Navy e-business proposals pour in

In less than two months, the Navy eBusiness Operations Office has received

more than 300 proposals requesting funding for e-business pilot projects

designed to improve the way the department does business.

The eBusiness Operations Office, which officially opened in October, oversees

certain Navy e-commerce programs — including smart cards and purchase cards — and acts as a clearinghouse for emerging e-business technologies.

The office received $20 million this fiscal year to spend on Navy and Marine

Corps pilot projects that will test new e-business technologies and their

applicability across all functional areas.

Pilot projects must be demonstrated in 90 to 120 days, cost no more than

$1 million, and have "far-reaching impact" across the Navy and Marine Corps,

said Rear Adm. Linda Bird, director of the eBusiness Operations Office and

vice commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), based in Mechanicsburg,

Pa.

Bird said the proposals received so far include an Internet-based system

that enables Navy and Marine Corps employees to make relocation arrangements

from any PC. Another proposal uses radio frequency technology to help keep

track of inventory in storerooms.

The eBusiness Office is evaluating the proposals and expects to select the

initial pilots for funding within the next 30 days. It expects to fund no

more than 50 this year, but the offcice is constantly accepting proposals

via its Web site.

Charles Nemfakos, deputy undersecretary of the Navy, said he hopes that

the private sector "comes to us with ideas" on the latest e-business technologies.

The Defense Department does not want to build a new infrastructure but intends

to rely on the private sector to provide solutions, he said. "It's important

for the private sector to understand that we are changing the culture. We

want to gather the best ideas that are out there."

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