NMCI nerve center may go at Quantico

The Navy Department and Electronic Data Systems Corp. are close to an agreement on the construction of the nerve center for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet at the Marine base at Quantico, Va.

According to the tentative decision, EDS, the NMCI prime contractor, would build a facility at the base to house the global network operations center (GNOC), officials said. The center, which would oversee the six planned NMCI network operations centers, would be a focal point for computer network defense.

"We've come to a resolution, and we're awaiting an environmental study," said a Marine officer at Quantico.

EDS officials plan to open the GNOC by April, a company official said.

"No adequate government facilities have been found at Quantico to house a GNOC, so other options are being explored," said a Navy official close to the matter, who added that EDS and the department do not yet have an official agreement. "The Marines will not build a facility for the GNOC, as it is not part of their approved military construction plan." So the tentative decision is for EDS to build the facility, which would mean the center would have to go through an extensive waivers process.

The decision was the result of months of work as Navy Department and EDS officials assessed several sites.

The Marine Corps originally asked the Navy Department to use Camp Upshur on the Quantico base, but the camp's distance from Interstate 95 meant EDS would have to "lay a lot of fiber" to reach communications gateways, such as the Defense Information Systems Network, said a retired Marine familiar with the matter.

Navy Department officials then focused on a different site at Quantico. Because I-95 passes through the base, Quantico would serve as a good showplace for members of Congress and visitors to see the GNOC, the retired Marine said.

If EDS builds the GNOC facility, it will be located west of I-95, the Navy official said. "Not adding to the traffic congestion on the east side of I-95 [during construction] was a huge concern for the base," he said.

"One can be sure that it will be built to survive "calamities' because neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor dark of night excuses [EDS] from providing service that meets" service-level agreements, the Navy official said.

EDS will locate one of the six network operations centers at Quantico to support the Marine Corps' NMCI rollout—scheduled for April 2002—so it made sense to locate the GNOC there, too, an EDS official said. A temporary GNOC is at Naval Base Norfolk, Va.

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