Portrait of a displaced Navy intranet worker

When the Navy awards its longawaited N/MCI contract in September, it will substantially alter the government careers of nearly 2,000 IT workers

The average government worker about to have his or her career path shaken

up by the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet is about 46 years old, has more than

18 years of government service, is a grade 7-12 computer specialist and

probably works at the Naval Supply Systems Command, Pacific Fleet or the

Naval Reserve Force Command.

When the Navy awards its long-awaited N/MCI contract in September, it

will substantially alter the government careers of 1,886 civilian workers — or 7 percent of the Navy's information technology work force.

According to the Navy's "full spectrum" study on N/MCI, delivered to

Congress June 30:

* 54 percent of the IT work force will remain either in their current

job or another job within the Navy.

* 16 percent will leave government service through normal retirement

and separation schedules.

* As many as 327 IT workers will be laid off from service.

* 248 IT workers plan to take early retirement.

"The vast majority of the employees, 75 percent, are in general computer

occupations and just over 8 percent are in telecommunications occupations,"

the study concluded.

During the first year of the N/MCI contract, as many as 659 employees

spread across 127 Navy commands will fall into one of the above categories,

according to the Navy study. Of those, 117 will be involuntarily separated

from government in the first year, and facilities located in Norfolk, Va.,

San Diego and New Orleans will account for more than 60 percent of the layoffs.

"Over 76 percent of all [reduction in force separations] are in major

metropolitan areas," the Navy's study states. The Navy, however, has established

"transition strategies and additional placement tools" to assist those who

lose their jobs.

The personnel reductions are a result of the Navy's plan to consolidate

more than 100 networks into a single N/MCI architecture that requires fewer

people to maintain. The overall goal, according to Navy officials, is to

increase security, enhance performance and reduce costs by creating a single

network environment operated by the private sector.

A 1997 Navy analysis found that there were 118 different local-area

networks in existence in the Tidewater area of Norfolk, Va. In addition,

a 1998 study revealed that only 12 percent of those LANs had 24-hour help-desk

support, and 61 percent of the LAN support was provided mostly by government

employees on a part-time, additional-duty basis.

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