Proposals pour in for Navy e-business

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

more than 300 proposals for pilot e-business projects designed to improve

the way the service operates.

The office, which officially opened its doors 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 projects that can be demonstrated in 90 to 120

days, cost no more than $1 million and have "far-reaching impact" across

the two services, said Rear Adm. Linda Bird, director of the eBusiness

Operations Office and vice commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command,

based in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The proposals received so far have been wide-ranging, Bird said. They

include a Web-based system that allows Navy and Marine Corps employees to

make moving and relocation arrangements from any PC. Another proposal uses

radio-frequency technology to help track inventory in storerooms.

The office is evaluating the proposals and should select the initial

pilot projects for funding in the next 30 days, said Charles Nemfakos, Navy

deputy undersecretary. It expects to fund no more than 50 this fiscal year,

but is constantly accepting proposals via its Web site.

Nemfakos 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," he said. "We want to gather the best ideas that are out there."

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