Marines became reluctant partner

When the Navy embarked on the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project, some observers say, the Marine Corps balked. But as the brother agency to the Navy, and with senior Navy Department leadership committed to building the intranet, the Corps had little choice.

In theory, the Corps didn't need to be a part of NMCI. Since 1997, it has had similar capabilities through the Marine Corps Enterprise Network. MCEN integrates applications such as the Marine Air Command and Control System and the Marine Corps Tactical Network, and is managed in Quantico, Va.

'The Marine Corps was a huge problem. From Day One, the Marine Corps was trying to find ways to get out of it,' said a former EDS official.

Added a former official in the Navy's Program Executive Office for IT: 'The Marine Corps would have been all right without NMCI. I wouldn't say there's resentment; the Marine Corps did a pretty detailed business case analysis before the commandant agreed to go to NMCI. At that point in time, NMCI looked like it was the right thing to do.'

Last year at the NMCI Industry Symposium in New Orleans, Marine Gen. Edward Hanlon Jr., then commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, sounded off about the problems the Corps was having transitioning to NMCI.

'It has been rocky and problematic,' Hanlon said to applause from the audience. He went on to explain that he supported the concept of NMCI, but that the Navy and EDS needed to work better on rollout and transition efforts.

Hanlon made a valid comment, the EDS source said, because the Corps' IT infrastructure was much more centralized than the Navy's. Still, it was meant to be an enterprisewide portal, and the Corps is part of the enterprise.

'What the Marines didn't have was bandwidth. It was a very secure network, but they had the equivalent of tomato cans with a string in terms of bandwidth,' said the former EDS official. 'They knew all the Navy's issues. They didn't want to reside in the same environment. They didn't trust the Navy. The Marine Corps followed security processes; the Navy did not.'

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