A record records management system

That's how Charley Barth, director of Navy's Records Management Office, described the service's Herculean task to manage paper, e-mails, Adobe PDFs, videos and more files that constitute the records the Navy must track, retain or dispose of.

The Navy records management system, based on Total Records Information Management (TRIM) software from Tower Software, will enable the service to inventory and then locate digital and paper records through a nationwide network of servers that link to 42 datasets for the Navy and 11 for the Marine Corps.

Those datasets provide metadata pointers to actual records, such as e-mail messages, which can easily be retrieved.

At last week's Program Executive Office for Information Technology conference in New Orleans, Barth said the system won't be launched until around 2007 because of a slow rollout of the TRIM software on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI).

Although NMCI kicked off in 2000, TRIM software wasn't pushed to all the NMCI seats until last year, which Barth said he was not happy about.

Thanks to the wonders of the TRIM software, the NMCI program office could probably use the system to retrieve the audiotape of Barth's lament. It can probably snag his Microsoft PowerPoint files, too.

Navy cell phone metric madness

We hear about metrics at every conference we attend and could not resist a chance to use the term. We threw in "madness" at the end to get your attention.

The Navy has two enterprisewide cell phone contracts, one with Fleet Industrial Supply Center (FISC) in San Diego and the other with NMCI. The metrics on which contract to use are a no-brainer, based on a presentation we heard in New Orleans last week by Ron Swecker, the PEO-IT cell phone project director.

Anyone who orders a cell phone from the NMCI contract has to wait about 14 days for delivery and the start of service, Swecker said.

But he said that if a cell phone is ordered from the FISC contract, service will begin in 24 to 48 hours — and if necessary, a Navy user or command can go to the local outlet of one of the FISC carriers and get immediate gratification.

Once Sprint PCS gobbles up Nextel later this year, both contracts will offer service from the same three carriers: Cingular, Sprint and Verizon. Then the speed of service on the FISC contract makes it the obvious choice, unless we hear different from the NMCI shop and its contractor, EDS. And, we're sure we will.

Yikes! SecNavs digitized

The Pentagon Renovation Office reopened the Navy Department's Executive Corridor last week, which features digitized images of Navy secretaries past and present hanging on the walls, said John La Raia, assistant for administration in the office of the Navy undersecretary. The Navy took the old portraits, "re-shot them in digital images and re-framed them," La Raia said.

We hope La Raia does not try to digitally tinker with any photos of everyone's favorite Marine, Lewis "Chesty" Puller.

First, think of the lance corporals

That was the message from Col. Paul Hilton, Marine C4 director at last week's PEO-IT show in New Orleans who said Marine communications systems need to be mobile, lightweight and not a burden on lance corporal gear humpers. In our day, they could easily have qualified as beasts of burden with a helmet.

Hopefully, this means the average load for today's Marine communicator will drop below the more than 100 pounds of the Vietnam era. n

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