Test But Verify

So you thought the Navy Marine Corps Intranet testing issue had been resolved? Think again.

The Navy is in the midst of analyzing results from the first round of tests on the NMCI network. That data will provide some of the first real numbers about how well the deployment of the Navy's new information tech.nology infrastructure is going. Although the tests are an immediate concern for Navy officials, another issue looms on the horizon. It appears that the broader testing issue — thought to have been resolved last September when Navy and Pentagon officials agreed to the procedure for testing NMCI — is still an issue. Apparently, the agreement has largely failed to resolve the question at the heart of the testing issue — how much does NMCI need to be tested? Defense Department chief information officer John Stenbit is calling for "stress tests," saying NMCI will have to be fully stress-tested on an operational network before he will give his approval.

The September testing memo states that when 85 percent of NMCI has been rolled out, the Navy will conduct a "stress test of the system to determine if [NMCI] can meet the performance requirements." The Navy should complete that test before the three option years have run out.

Stenbit suggested that the Navy and NMCI vendor EDS will have to test the network "to the point of failure." Meanwhile, the Navy will name a person to spearhead NMCI soon. The fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill requires Navy Secretary Gordon England to appoint a program manager whose "sole responsibility is to direct and oversee the program."

AKO Cruising Along

The Army has picked up the pace in recent months in registering personnel on the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) portal and as of Jan. 8 had set up 760,000 accounts, said Miriam Browning, the Army's principal director of enterprise integration.

Browning said the bulk of the approximately 500,000 individuals who do not have accounts are part-time re.ser.vists and basic trainees. "Ninety per.cent of the individuals who are active duty — military, civilian, Guard and Reserve — now have AKO accounts."

The AKO portal registered its 100,000th user in November 2000.

It's refreshing to see a high-profile program meeting its deadlines, or at least coming really close.

What Do You Really Think?

The Air Force wants to hear from you! Gen. John, Air Force chief of staff, has directed the Air Force Manpower and Innovation Agency to launch a survey this week to "tap the pulse" of the service on management and work-related topics.

The 2002 Organization Climate Survey, which will be available online Jan. 22 to March 8, includes approximately 100 questions and takes about 45 minutes to complete. This is the third time since 1997 that the biennial survey has been issued and the second time it has been given to the worldwide Air Force population on a Web-based platform supported by software from Raosoft Inc.

Scott Hopkins, the Air Force's survey program manager, said the 1999 survey received about 200,000 responses, but was plagued by slow response rates. However, the service solved the problem by putting the software at strategic regional locations. The goal for this year is to receive 300,000 responses.

The survey was originally scheduled for release in October but was delayed by the launch of operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. To take the survey, go to

Intercept something? Send it to [email protected].

About the Authors

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.


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