BLII starts installation work overseas

So much attention is paid to the $8.82 billion Navy'Marine Corps Intranet's missed deadlines, escalating costs and problem-plagued rollouts at some Navy installations, that the much smaller Base Level Information Infrastructure contract has moved through development almost unnoticed.

'This program has managed to slide under the radar,' said one Navy official who declined to give his name.

Under the $122 million BLII Outside the Continental United States delivery order, awarded to General Dynamics Corp. in May 2001, the contractor is upgrading the Navy's networks at 16 strategic overseas locations, including Bahrain, Diego Garcia, Greece, Guam, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom. BLII will serve 30,000 users.

Rain date

The contract is scheduled for completion by July 2004. It was extended by a year in large part because of inclement weather, including a typhoon in Guam, and negotiations for approvals from host nations, officials said.

Timothy Smith, program executive officer for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence and space at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, said General Dynamics has completed most of the design work and has begun installing the infrastructure at several sites.

Smith said BLII integrates with the Navy's other major IT initiatives, NMCI and Information Technology for the 21st Century, via common standards and protocols. In many cases the applications BLII uses are the same as NMCI's, including e-mail and chat functions. But some apps differ depending on their use, Smith said.

The BLII program will provide a site-specific server infrastructure to enable users to move information from the base over a WAN. The WAN could be provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency on the Secret IP Router Network or the Nonclassified IP Router Network.

BLII's unheralded success follows Defense Department CIO John Stenbit's recent decision to have lead contractor EDS Corp. begin moving an additional 150,000 computer seats to NMCI. That brings the total of authorized seats to 310,000.

Several users who have been moved to NMCI have said they are dissatisfied.

'I think there are more than a few of us that realize this entire project is a complete waste of money and not very well thought-out,' said a frustrated Navy employee at the Naval Air Systems Command in Washington.

But Rear Adm. Charles Munns, NMCI director, said the program has already reaped some rewards, such as increasing the Navy's security,. Munns noted that several other government systems have been affected by intrusions.


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