NMCI may be homeland model

Department of Homeland Security

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The Navy's massive effort to outsource its shore-based network infrastructure is a concept that many agencies will use as a model, a former Navy captain said, and the proposed Homeland Security Department could be an early organization to step up to the plate.

The new department will face the yeoman task of bringing together agencies as well as creating a way to collect information from other agencies across the government, said John Higbee, a professor of program management at the Defense Acquisition University. Therefore, that organization will require communication links to extended partners.

"I think it will be the single biggest information technology initiatives that have come out of the federal government ever," Higbee said June 18 at the Fortune One Business conference in Falls Church, Va. Federal Computer Week is a co-sponsor of the conference.

"We need to come up with a way [to] sift through the haystack and find the needles," Higbee said.

Many agencies will increasingly turn toward enterprise infrastructures that improve security and interoperability, he said. Higbee, during his tenure as deputy to the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, was a key player who spearheaded the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, the Navy's $6.9 billion initiative to create a single network for the service's more than 400,000 shore-based seats.

Higbee acknowledged that NMCI will not be the exact model that everybody uses, but the overall concept — creating an enterprise infrastructure — is a strong trend.

"Enterprise provision of services adjusted to the needs of the organization is going to be more in vogue," he said. Those initiatives will not replicate NMCI, he said, but they will incorporate the ideas that drove the Navy toward that project.

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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