Services move in tandem on IT plans

The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet rollout 'will be almost complete by the end of 2005; the Marine Corps also will be about complete.'

'Rear Adm. James Basil Godwin

The military services are taking different approaches toward enterprise IT buying, but they have the same goals: to support network-centric warfare and improve interoperability across the Defense Department.

The Navy has the oldest current enterprise buying program, its Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, an $8 billion deal for a servicewide network and PC operations. The Air Force and Army are handling their enterprise IT acquisitions through multiple large requirements contracts with multiple vendors.

'The big thing [these vehicles] have in common is that they're bigger contracts, consolidated contracts,' said Kevin Carroll, the Army's program officer for enterprise programs. 'You get a better price and it's easier to order. Maybe the solutions will be a little more generic, the same hardware and software, and meet standards better than going out on your own.'

As the services move forward on these projects this year, they will expand their use'in some cases far more than expected'to improve operations.

Through NMCI, the Navy is working to create a single, unified computing environment for its shore-based personnel. Awarded to EDS Corp. in October 2000, the contract defines three basic configurations for desktop computers, including applications.

In 2005, the Navy and Marine Corps will continue the deployment of systems under NMCI, said Rear Adm. James Basil Godwin III, NMCI program director.

'What you see right now is 230,000-plus [users] cut over to NMCI,' he said. 'The Navy will be almost complete by the end of 2005; the Marine Corps also will be about complete.'

There are additional items on the agenda, Godwin said. First, NMCI has been authorized to increase the number of total systems to more than 450,000. 'That gave us the opportunity to add some new customers that are Navy entities,' he said.

The contract also is expanding into a new phase: technology refreshment. Customers who have been on the network for three years are ready for new hardware and software, Godwin said.

At the same time, the Navy will be looking at new requirements, such as wireless services.

The Army awarded multiple contracts for its Information Technology Enterprise Solutions in October 2003 via two vehicles, the Enterprise Hardware Solutions and Enterprise Mission Support Services Solutions, and chose another vendor to consolidate and administer its Microsoft Corp. applications servicewide.

'The big thing for us was that we had a little bit different mission,' Carroll said. The Army set up ITES to support overseas installations as well as stateside bases, he said. Plus, it wanted long-term contracts.

The Air Force set an enterprise IT deal with its award of the $9 billion Network Centric Solutions, or Netcents, contracts. Eight companies won contracts under the five-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deals inked in September.

Netcents covers desktop systems, networking, security and telephony.

The service also signed an enterprise license agreement with Microsoft for software and a wide range of support services, including vulnerability tracking and remediation.

The Air Force Commodity Council's Quarterly Enterprise Buy program is handling simple PC buys. The program bundles orders from throughout the service for servers and desktop and notebook PCs into single, large-quantity purchases once a quarter.

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