INTERVIEW: Rick Rosenburg, EDS' NMCI point man

His team pushes hard on NMCI rollout

Rick Rosenburg

As Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s program executive for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, Rick Rosenburg must roll out wide-ranging enterprise services successfully to a limited Navy test group. Only then can EDS begin to reap potential billions of dollars in NMCI business.

Rosenburg joined EDS in 1985 and most recently was vice president for service excellence. He has worked on numerous Army software development
projects as well as on systems integration, artificial intelligence, and computer-aided design and manufacturing for General Motors Corp.

Rosenburg became senior vice president and chief operating officer of EDS' $1 billion federal business in January. A board member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Washington chapter, he has a bachelor's degree in computer science from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

GCN chief technology editor Susan M. Menke interviewed Rosenburg at his Herndon, Va., office.

GCN:'What's happening so far with the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project?

ROSENBURG: After the Oct. 6 award, we received our initial order for 44,000 seats across several major commands. We've spent a lot of time working with Capt. Bill Bry and Scott Randall in the program management office in San Diego to address issues that came up after the award.

The issues include legacy systems, what is included in the seat price and what is not, how to handle the test and evaluation of weapons systems on a services contract, and working out processes so we can move forward as efficiently and quickly as possible.

We want to be successful both from the Navy standpoint and from the standpoint of the company's Information Strike Force [which includes EDS and subcontractors Raytheon Co., WAMNet Inc. of Eagan, Minn., and WorldCom Inc.].

GCN:'Please describe the NMCI seats.

ROSENBURG: The NMCI contract is not a seat management contract. Seat management focuses specifically on software and hardware on single desktop PCs. NMCI is an enterprisewide, managed service for voice, video and data information exchange.

The access devices are seats: desktop, laptop, portable and embarkable stations, and so on. Inside our seat price are all of the infrastructure and services necessary to provide voice, video and data exchange.

Local- and wide-area connectivity, help desk support, network operations center support, and the processes and technology necessary to measure the service levels are all included in that seat price. Technology refreshment is included in the seat price. Management to the service-level agreements is included.

The seats are contract line item numbers. There's a desktop CLIN, a portable CLIN and an embarkable CLIN, plus classified upgrades and mission-critical workstations. The basic desktop system is an 800-MHz or faster Pentium III from Dell Computer Corp. with monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, floppy drive, CD-ROM drive and so on. It's laid out on our Web site at

There is specific software for each seat. Any potential user can see which version of which software package they will be getting on the seat.

GCN:'What is an embarkable seat?

ROSENBURG: It's a configured seat'a notebook PC or workstation'that Marines and sailors will take as they deploy on ships. When they redeploy back to the United States, the embarkables will be turned back in. They are configured for NMCI rather than for the Information Technology for the 21st Century configuration on ships.

GCN:'How often will seats be refreshed?

ROSENBURG: The service level for software refreshment is around once a year or one revision from the current state. If Microsoft Word goes from Version 9 to 10, for example, we'll keep up.

Hardware will be refreshed every three years. It's in the seat price.

GCN:'How do you transfer users' files?

ROSENBURG: There will be a whole transition process. It starts with a site survey to show what we need to do to bring the local infrastructure up to the NMCI infrastructure. Then there is a survey of how many seats are present, which ones will meet NMCI requirements, and which contractors are there supporting services and need to be moved from a contract with the government to a subcontract with EDS.

Then we get to a point of assumption of responsibility. The difference then is that the government's overall cost goes down drastically because they formerly had contractors supporting servers, desktops, help desks and so on. Now all those contractors will bill EDS, which only bills the government for the number of seats being supported.

If 5,000 seats are supported, there is infrastructure for those seats. Initially, after our assumption of responsibility, the government will pay only 85 percent of the seat price. All of the infrastructure cost is included.

Then we migrate the as-is environment to the NMCI environment over 90 days and demonstrate that we can hit service levels. After that, we're able to charge 100 percent of the seat price. The government will then have full NMCI services'the gold disk. Everybody will have machines that meet NMCI requirements.

GCN:'How much of the connectivity will use the Defense Information Systems Network?

ROSENBURG: It will use DISN where it is available and can meet the specific service level. If DISN cannot meet the metrics, we will augment DISN. The networks will be interoperable, and the end user will be able to communicate enterprisewide, end-to-end, with voice, video and data.

GCN:'Is this traffic all asynchronous transfer mode?

ROSENBURG: The National Science Foundation's very-high-performance Backbone Network Services Plus is the network we have for augmenting DISN. It's dual-topology, ATM and IP, with very large bandwidth in the backbone. The ATM network is OC-12 [622 Mbps], and the IP multiprotocol label switching portion is OC-48 [2.4 Gbps], with plans to go to OC-192 [10 Gbps] in the next 12 to 18 months. They're already working in the labs on OC-768 [40 Gbps].

The Navy will be one of the first services to have bandwidth out in front of its requirements.

GCN:'You mentioned weapons. How do they figure in NMCI?

ROSENBURG: There is weapons systems testing and evaluation that's being done on the services contract'to ensure that NMCI is up and running as advertised.

Until we pass the testing, Congress has said that the Navy can order only 15 percent of the data seats. Once T&E has been passed, which is expected to happen in the first six months of 2001, the Navy can continue ordering data seats.

GCN:'What about the other seats for voice and video?

ROSENBURG: There are several options to do video''meet me' video with small desktop cameras, videoconferencing rooms, and portable videoconferencing stations with cameras and big monitors.

Voice will work over normal telephones. One of the seats is a phone seat. We also have a mobile or cell phone seat and a pager seat. Everything accesses the network through a seat. There are additional CLINs for buying accessibility or connectivity to NMCI.

GCN:'You mentioned DISN. What about the Defense Message System?

ROSENBURG: We also have a DMS support CLIN. We're working with the Defense Information Systems Agency to determine whether DISN can meet the service levels that the Navy has put forward for NMCI.

GCN:'Can you talk about the shakedown of NMCI that's coming soon at the Naval Air Systems Command?

What's more

  • Age:38

  • Family:Wife, Gemma; and two children, Damon, 7, and Kaleigh, 5

  • Pet: Doberman pinscher

  • Car currently driven: 1997 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi

  • Last movie seen: 'The Patriot'

  • Leisure activities: Golf, road bicycling, running and weight lifting

ROSENBURG: We've already started with NAVAIR. The Patuxent River headquarters area is one of the T&E sites. I think we have 15,000 seats ordered for NAVAIR that will transition in the next couple of months from the as-is environment to the NMCI environment. Our priority focus is on the T&E sites so that we can move past the 15 percent limit and start full production across the Navy.

GCN:'Where will NMCI go next?

ROSENBURG: To the rest of the commands: the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, Naval Reserve forces and so on. The Marine Corps will come on board in the second quarter of fiscal 2002, and they will centrally procure all of their seats. Their initial order will be for around 68,000 seats. They will migrate by the first quarter of fiscal 2003.

GCN:'What will NMCI cost?

ROSENBURG: The minimum contract value for the first five years is $4.1 billion, and the minimum for the three follow-on years is $2.8 billion.

GCN:'What about your compatibility with other Defense Department systems? We've reported that Navy deputy chief information officer Ron Turner has said NMCI must get along with 29 joint applications.

ROSENBURG: Our technical teams will make them interoperable across NMCI. The thing about the IP infrastructure is that it improves opportunity for interoperability.

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