Letter to the editor

Is the Navy Marine Corps Intranet project in trouble? Let's review Business 101. A well-planned and successful project will not exhibit the following characteristics:

* The objective changing during implementation: NMCI was sold to the Navy as a project that would reduce information technology costs. Now it is being sold as a project that will increase IT security and therefore protect national security.

* Implementation policy and guidance still being developed: NMCI was allowed to start implementation without sufficient policy and guidance. Activities that are in the process of implementation have to wait weeks and/or months to receive answers to policy and guidance questions.

* Oversight bypassed: Congress and Defense Department acquisition oversight was bypassed and it took heavy congressional lobbying by the Navy. DOD acquisition compromised on the contract implementation process. Subsequent to its implementation, Congress passed a law to prohibit this type of contract from being awarded in the future without their review.

* The most senior Navy executives having to give pep talks: Senior Navy executives, both military and civilian, have released statements trying to persuade the readers about the greatness of NMCI. Considering the many crises around the world and at home, one would conclude that these individuals have more important issues than a shore-based IT contract.

* Significant schedule delays: When the NMCI contract was awarded, the implementation schedule for activities from assumption of responsibility (AOR) to cutover was scheduled to take weeks. (AOR is when NMCI assumes control of the existing network. Cutover is when NMCI starts to move users from the existing network to the NMCI network.) The majority of activities has been at AOR for months and most activities have passed the one year mark and continue to be stuck at AOR.

Will the "emperor's new clothes" be the envy of other DOD organizations or will we all be looking at an old, fat, naked, bald guy?

Stay tuned, no one knows. I say cover your eyes.

Name withheld by request


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