NMCI will undergo independent tests

NMCI will undergo independent tests

The Navy can proceed on its massive Navy-Marine Corps Intranet outsourcing project without immediate, rigorous weapons system testing, according to a memorandum signed by Defense Department officials earlier this week.

The Sept. 5 memo spells out an agreement between Defense and the Navy over testing of the $6.9 billion project designed to bring 360,000 users on 200 networks into a single intranet. There has been an impasse in recent weeks as both sides wrangled over how and what to test.

Defense officials called for full weapons system testing. Navy officials, arguing that such a requirement would delay implementation, suggested less rigorous testing that could be observed and approved by DOD testers.

A strategic pause in NMCI's congressional funding called for DOD to limit the rollout to 42,000 seats until the network components are certified. The testing agreement lets the work continue.

Signed by Defense chief information officer John P. Stenbit and Michael W. Wynne, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition technology and logistics, the memo raises the rollout limit to 60,000 seats and sets a testing schedule to be overseen by Stenbit's office. At a press briefing late last month, NMCI officials said prime contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. had assumed responsibility for about 40,000 seats so far.

The agreement calls for DOD to set up a team of reviewers to ensure adequate testing of interoperability, security and reliability.

When 20,000 seats have been fully integrated into NMCI, Defense will conduct a senior-level review. If the network passes, the Navy can add 150,000 more seats.

A Defense spokesman said the department 'is in discussions with the Congress to gain their support for the new strategy and determine what changes, if any, are required.'


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