Harvey urged to stay in touch

Lawmakers urged the man slated to lead the military's information technology programs to keep a close relationship with Congress and to keep his eye on specific projects.

The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee interviewed Defense Department nominees Jan. 28, including Francis Harvey, Bush's choice for assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration and replacement for John Stenbit.

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) spoke at length about the Buy American provisions of the recently passed Defense Authorization Bill for 2004, which requires that some items purchased by the military must be manufactured in the United States. The provision is considered controversial because it might violate free trade agreements, and it precludes DOD officials from buying certain foreign-made goods, even if they are better or cheaper.

"This issue is going to be examined, [beyond] just the DOD," Warner said.

The Virginia senator emphasized the importance of certain IT and telecommunications products in the role of defense and urged Harvey to offer the committee feedback on the program in the future. However, when Harvey began to address the issue, Warner cut him off and suggested that he withhold his statement about it until he was called before the committee to do so.

Warner also emphasized that he wants Harvey to keep a close eye on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet project, from which he said "a lot of wonderful things can come."

"If there is a weak link, I'm concerned that it will not function at all," Warner said. "I want you to spend a good deal of time working this program."

He also instructed Harvey to report to the committee any concerns he has with the NMCI project once he has had a chance to familiarize himself with it. Harvey admitted he knew of the program but few of the particulars.

The Navy Marine Corps Intranet, an $8 billion project led by EDS, will be a servicewide network that connects all Navy Department personnel securely. Harvey said he would apply his normal programmatic tendencies to ensure the program is on schedule and on budget.

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