Military not ready to jump on board NMCI
- By George I. Seffers
- Oct 26, 2000
Although the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) is being touted as an example
for the entire Defense Department, some high-ranking officials are taking
a wait-and-see approach.
"The other services cannot sign on now. Conceptually I think it is a
great idea. I give kudos to the Navy, but all they've done so far is to
let a contract. The challenge will be in implementing it," said Lt. Gen.
Peter Cuviello, chief information officer of the Army.
Under NMCI, Electronic Data Systems Corp. will install and manage 350,000
PCs for the Navy and Marines. The contract was awarded in early October
and is potentially worth $6.9 billion.
"They have leadership [support], but the Navy, like the other services,
is a monolithic organization, and they have got to get this moving," Cuviello
said. "The money is not there. There's plenty [of money] in the Navy, but
it is not in the budget line, so it has to come from all kinds of other
Other high-ranking officials echoed Cuviello's conclusions.
"Something that size is fraught with a lot of challenges, and I think
everybody in the community is hoping the Navy has picked a good, winning
strategy for tackling a tough problem across a broad range of challenges,"
said Air Force Brig. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, director of command and control
systems for U.S. Space Command.
Meyerrose cited a recent Gartner Group study that found 85 percent of
information technology outsourcing contracts are renegotiated within 14
months, a finding he said is supported by Spacecom's own experience.
The study cites three reasons, according to Meyerrose: cost growth,
steadily increasing program requirements, and inability of the contractor
to deliver on promises.
"We have outsourced several networks, and they are much, much smaller
in scope, but the challenges we had are very close to those cited by the
Gartner Group," Meyerrose said.
If NMCI succeeds, Cuviello said, the Army would be more likely to imitate
it rather than join it.
"I hate to say it, but we would probably use it as a model, because
the way the services do business is significantly different," Cuviello said.
"That doesn't mean we can't adopt the best business practices. Bottom line — it would have to be competitive."