Navy, Defense reach agreement on NMCI testing

The Defense Department has reached an agreement with the Navy on the testing required to free up funding for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, Navy officials announced today.

The Defense Department has reached an agreement with the Navy on the testing required to free up funding for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, Navy officials announced today.

Speaking at a briefing on the progress of the servicewide network, Navy officials said the paperwork involved in the agreement had not been finalized and declined to reveal further details.

The level of testing required to approve elements of the network has been a sticking point in the progress of the project. Linton Wells II, the former acting chief information officer for Defense, called for NMCI to undergo rigorous weapons systems testing. But Navy officials wanted the service's own evaluators to conduct testing along with personnel from contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. The Navy suggested that Defense testers monitor the evaluations.

At stake is continued funding for NMCI. In providing funding for the project, Congress placed a strategic pause to limit the amount of work EDS could perform before the network underwent weapons systems testing.

Although details of the testing accord were not disclosed, Navy officials said they had made significant progress in consolidating legacy applications in preparation for systems to be switched over to NMCI.

Capt. Chris Christopher, a Navy deputy program executive for information technology, said the process of taking an inventory of applications at each site that will become part of NMCI and throwing out redundant, outdated, inappropriate or unsuitable apps had resulted in the elimination of thousands of programs.

The Navy will test each remaining app to ensure that it meets the security standards of NMCI. By consolidating its apps, the Navy expects to reduce costs by negotiating enterprise license agreements for software and by standardizing systems training. The service also expects to improve the interoperability of its systems.

'When we finish this process, 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.'

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