Navy, Defense brass at loggerheads over NMCI testing

Navy, Defense brass at loggerheads over NMCI testing

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff


JULY 17—The Navy and the Defense Department are squabbling over how to properly test and evaluate the mammoth Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.

Officials with the Navy and Electronic Data Systems Corp., contractor for the $6.9 billion outsourcing program, want to engage in information technology testing to measure NMCI performance. EDS officials said the systems tests, using commercial best practices, would be quick and would ensure that NMCI applications are secure and properly integrated. The Navy and EDS expect that the tests would be done during October and November.

'We're just integrating all of the parts,' said Rick Rosenburg, NMCI program executive for EDS. 'There is nothing new.'

But the Office of the Secretary of Defense wants NMCI to undergo weapons systems testing'a much more rigorous examination of the routers, switches and PC components. DOD's Office of Operational Test and Evaluation would conduct the tests.

EDS and Navy officials balked, however, because they say such tests would delay NMCI implementation by a year.

News of a potential delay raised the ire of Linton Wells II, acting Defense chief information officer, who hastily scheduled a meeting for late this week to iron out the problems.

'The decision points that we established last fall as a result of congressional and Office of Management and Budget guidance are critical in determining if moving forward with your proposed schedule is the best path,' Wells noted in a memo to top Navy officials. He declined to offer any additional comment.

Rosenburg said Defense and Navy brass will reach a compromise on the best testing approach. 'The program is not in trouble' and is ready to roll out the first 500 users by the end of the month at the Naval Air Facility in Washington, he said.

'We're at 29 sites and have assumed 42,000 seats with no disruption in service,' Rosenburg said.

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