Marines continue IT upgrade

The Marine Corps is stepping up a program to replace its aging information technology infrastructure as it awaits the arrival of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

Under the initiative, called the Enterprise Sustainment Initiative, the Marines will replace about 60,000 of approximately 68,000 seats even before the service prepares to transition to NMCI, said Debra Filippi, Marine Corps deputy chief information officer.

The plan will enable the Marines to institute measures to cut the number of applications the service uses by nearly 95 percent -- to fewer than 432 out of a current tally of 7,876, Filippi said in a July 16 press briefing.

The Marines are in the process of finalizing a contract award for the PCs. Earlier this year, the service awarded a $17.8 million contract to Dell Computer Corp. for 9,940 notebook computers.

NMCI is a $6.9 billion initiative to create a single network for all of the Navy and Marine Corps' shore-based facilities. Although the Marines represent only about 68,000 seats of the overall 411,000 seats that make up NMCI, the service has always been a priority because of its aging IT infrastructure. Some Marines are still using PCs running Microsoft Corp. Windows 95.

Under NMCI's original schedule, the Marine Corps was supposed to begin NMCI implementation earlier this year. But the rollout has been delayed primarily because of the Navy's enormous number of legacy systems.

The Enterprise Sustainment Initiative was created as a measure to deal with that delay.

Filippi said the service is taking advantage of the opportunity to implement its legacy application reduction initiative so that the Marines will be prepared for NMCI transition when it begins in the second quarter of fiscal 2003.

The Marines have been seen as well prepared to transition to NMCI. Unlike the Navy, which has had to deal with thousands of legacy applications and hundreds of networks, the Marine Corps streamlined its operations several years ago. And the Marines have been working to get ahead on their legacy applications.

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, 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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