NMCI not meeting Navy goals, GAO finds

After spending six years and $3.7 billion to date on the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet program, the Navy has not yet achieved the two strategic goals set for the project: It does not provide the Navy with information superiority, and it does not cultivate innovation.

That's the blunt conclusion of a new report from the Government Accountability Office released Dec. 8.

The contract was awarded to Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, in October 2000. The Navy developed a plan that year to measure performance and gauge how well the program was meeting its goals, but the plan was not implemented, GAO found.

To undertake its analysis, the watchdog agency mapped EDS' performance targets and data to nine performance categories and strategic goals set for the program, 'which prompted the Navy to do the same,' GAO reported. 'The Navy's mapping shows that NMCI has met only three of the performance targets (15 percent).'

One area that came under criticism was customer satisfaction among NMCI's three audiences ' end users, commanders and network operators.

'End user satisfaction surveys indicated that the percent of end users that met the Navy's definition of a satisfied user has remained consistently below the target of 85 percent,' GAO reported. The most recent survey categorized just 74 percent as satisfied. 'Given that the Navy's definition of the term 'satisfied' includes many marginally satisfied and arguably somewhat dissatisfied users, this percentage represents the best-case depiction of end user satisfaction.'

As for commanders and network operators, neither group was satisfied with the program's delivery of IT capabilities, GAO stated.

GAO recommended that Navy secretary Donald Winter direct his department to adopt robust performance management practices for NMCI that:
  • Evaluate and appropriately adjust the original plan for measuring achievement of strategic program goals and provide for its implementation in a way that makes it a priority for the program;
  • Expand the program's range of activities to measure and understand service level agreement performance, in order to increase visibility into performance relative to each SLA;
  • Share NMCI performance results with the Defense Department, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress as part of the program's annual budget submissions;
  • Re-examine the focus, scope and transparency of its customer satisfaction activities to ensure that areas of dissatisfaction described in the GAO report are regularly disclosed to DOD, OMB and congressional decision-makers; and
  • In collaboration with the various Navy entities involved in overseeing, managing and employing NMCI, take appropriate steps to ensure the findings in the GAO report and the outcomes from implementing these recommendations are used in considering and implementing warranted changes to the program's scope and approach.

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