Next steps for NexGen

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to waste no time in developing its new e-mail system.

The contract for the Next Generation Messaging System program was awarded to IBM Corp. on June 20, and the design review is scheduled to begin later this month, said Bill Culver, the FAA's NexGen program manager. Testing is set to begin in August.

The first phase of the program, scheduled to be completed by December 2002, will replace users' e-mail systems with Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes, starting with the FAA's nine regional offices, the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters, its Oklahoma City aeronautical center and the Atlantic City, N.J., technical center.

The second phase, when user-requested features will be added, is scheduled for fiscal 2003. The last phase—the deployment of emerging technologies — is set for fiscal 2004.

"It's a very, very aggressive schedule," Culver said.

In fact, the entire procurement has been aggressive. The award was made about three months after a request for proposals was issued, and an agencywide technical evaluation tracking 7,650 items was completed in five weeks, Culver said.

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