Intercepts

NMCI Czar Tapped

NMCI Czar Tapped

Sixteen months after the Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract was awarded, the Navy has picked a point man for its eight-year, $6.9 billion effort to outsource its shore-based infor.mation technology infrastructure.

As stipulated by the fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill, Navy Secretary Gordon England this month created the Navy Marine Corps Intranet Program Office, which will be led by Rear Adm. Charles Munns. Munns, who will be based in Washington, D.C., will be responsible for managing and directing all aspects of NMCI. Marine Corps Col. Robert Logan will be Munn's deputy.

An NMCI senior executive council, headed by John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, will be responsible for senior- level review of the program office. The council is expected to include representatives from the Navy's operations, finance, training and testing organizations, as well as from industry, Navy officials said.

The creation of the NMCI Program Office will enable the Navy to speak with one voice, something that runs against the service's culture but which many involved consider necessary.

Previously, seven naval offices oversaw parts of NMCI. That has made it hard to present one voice to lawmakers, who have been increasingly concerned about NMCI's progress. Perhaps more critical, officials from NMCI vendors argue that it has slowed the system's deployment.

England has made it clear that he wants the NMCI czar to take the reins of the program along the lines of a corporate model. "I do not believe you can take a program like [NMCI] and meet all your objectives without one single person being...responsible for decisions day after day on the program," England said during a speech during a meeting of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Washington, D.C., chapter in January.

The fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill mandated that England appoint a program manager whose "sole responsibility is to direct and oversee the program."

Crossed off the List?

Perhaps this sounds familiar — an enormous company filing for bankruptcy protection amid allegations of cooked books, senior executives accused of selling stock to avoid losses, close ties between company executives and political leaders, and even a federal investigation.

If Enron jumped to mind, you're not alone. However, you might be surprised to learn we're referring to fiber- optic giant Global Crossing Ltd., a company with ties to the Defense Department — specifically the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Last year, Global Crossing won DISA's $400 million contract for the Defense Research and Engineering Network, which was to provide wide-area network services for DOD scientists and researchers nationwide. But under the weight of four protests, DISA halted the award.

Meanwhile, DISA planned to re-award the DREN contract late last month, but DISA officials delayed the award decision in the wake of Global Crossing's Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. Global Crossing was one of the DREN bidders.

The situation is now more complex because the com.pany is expected to be sold to a Chinese multinational firm, Hutchison-Whampoa Ltd. Company executives have strong ties to the Chinese government — which makes DOD officials uncomfortable.

DOD's Olympic Role

Want evidence that DOD is playing a role in homeland security? Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told lawmakers this month that the United States' largest theater of operation right now is not Afghanistan — it's Salt Lake City.

"We literally have more people in the area around Salt Lake City for the Olympics than we do in Afghanistan," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

NEXT STORY: Security board makes progress

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