Navy mulls IT command

Connecting Technology conference

The Navy plans to recommend creating a new command to oversee its major information technology programs, a Navy official said May 15.

Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval operations, plans to submit a proposal to new Navy Secretary Gordon England for starting an IT command headed by a vice admiral, said Michael Dominguez, the CNO's assistant director for space, information warfare, command and control.

The command would operate the Information Technology for the 21st Century program, the Navy's effort to upgrade networking systems on its ships, Dominguez said at the Navy's Connecting Technology conference in Virginia Beach, Va.

The proposed Information Technology Type Command also would oversee the Navy's computer network attack and defense work through IT-21 and the Navy Marine Corps Intranet procurement with Electronic Data Systems Corp.

According to Ron Turner, the Navy's deputy chief information officer for infrastructure, systems and technology, the command would include about 400 people from four existing organizations: the Navy's Fleet Information Warfare Center, the Commander Task Force for NMCI, the Marine Corps Information Technology and Network Operations Center, and the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command.

The IT command could help the Navy better consolidate the personnel who operate IT-21, NMCI and the Base Level Infrastructure initiatives, Turner said. He said Clark had yet to approve a plan for its creation.

"So far we've gotten enthusiastic approval and support" from the commanders of the Navy's fleets and its systems commands, Dominguez said. The fleet commanders operate the Navy's airplanes and ships, and the systems commands prepare materiel and technology for the fleets to operate.

"This shows how important information technology has become to the Navy," said Marv Langston, former Navy Department chief information officer and a Falls Church, Va.-based consultant. He said it could take a year or more to put the proposed command in place.

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