A PC for every sailor

SAN DIEGO — The Navy should follow the lead of Ford Motor Co. and Delta Airlines by providing all its uniformed personnel with a PC and low-cost Internet access, according to a top civilian Navy official.

Information technology and a basic understanding of computers have become essential to the Navy, said Jerry Hultin, undersecretary of the Navy. "If I had my way, I would give every sailor a PC from the day they arrive [in boot camp]."

Admiral Jay Johnson, chief of naval operations, agreed with Hultin's suggestion. Johnson said he did not know how such a program would be funded, but added that once awarded, N/MCI could serve as "fertile ground'' for such a project.

The Navy already issues PCs to first-year midshipmen at the Naval Academy but deducts the cost of the computer in increments from their paychecks.

Hultin, speaking at West 2000, a conference sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the U.S. Naval Institute, did not say whether he planned to turn his vision into policy.

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