Navy looking at IT picture outside of NMCI

NEW ORLEANS'The Navy Enterprise IT Industry Symposium kicked off today with the hope of putting Navy systems, applications and initiatives into a broader context. The symposium is sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association.

For the past several years, the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet program office has convened its IT Industry Symposium here, attracting large and small vendors seeking to secure a role in developing the $8.8 billion portal that is a key component of Navy transformation.

The NMCI conferences solely focused on the voice, video and data network that is being managed by EDS Corp. What was often missing was the other systems that were not part of NMCI and the larger Navy IT management perspective, officials said.

'This is the broader management of the other stuff. This kind of represents a shift,' said Steve Ehrler, the Navy's program executive officer for IT. 'It's beyond NMCI. NMCI is in execution. The purpose here is to give you our perspective."

In fiscal 2004, the Navy received $6.1 billion for IT and national-security system spending. Out of that money, $2.3 billion was allocated for national-security systems, $2.3 billion was set aside for non-NMCI functions while the remaining $1.5 billion went to NMCI.

The national-security systems make up many of the Navy's mission-critical tactical systems. The non-NMCI applications are mostly business systems that cover everything from manpower and personnel to enterprise resource planning programs. Ehrler said there are 9,000 of these non-NMCI applications currently fielded in the Navy.

There also is the issue of managing the data centers and consolidating Navy servers to help clean up the legacy applications.

"There's a lot of stuff in here NMCI is not going to solve," explained Ehrler. "That's the management challenge; everything's not all NMCI."

The NMCI program office held a conference earlier in the summer that was more execution-oriented, Ehrler said, explaining that PEO IT is interested in the management construct of the Navy's entire IT picture.

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