NMCI test wrangle is settled

NMCI test wrangle is settled

The Navy and the Defense Department agreed yesterday to a testing strategy for the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, after more than a month of back and forth over how to evaluate performance of the mammoth outsourcing contract.

In a one-paragraph memorandum not yet made public, DOD chief information officer John Stenbit and Michael Wynne, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition technology and logistics, settled the testing issue.

'The memorandum authorizes the Navy to proceed with a revised, phased implementation of the NMCI project, subject to the test and evaluation events' and senior-level reviews, said a statement from Lt. Col. Kenneth McClellan about the memo. McClellan said the office of the secretary of Defense 'is in discussions with the Congress to gain their support for the new strategy and determine what changes, if any, are required.'

Since the end of July, the level of testing required to approve elements of the network has been a sticking point. Linton Wells II, former acting DOD chief information officer, wanted NMCI to undergo standard weapons systems testing. But Navy officials wanted their own evaluators to conduct testing for the $6.9 billion intranet along with personnel from lead contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. The Navy suggested that DOD testers monitor the evaluations.

The testing issue is crucial because, last fall, Congress imposed a strategic pause to limit the amount of work EDS could do before the network passed weapons systems testing.

Navy officials declined to say anything beyond what was in McClellan's statement.

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