NMCI to open software test center

The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet program office will in June open a center to test software applications for compatibility with the NMCI portal's Microsoft Windows 2000 environment.

The NMCI Product Evaluation Center will begin operating during the 2004 NMCI Industry Symposium in New Orleans from June 20-23. The center will allow IT companies to test their software products on the NMCI portal, according to Capt. Chris Christopher, deputy director for future operations, communications and business initiatives for the NMCI office.

After testing, the NMCI office would set up an acquisition process if the Navy is interested in any products.

'Compatibility is a very limited set of things,' Christopher said yesterday during a media briefing. 'Do you use protocols that we prohibit? If we were to get this and put it on NMCI, will it work?'

EDS Corp. is the prime contractor for the NMCI portal. But Christopher said the Navy is constantly in need of new applications and wants to hear directly from vendors. Christopher likened it to a cable company that sells a package of services to a customer.

He added that companies are more apt to communicate directly with the Navy, as opposed to EDS, because of competing interests.

'We're buying seat services from EDS. The contract didn't intend for EDS to be the sole source for IT in the Navy. That misunderstanding was brought out there,' Christopher said. 'So, we want to start this dialogue and say, hey, this is what the new NMCI environment will be.'

Currently, he said, the process for obtaining apps is 'chaotic and inefficient.'

Christopher said the Navy would describe the concept of the center in more detail during the symposium.

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