Navy tests portal on aircraft carrier
Navy tests portal on aircraft carrier<@VM>Major programs
- By Dawn S. Onley
- Mar 17, 2002
On the USS George Washington, sailors are testing the first 50 applications handpicked for use on a Web portal that will connect ships at sea to the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.
The aircraft carrier was chosen by the Navy's Task Force Web to serve as a testing ground where sailors using the Web portal can run applications from their PCs that link to ashore systems. The shipboard apps let sailors access information about their pay and benefits as well as business data such as logistics.
The Navy has thousands of legacy applications but only about 50 have been picked for use on the portal.
Monica Shephard, commander of Task Force Web and the Navy's director of space, information warfare, command and control for the Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va., is choosing which apps make the cut. Among other things, she examines which apps meet the portal's architecture standards.
'We are working with systems commands to filter through their apps to determine which will be Web-enabled and which will go away,' Shephard said. 'We are coordinating our work with NMCI.'
It has proven to be a formidable challenge. Navy brass have given the task force until 2004 to review requirements and move the service's key applications to the NMCI Web portal. After it accomplishes this mission, the task force will disband, and NMCI contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. will handle the maintenance of the portal.
'We have a very short timeline and a high-intensity and high-focus level,' Shephard said.
The task force is focusing on customizing the portal and making it easy to navigate, she said.
'If you've ever used a site like MyYahoo, it works like that,' Shephard said. 'Each person will have the ability to customize the screen they see in the morning. We're trying to create a workspace for them to see all the services available to the Navy.'PKI coming
Roughly two dozen Navy command posts will be assigned to design their own interfaces to legacy applications. The components and connectors will be developed in Java 2 Enterprise Edition and Extensible Markup Language, Shephard said. In addition, developers will add a public-key infrastructure.
[IMGCAP(2)]EDS, the lead contractor on the $6.9 billion NMCI program, received a $9 million contract from the Navy in September to help design and run the Web portal.
'This is truly a visionary program,' said Rick Rosenburg, EDS' NMCI program executive. 'To my knowledge, there is nothing like it in government and definitely not in the other branches of the armed forces.'
NMCI is an enterprisewide system for voice, video and data communications that will consolidate 200 networks into a secure Navy intranet linking more than 360,000 desktop PCs.
Shephard said each organization'generally a systems command'that owns an application will pay for its conversion to the Web portal.
'Most of the app owners have already been working on Web-enabling or portal-enabling for several years,' she said. 'We've coordinated those efforts in order to facilitate efforts already under way. We're trying to put in some focus and some discipline and a set of standards.'
In the process, hundreds of apps will be discarded, a move the Navy expects to save money and to free up space.
'There are lots of redundancies,' Shephard said.
In a memo released last August, Adm. William J. Fallon, vice chief of naval operations, tapped Shephard to manage the Web initiative.
Fallon said the Web strategy will 'take full advantage of the Navy's IT-21 and Navy-Marine Corps Infrastructure investments.'
Results of the task force's efforts appear on its Web site, at www.tfw.navy.mil
.Common Access Card. The Navy will use smart cards to control access to networks and systems. The cards, which the Defense Department has mandated for use by all military branches, will have photographs and embedded 32K processors with digital certificates to verify the holders' identities. By the end of this year, all DOD active-duty, reserve, civilian and on-site contracting personnel will have cards.
Critical Infrastructure Protection Program. This Navy team is responsible for identifying the electronic and physical infrastructure that is crucial to Navy warfighters. Officials working on the program are developing strategies to deal with acts of terrorism, natural disasters and major systems errors.
Knowledge Home Port. This intranet portal, run by the Navy's Pacific Fleet in Honolulu, links hundreds of databases and connects 240,000 civilian and military personnel. The fleet uses the portal for logistics and workload management, budgeting, program management and other services. Navy officials estimate the portal saves more than 18,000 staff hours per month.