Marines want NMCI, commandant says

Marines want NMCI, commandant says

The Marine Corps fully stands behind the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet and plans to make the transition to the new enterprise infrastructure in mid- and late 2002, Corps Commandant Gen. James L. Jones said this week.

In a letter to Rep. Bob Stump (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Jones said harm would be done if the Corps were released from the $6.9 billion outsourcing initiative as the committee recommended last month [see story at gcn.com/20_23/news/16807-1.html].

'Any exclusion of the Marine Corps from NMCI would exacerbate the degraded condition of our information technology infrastructure that has not been modernized for almost two years awaiting NMCI,' Jones wrote. 'We have recently updated our affordability analysis for NMCI, and under the present conditions of the contract, we are confident it is affordable for the Marine Corps.'

Last month, the committee recommended cutting the Corps from NMCI and authorized $527 million in fiscal 2002 funding'$120 million less than President Bush requested. In completing its portion of the Defense Department authorization bill, the committee slammed NMCI's 'lengthy program delays' and raised questions about the Navy's funding and budget strategies.

The authorization bill will go before both houses of Congress for a full vote in the fall.

The delays first came up in a DOD memo that said more rigorous weapons systems testing would have to be conducted to end a Congress-imposed 'strategic pause' that limited the amount of contractor work.

The Navy disagreed with the committee's findings. Service officials said they and prime contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. are testing NMCI and that more extensive Defense tests could wait until next year. Navy and DOD officials recently struck an accord on the testing issue and will make it public early next week.

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