N/MCI still facing opposition in Pentagon and on Hill

SAN DIEGO — The Navy, though running into opposition at the Pentagon to its bold $10 billion Naval Marine Corps Intranet project and facing resistance in Congress to the price tag, plans to deploy the intranet by October 2001.

Jerry Hultin, undersecretary of the Navy, said "a lot of people [in the Pentagon] don't like the way we're handling [N/MCI], and we're continuing to fight for it." But both top Navy civilian and uniformed leadership strongly back the project because it fits in with the Navy's goal "to focus on our ore competencies [warfighting] and outsource the rest," Hultin added.

Under N/MCI, the Navy will award a contract for computer and communications services at 300 bases. Industry will provide everything from hardware, software and service to the local- and wide-area networks required to stitch 350,000 users from Iceland to Hawaii into a cohesive whole.

Hultin, speaking at the West 2000 Conference sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the U.S. Naval Institute, said the Navy also anticipates some opposition Congress, "where the question is money."

But Rick Rosenberg, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the federal division of Electronic Data Systems Corp., said the Navy should achieve "significant savings" on each of the 350,000 PC seats it plans to acquire on N/MCI.

Rosenberg declined to provide any estimate of how much the Navy spends on each PC seat per year — the cost of hardware as well as software upgrades and service — but industry executives here put it as high as $6,800 to $7,000 per year. Rosenberg said the Navy's current multiple PC and network contracts do not "allow the Navy to take advantage of the economies of scale [built into N/MCI]...it will also eliminate the need of the to capitalize [its information technology] infrastructure."

Besides EDS, Computer Sciences Corp., IBM Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. all plan to submit bids on N/MCI today with an award projected in May of this year.

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