Pacific Fleet's IT-21 completion delayed
- By Bill Murray
- Dec 11, 2000
The Navy's shipboard systems modernization program, Information Technology
for the 21st Century, will not be completed in the Pacific Fleet until fiscal
2005, the fleet's commander said last week.
Upon launching the program in 1997, then-Pacific Fleet Commander Adm.
Archie Clemins outlined an ambitious rollout schedule in which IT-21 would
be completed in fiscal 2001. But because of funding shortfalls and the busy
deployment schedules of the fleet's 190 ships, the schedule has slipped,
U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander in Chief Adm. Thomas Fargo said during a speech
last week at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's
TechNet Asia-Pacific 2000 conference in Honolulu.
"My job, as I see it, is to bring this horse home," said Fargo, who
took command from Clemins in October 1999.
IT-21 was intended to bridge the technology gap between the Navy's onshore
installations and its ships. But now, the IT-21 program may get folded into
the Navy Marine Corps Intranet procurement, which means that the Navy would
purchase voice, video and data services from contractor Electronic Data
Systems Corp. for its ships.
Ron Turner, the Navy's deputy chief information officer for infrastructure,
systems and technology, said last month that department officials are trying
to determine if IT-21 is within the scope of NMCI.
To adjust to the schedule slip while still getting "a meaningful IT
capability to the fleet as quickly as possible," Fargo said Pacific Fleet
officials developed a minimum IP capability to provide some form of wideband
satellite communications, a local-area network, the ability to send classified
and unclassified e-mail, and key information management on board.
IT-21 has given Navy ships better interoperability and readiness, with
the installation of Asynchronous Transfer Mode networking equipment and
Microsoft Corp. Windows NT 4.0 software. In addition, all sailors have e-mail
access, which Fargo called the Navy's greatest morale booster during the
past 15 years because it's easier for them to communicate with family members
and loved ones while deployed.