Bill boosts NMCI oversight

The Navy's massive $6.9 billion effort to outsource its shore-based information technology infrastructure will get additional oversight as a result of the fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill.

Members of the House and Senate conference committee reached an agreement Dec. 12 on the much-watched National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1438).

The House version of that bill included a provision to pull the Marines, naval aviation depots and shipyards out of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. However, the final version, which still must get approval from the House and Senate, includes the Marine Corps.

A summary report released by the House Armed Services Committee suggests that the bill also includes an agreement negotiated between the Navy and the Pentagon regarding the testing of NMCI systems. Pentagon and Navy officials had reached an agreement on how the Defense Department chief information officer will oversee the massive project. That agreement seeks to put the initiative on an event-driven schedule in which the DOD CIO will review the project's progress when NMCI reaches certain milestones.

But concerns about "lengthy program delays and questions about the Navy's funding and budgetary strategy for NMCI prompted the conferees to reduce funding and improve oversight of the program," the summary report says.

The conferees call for DOD to "maintain responsibility for each new phase" of NMCI, and for Navy Secretary Gordon England to appoint a program manager whose "sole responsibility is to direct and oversee the program," the summary states.

The authorization bill allocates $582 million for "phased implementation and supervision" of NMCI -- about $65 million less than the Bush administration had requested.

A final decision remains unclear on the controversial provisions that would make it virtually impossible for DOD to use multiple-award contracts. The provisions -- generally known as Section 801 and Section 803 -- are not mentioned in the summary, and the final language will not be released until it is introduced on the House floor.

The Senate's version of the Defense authorization bill included two provisions that sought to eliminate the practice of agencies using multiple-award contracts to avoid competition and to sole-source task orders from those governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) to specific vendors.

House and Senate staff members had negotiated a compromise agreement last month, but it is unclear if any changes have been made to that agreement, industry officials said.

The House and Senate are expected to act on the bill this week.

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, 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,, 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, 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.


  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

  • gears and money (zaozaa19/

    Worries from a Democrat about the Biden administration and federal procurement

    Steve Kelman is concerned that the push for more spending with small disadvantaged businesses will detract from the goal of getting the best deal for agencies and taxpayers.

Stay Connected