DISA defends NMCI stance

It is not true that the Defense Information Systems Agency has been resisting

the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, according to Brig. Gen. Bernie Skoch, principal

director for network services at DISA.

NMCI, the Navy's massive $6.9 billion information technology outsourcing

effort, has not been nearly as contentious within DISA as some claim, Skoch

said.

"It's been reported that [NMCI] was somehow contentious, that somehow

it was a battle between the Department of Navy, [the Office of the Secretary

of Defense] and DISA. That is categorically not true," Skoch said.

He added that about a month and a half ago, officials from DISA, the

Pentagon and the Navy were "sequestered in a Pentagon room for about four

days, and we negotiated an agreement." The agreement states that DISA has

the "right of first refusal to provide network services" for NMCI.

"When NMCI needs connectivity, they come to DISA," Skoch said. "If we

can't meet that requirement within a specified period — which we're now

trying to define, and I see it as a matter of days and not a matter of weeks — then NMCI is free to obtain that service elsewhere."

He admitted, however, that DISA's reputation for poor service might

make NMCI and similar efforts more attractive to military customers and

vowed that his agency is becoming more customer-friendly.

"A lot of things going on right now in the Department of Defense have required

DISA to rethink the way that we do business. I believe in the past we may have

adopted the philosophy that some airlines are known for and that is,

'We're not happy until you're not happy,'" Skoch said.

Skoch's office was established Oct. 1 in an effort to make DISA a more

customer-oriented agency. His is the only principal director position in

the agency, which traditionally uses deputy directors. Art Money, the Pentagon's

chief information officer, wanted the position to hold the higher, more

powerful title of principal director, Skoch said.

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