NMCI testing decision nears

EDS legacy information page: On the move with NMCI

The Defense Department and the Navy expect to formalize an agreement, perhaps by the end of the week, that resolves the level of testing the Navy Marine Corps Intranet must undergo, Navy officials said Tuesday.

Speaking at a scheduled press briefing Aug. 28, Navy officials deferred any firm comment until the document could be signed.

John Stenbit, the new DOD chief information officer, said last week that the two sides have an agreement that will enable NMCI to proceed.

The testing issue threatened to throw a wrench into NMCI's rollout. Congress conditionally approved NMCI with the requirement that the DOD CIO certify the program before it was fully implemented. Pentagon officials have been pushing for a higher level of testing that, according to NMCI officials, could have delayed for months the Navy's $6.9 billion effort to outsource its desktop infrastructure.

The agreement comes as Electronic Data Systems Corp. readies to take control of the first desktop PCs early next month at Naval Air Facility Washington.

Meanwhile, NMCI officials said they are working to streamline the way they deal with legacy systems — the mounting number of older applications that will have to be certified before they can be moved onto the Navy enterprisenet work operated by EDS.

Capt. David Aland, the Navy deputy CIO, equated the process to moving to a new house: You don't take everything from the old house, but you sort through the stuff you need and get rid of what you don't.

The Navy essentially is going through that process right now, and officials are finding a lot of outdated, unneeded applications. For example, officials discovered a version of WordStar, a Reagan-era word processing program.

An early lesson learned is that dealing with legacy systems takes much longer than expected, Aland said. It has taken eight or nine months for the early NMCI sites to sort through their applications, determine what they need to do with them, and get them ready for the new network. The Navy is hoping to cut that time in half, he said.

Reserve units, however, started with more than 2,500 applications and have reduced that number to 300, said Allie Lawaetz, an NMCI program executive with Science Applications International Corp. They are whittling down that list even further.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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