Navy pushes back arrival time for personnel system

The Navy missed the boat trying to complete the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel
System in 18 months, according to NSIPS deputy program manager Dennis Pigg.


“Eighteen months was not a realistic date,” Pigg said. Navy program managers
now expect to have the $470 million personnel information system ready by next April.


NSIPS has proved technically challenging not only because of its globally distributed
architecture but also because its shipboard portions are disconnected at times.


“Once the data gets into the system, our job is to make sure it gets where it
needs to go,” said Jim Craig, director of government software for Template Software
Inc. of Dulles, Va.


Template Software recently won contracts worth $10.8 million for store-and-forward
message queuing software to move data between the distributed application, its database
components and its interfacing systems.


The company’s Foundation Template and Workflow Template can build a logical
communications infrastructure for NSIPS in less time than it would take to do it from
scratch, Craig said.


“We have something on the order of 2 million lines of reusable code for enterprise
integration,” he said. The reusable code is written in Template Software’s
object-oriented programming language, Snap, which can be converted to C code if a standard
language is required. The Foundation Template does the low-level integration between NSIPS
components, and Snap completes the customer-specific extensions, Craig said.


With the planned cutover next year, NSIPS will be the system of record for all
personnel and pay information for 800,000 active-duty and reserve officers and enlisted
personnel at 800 Navy sites on land and at sea.


It will replace four separate PC and mainframe personnel information systems written in
Ada and Cobol, Pigg said. The four systems had year 2000 date code problems, which the
Navy has had to fix because of delays with NSIPS.


Managers in 1997 had difficulty sizing the hardware components and estimating the new
software development effort, which caused some program delays, Pigg said.


The main software components of the new personnel and pay information system are
PeopleSoft HRMS 7.0 from PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., and the Oracle8 relational
database management system from Oracle Corp.


Template Software’s Foundation Template and Workflow Template will handle the
replication and data flow within NSIPS and at the interfaces with 13 external systems,
including Defense Finance and Accounting Service payroll systems in Cleveland.


The Navy and prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. have selected the hardware for
NSIPS’ three-tier Windows NT Server 4.0 architecture. “The servers and
workstations we’re putting in are all IT-21 compliant,” Pigg said, referring to
Navy’s Information Technology for the 21st Century initiative.


The top-tier consolidation server is a mirrored Hewlett-Packard NetServer LXr Pro8 with
eight 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors, 512M of RAM, 8G of internal disk storage and 519G of
swappable RAID storage.


The three regional NT servers are four-way HP NetServer LXr Pros with 512M of RAM, 183G
of online disk storage and mirrored drives for the NT operating system. Servers in area
personnel offices are two-way HP NetServer LX Pros with 256M of RAM, 48G of online disk
storage and mirrored operating system drives.


The Defense Department’s Non-Classified IP Router Network will carry most of the
two-way data traffic among the local, regional and headquarters servers, Pigg said.
Shipboard personnel offices will use high-frequency transmitter links to satellites to
transfer their data.


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