Navy prepares outsourcing pilots that bring IT architecture to Web

IRVINE, Calif.—The Navy is running three outsourcing pilots that focus on Web
services, a Navy technology manager said.

Outsourcing has been seen as a panacea for the problems of rapidly changing technology
and personnel turnover, said Patsy Gates, director of strategic planning for the
Navy’s chief information officer.

But the Navy hopes the pilots will provide a working model by which to measure such
contracts, she said.

"We are not going to do [outsourcing] based on what we feel is the right thing to
do. We want to base that decision on a business case," Gates said.

The pilots will take place in Oahu, Hawaii, San Diego and Tidewater, Va., she said.
Gates made the announcement at the Federation of Government Information Processing
Councils’ recent annual Management of Change conference.

Though Gates had few details about the pilots, she said one will test seat management,
in which the operation of desktop PCs is outsourced to vendors.

The Navy wants to see whether the information technology architecture can become a
utility in Web processes and Web-enabled databases, she said. Distributing IT architecture
widely is not easy in the Navy, which has IT systems at sea and in the air, Gates said.

Budget and personnel cuts are forcing the Navy to buy more efficiently, and the tests
could lead to cheaper procurement practices, she said.

"We’re not leveraging out IT buying power," she said. The Navy is also
increasingly weighing the cost of ownership against immediate cost.

The Navy also hopes to improve its security for systems. "Security, like training,
always seems to be at the bottom of the priority list," she said.

The Navy is monitoring its systems more closely and creating a public-key
infrastructure program to improve security, she said.

The Navy continues to re-engineer its business processes. "We’re finding
there is a tendency to tweak around the edges" so no one gets angry, Gates said.

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