Navy Marine Corps Intranet goes online at its first military base

The U.S. Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NCMI) is finally online for its first users at Naval Air Facility, a Navy tenant activity at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., just outside of Washington.

by John McHale

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NCMI) is finally online for its first users at Naval Air Facility, a Navy tenant activity at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., just outside of Washington. The NMCI prime contractor is Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Herndon, Va.

U.S. Navy officials worked with experts at EDS to implement the Task Force Web initiative under the NMCI contract. EDS leads the team of companies known as the Information Strike Force (ISF) charged with consolidating computer networks at Navy and Marine Corps bases in the U.S. and several overseas sites under a single overarching network for voice, video, and data exchange.

"EDS and the Department of the Navy are successfully blazing a new trail in federal procurement and our incremental successes are being applauded in boardrooms across the country," says Al Edmonds, president of the EDS federal government division. "The Bush Administration need look no further than this program as an example of how government can improve its efficiency and economy by working with the private sector."

NMCI will be the world's largest Intranet serving more than 400,000 sailors and Marines, says George Sibley, NMCI deputy program executive at EDS.

The Task Force Web effort is to validate requirements and design of a suite of software tools necessary to develop network applications for the Navy. This software development environment will give network applications developers access to programs and data anytime and anywhere, using web-based technology, company officials say.

"These initiatives [NMCI and Task Force Web] are critical components to the Department of the Navy's vision of a network-centric force," Edmonds says. "The ability to access, process, and disseminate information rapidly and securely has a direct impact on force readiness. The old axiom that 'knowledge is power' was never more true and that is what the Information Strike Force is committed to provide to our naval forces - the power of information."

Managing the NMCI will be two enterprise management facilities — one in Puget Sound, Wash., and one Jacksonville, Fla., Sibley says. There will also be 66 smaller facilities, he adds.

It is the first major step in the incremental deployment of the NMCI environment. The second phase, called cutover, moves all of a location's users over to the NMCI environment, company officials say. Naval Air Facility Washington is the first site to make that transition.

The Navy Marine Corps Intranet will make network-based information available to sailors and Marines for day-to-day activities and in war, EDS officials say. NMCI will provide access to integrated voice, video, and data communications, give pier-side connectivity to Navy vessels in port, and link more than 360,000 desktops across the U.S. as well as sites in Puerto Rico, Iceland, and Cuba, company officials say.

A real payoff for the Navy will be the time and money it can save in training personnel that move from command to command, Sibley says. Prior to NMCI, each base would have its own Intranet that, in most cases, was incompatible with other naval facilities, he explains. The NMCI provides one centralized network that sailors and Marines will be able to access at almost every naval and Marine facility worldwide, Sibley adds.

Web-based technologies are applications a user can access from his PC using a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, without having to download any special software, EDS officials say. The Navy's concept plan would provide a "publish and subscribe" architecture that includes an easily accessible and user-friendly knowledge portal, which sailors can personalize with Navy web-based services.

The ultimate benefit to sailors and Marines will be access to information previously unavailable at their desktop involving pay, personnel, medical records, technical manuals, training syllabi, command and control, and logistics.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego will carry out the at-sea portion of the initiative while the EDS-led NMCI Information Strike Force team handles the ashore implementation, company officials say.

The Information Strike Force team includes EDS for service and reliability; WorldCom for network connectivity; Raytheon for security; companies such as Cisco, WAM!NET, Microsoft, Dell, Dolch, and Dataline for more products and services; plus support from many small businesses, EDS officials say.

For more information on EDS contact the company by e-mail at info@eds.com or on the World Wide Web at http://www. eds.com.

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