NMCI chief is for change

'The Navy is committed to making this change. The secretary of the Navy said, 'We must build NMCI and we must use NMCI.' This is an issue the Navy is going to do.'

'Rear Adm. Charles L. Munns

Rear Adm. Charles L. Munns wants every sailor to be as enthusiastic as he is about the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet. But even if they aren't, the NMCI program manager stresses that the $6.9 billion outsourcing program will proceed.

'The Navy is committed to making this change,' Munns said. 'The secretary of the Navy said, 'We must build NMCI and we must use NMCI.' This is an issue the Navy is going to do.'

Test results

Contractor testing and evaluation of NMCI was recently completed at the Naval Air Facility, Washington, and is still under way at the Naval Air Station, Lemoore, Calif., and the Naval Air Command at Patuxent River, Md. Despite some criticism of the process, Munns said the testing has been successful.

'Testing is going well in my view,' he said.

Soon the Defense Department will get to see just how well. Next month the Navy expects to finish contractor testing and present its results to DOD. The Institute for Defense Analyses, an independent group, will conduct its own testing to see if the portal is secure, reliable and compatible with other Defense systems.

If NMCI passes that test, the Navy will add 100,000 seats.

The first three sites, which in essence are serving as pilots, will give DOD an idea if NMCI is scalable to the entire enterprise, Munns said.

'This is a crucial stage,' he said. 'Right now our heads are down, our sleeves are up. We're trying to make this work.'

NMCI will consolidate 200 networks into an intranet linking more than 400,000 service members to the intranet portal at sea and ashore.

Munns likens implementing NMCI to readying Navy systems for the year 2000 rollover. DOD was unsure how it would update its systems and whether any information would be lost in the transition. With hard work, Munns said, the Navy had few problems.

The same is expected from NMCI, he said.

'It's going to take work,' Munns said, calling the Navy's current stovepiped systems and thousands of redundant applications 'the wild, wild West.'

'It's transformational in a big way. We're not just putting computers on people's tables. We're putting together a network that fundamentally changes the way the Navy does business,' he said.

In February, Munns was appointed NMCI's program manager. He had been commander of the Navy's Submarine Group Eight and Submarines, Allied Forces South, in Naples, Italy.
The impetus for his appointment came from congressional hearings in which lawmakers complained that every time they requested an update on NMCI, the Navy would send a different representative to brief them.

Members said the hefty price tag of the contract required that one person have the job of directing it.

100,000 legacy apps

Munns said one of his priorities will be to get a tighter grip on the Navy's legacy applications. He said he wants the Navy to identify a set number of applications it will keep for NMCI. So far, its systems use 100,000 applications. The service is working with Electronic Data Systems Corp., the project's lead contractor, to determine which apps to keep and which to discard.

Munns said the service is trying to establish a schedule for when Navy and Marine Corps commands will migrate to NMCI. The Navy also is looking for a place to house the fourth NMCI network operations center. There currently are NOCs in Norfolk, Va., and San Diego and a third being built at Ford Island in Oahu, Hawaii. At the NOCs, contractors manage networks and carry out help-desk support, user administration and information assurance functions.

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