NMCI gets green light

The Navy's initiative to create a single unified network across more than 400,000 shore-based seats passed its most significant milestone since the contract was awarded 17 months ago when the Defense Department chief information officer gave the project the go-ahead to move forward.

On May 3, after an hour-long meeting with Navy officials, Defense CIO John Stenbit and Michael Wynne, deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and technology, approved the $6.9 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

"It was a significant milestone today," said NMCI director Rear Adm. Charles Munns in a briefing that afternoon. "We have achieved the milestone. We are off to order another 100,000 seats."

Under an agreement between Pentagon and Navy officials, the Navy has been permitted to roll out about 60,000 seats as a test of the project's feasibility.

Stenbit did raise three issues:

* The maturity of the system that will be used to monitor the network's performance.

* The ability of the Navy to continue to deal with the scores of legacy systems that are migrating to the NMCI network.

* The ability of EDS to roll out seats at a much faster pace as the project moves forward.

The Navy has also officially requested congressional approval to extend the NMCI contract, Munns confirmed. The Navy would like to adjust the NMCI contract so that the start date coincides with Friday's milestone one approval, thereby giving the Navy more time to use the new network before dealing with questions about the three option years.

NMCI has been plagued with the perception that it has been off-track. Navy officials acknowledge that it is behind the original schedule, but they note that the delays were beyond their control.

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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