Navy launching portal management

NEW ORLEANS — The Navy soon will launch a portal management office to control the hundreds of portals spread throughout the service.

The move follows the Navy Marine Corps Intranet director's efforts to whittle down the number of legacy applications throughout the Navy as the service cuts over to the departmentwide network.

"Just as we have tens of thousands of legacy applications, we have hundreds of portals," said Navy chief information officer David Wennergren at the National Defense Industrial Association's NMCI conference in New Orleans. "We want you to be able to find whatever enterprise knowledge you need from wherever you are, all through one standard portal."

Wennergren said the decision will not lead to a wholesale reduction of existing portals, as is being done with legacy applications. Rather, a combination of best industry and Navy practices will be adopted.

Wennergren cited as a good example an existing portal designed by Naval Sea Systems Command that provides distance maintenance for crews deployed aboard ships. The portal enables a sailor to directly contact experts in the United States, who provide the step-by-step instructions necessary to fix shipboard systems and machines.

"This is ingenuity at its best," he said. "It serves a purpose, it works and it can be employed across the entire Department of the Navy."

Part of the Navy Department's strategic information technology plan calls for deploying a "Navywide enterprise portal, as part of NMCI, that connects and integrates enterprise knowledge through a coordinated approach that includes functional area knowledge managers responsible for content."

Wennergren said the Navy is trying to stop certain behaviors, such as the creation of specialized, customized portals at the expense of developing something of use to the entire service.

"We are going to worry about content, not customization," he said. "If I'm school X in Newport, R.I., I probably don't need a whole new portal."

Wennergren said that if he has his way, the new office will begin operating in the next three to four weeks. However, there must first be a decision on who will have oversight. The frontrunners for that role are the Program Executive Office for Information Technology, the Navy Network Warfare Command, and the Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command.

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