House rebukes Navy over intranet buy

House rebukes Navy over intranet buy

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

MAY 16—House lawmakers last week renewed their efforts to force the Navy to slow the $10 billion Navy-Marine Corps Intranet procurement, just as the service is moving into the final selection phase.

During a hearing on the fiscal 2001 Defense Department authorization bill, the House Armed Services Committee approved a provision in HR 4205 that would prevent the Navy from spending funds on NMCI next year until "a complete financial analysis and thorough discussion of policy issues" had been provided to Congress.

"Although the program is a multibillion dollar government contract unprecedented in scope and expense, this initiative was not included in either fiscal year 2000 or fiscal year 2001 budgets," the committee noted in a report accompanying the authorization bill. The committee also cited "serious concerns" raised by the General Accounting Office about the Navy's "acquisition strategy for the program, the absence of basic justification material and the lack of governmental oversight."

At stake is an eight-year project to outsource Navy voice, video and data services. In addition to the millions of dollars that vendors have spent trying to win the contract, the Marine Corps and Navy for the past several months have dedicated teams of personnel to work on the procurement.

This is not the first attempt by House lawmakers to rein in the Navy on NMCI. Rep. Herbert H. Bateman (R-Va.) in February sent a letter to Navy Secretary Richard Danzig demanding that the service provide a business case analysis and funding documentation for NMCI [see story, www.gcn.com/vol19_no5/news/1439-1.html]. The service hired Booz, Allen & Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va., to conduct an analysis and has been submitting reports to Bateman, chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Readiness.

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