NMCI testing shows mixed results

The Navy expects to receive the go-ahead within the coming weeks to lift the cap on the rollout of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, although further expansion hinges on EDS hitting more contract goals.

Congress imposed a cap of 60,000 seats until EDS reached more of its service level agreements (SLAs). To date, EDS has rolled out more than 47,000 seats, but will be forced to stop at 60,000 if approval to go beyond that number is not given.

The latest round of testing on NMCI has revealed some successes and some failures, but Rear Adm. Charles Munns, NMCI director, anticipates the contract will proceed on schedule and could be accelerated by some of the policies, procedures and solutions EDS plans to implement.

Independent tests have been conducted on NMCI since May to point out flaws and to offer potential solutions to EDS. Those tests showed mixed results, but the overall consensus is that the system is on track to achieve its specified goals.

While EDS has not yet met all of its service level agreements (SLAs) as defined in the contract, Munns said it could happen this month. Bill Richard, EDS' NMCI enterprise client executive, said that, overall, the network infrastructure performance and end-to-end services of the NMCI are within the service-level goals.

"We are very happy about that because that is the core to the whole system," Richard said. "We need to fine-tune the network technology solutions. [There is the need to] expand network management capabilities to include control of all network devices, which we are doing, and expect to implement an enterprise management system in [the first quarter] of next year."

Under the NMCI contract, EDS is paid based on its ability to meet specific service levels on key measures, such as network uptime, availability of applications and help-desk response time. The contract includes rewards if the company exceeds the levels and penalties if it does not achieve them.

Munns said that EDS was close to meeting the service levels last month and that the December numbers were still being evaluated.

"We collect the numbers over a 30-day period and average them over the month," he said. "They were close in November and if the don't make it in December, then they definitely will in January. They are distributing software...in the network operation centers [to meet that goal.]"

In the meantime, Munns said that more than 45,000 seats of NMCI have been implemented to date, and he expects approval soon to bring that number above 60,000. Beyond that, the Navy has ordered an additional 100,000 seats, but must wait for approval and EDS' achieving its goals before rolling out those seats.

Some of those problems discovered in testing include:

* Reachback to legacy e-mail was slow.

* Help-desk performance was below service level goals

* Performance at the workstation level was inconsistent.

* Configuration management, incident and problem management processes were immature.

On the positive side, an independent evaluation found that NMCI's external security meets SLA goals. Internal security needed improvement in password and configuration management, but Munns said the Common Access Card Public Key Infrastructure cryptographic log-in will provide additional security when implemented.

"We are now in Part Two of the process, and that is to brief those who need to be briefed [to receive approval] to go beyond that 60,000-seat cutover and ensure the service level agreements to go to an order beyond 160,000 seats," Munns said.

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