fast increase in services. Users wrote essays describing their jobs, and engineers studied the user reports to create technical specifications.Cipriano also went on the road, visiting organizations where vendors were already providing IT to 100,000 or more users.All of that information ended up in the request for quotes, he said.Called to the Hill, Navy officers began lobbying lawmakers for approval, reminding House Armed Services members how fast technology becomes outdated while the government moseys through the procurement process. For instance, one Navy captain briefed lawmakers 47 times.During the nine months that officials struggled to gain congressional approval for the program, vendors three times upgraded the technology the Navy had chosen for NMCI, Cipriano said.Ultimately, by adding what he called a strategic pause to the procurement process, lawmakers became confident enough in NMCI to sign off on it, Cipriano said.After initial work on NMCI is completed, the contract calls for a three-month hiatus from further installations while everyone makes certain the systems are working as expected. The pause also gives the Navy time to test the system and make changes before continuing the rollout, Cipriano said.
BY TONY LEE ORR








size="2" color="#FF0000">'We knew that when money gets tight, modernization gets put aside,' and the funding is reprogrammed, the Navy's Joseph R. Cipriano says.











GCN, June 19, 2000, Page 6



Multiservices talk






















Technical requests










NEXT STORY: Slim and quick

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.