Military not ready to jump on board NMCI

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

places."

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."

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