Navy: No NMCI extra costs

Navy Department officials say the $6.9 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet project does include the basic costs of switching over all legacy applications to work under Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000, despite questions surfacing at a conference last week.

Lead vendor Electronic Data Systems Corp. will enable thousands of legacy applications to operate via NMCI at no extra charge, said Joseph Cipriano, the Navy's program executive officer for information technology.

Deadlines in switching to EDS' NMCI software begin next month.

George Sibley, EDS' deputy program executive for NMCI, said that instead of making legacy applications "native" to the Windows 2000 environment — the NMCI standard — EDS will provide a connection to them via terminal emulation outside Windows 2000. Legacy applications run under operating systems other than Windows 2000.

There may be fewer applications to migrate, however. In early May, Dan Porter, the Navy Department's chief information officer, ordered commands to reduce their legacy applications by 40 percent and, by Sept. 30, devise a plan to migrate those that remain to NMCI.

Charles Arcadipane, a senior information officer for the Naval Air Systems Command's Research and Engineering Group, said that preservation of research, development, test and evaluation legacy application connectivity "was left out of the NMCI contract." Arcadipane spoke May 8 during the Government CIO Summit at Kiawah Island, S.C., sponsored by FCW Government Technology Group.

Navair is paying to maintain old systems, Arcadipane said, and it is also paying about $2,500 per seat for desktop systems so its users can receive e-mail.

Before EDS and department officials can identify the number of legacy applications in the Navy and Marine Corps, they first must recertify every application before it runs on a server, said Ronald Turner, the Navy Department's deputy chief information officer for infrastructure, systems and technology.

"No matter how you plan that, it's not easy," Turner said May 8 at the Secure E-Business conference.

"What they found [in the Navy] is not unusual when you outsource and do that deep an analysis," said Anthony Valletta, vice president of command, control, communications and computer systems at SRA International Inc.

Valletta, a former DOD assistant secretary for command, control, communications and intelligence, said NMCI resembles a mainframe system, where there is control of applications on centralized servers.

In 2002, the Navy plans to pay an average of $3,412 per NMCI user or seat per year, Cipriano said. After fiscal 2005, EDS will drop its prices so the Navy pays an average of $3,000, but widespread use of handheld and wireless devices may increase. Navy officials estimate the cost per networked user to now be $3,851. The future savings will help extend NMCI service and new PCs to 54,000 users who don't currently have computers, Cipriano said.

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