NMCI could hit snag without DISA agreement

NMCI could hit snag without DISA agreement

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Navy and Defense Information Systems Agency officials will meet this week to negotiate an agreement for use of the Defense Information Systems Network for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.

The long-haul service agreement is a key component of the NMCI project, Navy officials said.

The NMCI bidders'Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and IBM Corp.'need information about the agreement to make their best-and-final offers, said Paul Brubaker, the Defense Department's acting deputy chief information officer.

Further scrutiny

Arthur L. Money, assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, must approve the winning vendor's proposed use of DISN and any commercial networks.

To interoperate with DISN, the Navy will supply the winning NMCI vendor any necessary equipment, said Steve Ehrler, the Navy's deputy program executive officer for information technology. For the agreement, the Navy and DISA must set guaranteed performance levels for the government-provided equipment, he said.

Ehrler's office will manage the NMCI contract.

The submission of a completed business case study for NMCI is also critical, Brubaker said.

Rep. Herbert H. Bateman (R.-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Readiness, asked Navy Secretary Richard Danzig to halt NMCI until Defense officials had submitted an analysis of the project to Congress along with budget line item requests for fiscal 2001 and beyond [GCN, March 6, Page 3].

Booz, Allen & Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va., and subcontractor GartnerGroup Inc. of Stamford, Conn., are conducting the business case study.

Booz, Allen & Hamilton has completed most of the study, except for determining likely NMCI costs, Navy spokeswoman Jennifer McGraw said. To determine those figures, the analysts need the BAFOs, she said.

By late March, Navy Department officials had sent the completed sections of the analysis to Congress, McGraw said.

The Navy will continue to pay for DISN services, Ehrler said. Vendors are required to propose DISN-only service in their bids, but they also are allowed to propose other commercial network services, he said.

Ehrler would not say whether any bidders have proposed a commercial network to augment DISN.

'We are in the midst of source selection,' he said. '[Neither] I [nor anyone] else is at liberty to talk about what's been bid.'

The project remains on track. NMCI is still scheduled for award next month, despite the last-minute requirements placed on the service by Congress.

NMCI bidders have been making site visits to major Marine Corps and Navy installations to find out more about the current voice, video and data infrastructure, said Lt. Dora Staggs, another Navy spokeswoman.

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