NMCI gets go-ahead to lift cap

After waiting weeks for approval, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) has received the go-ahead to exceed a 60,000-seat limit that Congress imposed. The project also has received approval to order 150,000 more seats to bring the total to 310,000.

Congress had ordered the Navy to stop transitioning users at 60,000 until the program could be evaluated and Navy officials signed off on its progress and cost. Defense Department CIO John Stenbit approved the move at the beginning of this month.

EDS, the Plano, Texas, company that was awarded the contract to build out the Navy network, has transitioned nearly 59,000 seats, and would have had to stop at 60,000 if Congress did not give the go-ahead.

However, EDS confirmed Feb. 25 that the Navy has been authorized to lift the 60,000-seat cap based on completion of an operational assessment, including testing conducted by the NMCI director's staff and several independent testing agencies to prove the network's viability and scalability.

The approval allows EDS to begin transitioning all 160,000 currently authorized seats — as well as any subsequent seats that are authorized.

"NMCI completed a very robust set of testing, and the results are indicative of the viability of the network," Al Edmonds, president of EDS' U.S. Government Solutions, said in a statement. "EDS and the [NMCI] Information Strike Force have met every challenge thus far in creating a first-of-its-kind network within this strict security environment."

The approval to order 150,000 additional seats came after EDS met specified service-level agreements — the degree of customer satisfaction on 20,000 seats.

"The results from four months of testing clearly demonstrated that the NMCI is ready to move to the next level," said Rear Adm. Charles Munns, NMCI's director. "These authorizations mark major milestones in the progress of the NMCI program."

The next step for the project is to begin transitioning seats at the first Marine Corps location in Quantico, Va. That is expected to happen in May.

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