Intercepts

NMCI Czar Tapped

Sixteen months after the Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract was awarded, the Navy has picked a point man for its eight-year, $6.9 billion effort to outsource its shore-based infor.mation technology infrastructure.

As stipulated by the fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill, Navy Secretary Gordon England this month created the Navy Marine Corps Intranet Program Office, which will be led by Rear Adm. Charles Munns. Munns, who will be based in Washington, D.C., will be responsible for managing and directing all aspects of NMCI. Marine Corps Col. Robert Logan will be Munn's deputy.

An NMCI senior executive council, headed by John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, will be responsible for senior- level review of the program office. The council is expected to include representatives from the Navy's operations, finance, training and testing organizations, as well as from industry, Navy officials said.

The creation of the NMCI Program Office will enable the Navy to speak with one voice, something that runs against the service's culture but which many involved consider necessary.

Previously, seven naval offices oversaw parts of NMCI. That has made it hard to present one voice to lawmakers, who have been increasingly concerned about NMCI's progress. Perhaps more critical, officials from NMCI vendors argue that it has slowed the system's deployment.

England has made it clear that he wants the NMCI czar to take the reins of the program along the lines of a corporate model. "I do not believe you can take a program like [NMCI] and meet all your objectives without one single person being...responsible for decisions day after day on the program," England said during a speech during a meeting of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Washington, D.C., chapter in January.

The fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill mandated that England appoint a program manager whose "sole responsibility is to direct and oversee the program."

Crossed off the List?

Perhaps this sounds familiar — an enormous company filing for bankruptcy protection amid allegations of cooked books, senior executives accused of selling stock to avoid losses, close ties between company executives and political leaders, and even a federal investigation.

If Enron jumped to mind, you're not alone. However, you might be surprised to learn we're referring to fiber- optic giant Global Crossing Ltd., a company with ties to the Defense Department — specifically the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Last year, Global Crossing won DISA's $400 million contract for the Defense Research and Engineering Network, which was to provide wide-area network services for DOD scientists and researchers nationwide. But under the weight of four protests, DISA halted the award.

Meanwhile, DISA planned to re-award the DREN contract late last month, but DISA officials delayed the award decision in the wake of Global Crossing's Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. Global Crossing was one of the DREN bidders.

The situation is now more complex because the com.pany is expected to be sold to a Chinese multinational firm, Hutchison-Whampoa Ltd. Company executives have strong ties to the Chinese government — which makes DOD officials uncomfortable.

DOD's Olympic Role

Want evidence that DOD is playing a role in homeland security? Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told lawmakers this month that the United States' largest theater of operation right now is not Afghanistan — it's Salt Lake City.

"We literally have more people in the area around Salt Lake City for the Olympics than we do in Afghanistan," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

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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