Through organization changes, hurricanes and tough challenges, New Orleans staff remain focused on Navy mission.
Navy history buffs may find the legacy of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic's New Orleans office interesting, but others may be more impressed with its unbeatable spirit and ingenuity.
SSC Atlantic's New Orleans office is located on the campus of the University of New Orleans Research and Technology Park. The office includes a workforce of about 435 full-time military, government and contractor personnel who provide information technology capability, decision support and accurate data to Navy, Defense Department and other government agencies.
The genesis of the New Orleans command began in 1986 when Commander, Navy Reserve Force (COMNAVRESFOR) established an Information Systems Office. In 1995, this office was officially designated as the Naval Reserve Information Systems Office (NAVRESINFOSYSOFF). It became the central design agency (CDA)for Navy Reserve manpower, personnel and training systems.
In 1997, due to its excellent record of customer service and rapid deployment of systems, NAVRESINFOSYSOFF was also designated the CDA for many active Navy manpower and personnel systems and assumed responsibility for managing dozens of Navy legacy programs.
In 1997, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)) designated COMNAVRESFOR as the Systems Executive Office for Manpower and Personnel (SEO-MP), with assigned responsibility for acquisition and program management of all Navy manpower and personnel information resources, as well as designated DoD personnel and pay systems.
Collocated at the Naval Support Activity in New Orleans, NAVRESINFOSYSOFF worked closely with the SEO-MP staff, providing technical expertise, systems engineering and systems operation and maintenance.
Because critical Navy work performed in New Orleans continued to increase, federal, state and local officials obtained approval from the Navy to partner with the local academic community and private industry to establish an Information Technology Center in the University of New Orleans Research and Technology Park. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in 1998, and NAVRESINFOSYSOFF and SEO-MP personnel began moving into the center in 1999.
In 2000, Navy officials decided the Information Technology Center would best serve the needs of the entire Navy by migrating from a Navy Reserve-aligned organization to the SPAWAR claimancy. In November 2000, NAVRESINFOSYSOFF officially became the SPAWAR Information Technology Center and both SEO-MP and NAVRESINFOSYSOFF were disestablished.
Then, in November 2004, the SPAWAR Information Technology Center was renamed SSC New Orleans to better reflect its alignment within SPAWAR.
In October 2008, due to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment legislation, SPAWAR realigned its field activities into SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. In the realignment, the former SSC New Orleans was consolidated with the field activities at SSC Norfolk and SSC Charleston to become part of SSC Atlantic.
The New Orleans Office has three core capabilities: systems engineering, shared services and a Customer Support Center. Disciplined systems engineering efforts ensure experienced, competency-based software engineering focused on the customer and backed by demonstrated success in meeting cost, schedule and performance requirements. Complete life cycle management is provided — from requirements and design — to delivery and maintenance.
New Orleans adheres to engineering best practices and is assessed at Capability Maturity Model for Software Level 2. Work continues toward Capability Maturity Model Integration Level 4.
Additionally, Lean Six Sigma practices are embedded in all organizational processes.
The New Orleans office offers a fully integrated state-of-the-art application hosting environment, rigorous security policies and standards, redundant and high bandwidth data paths and continuity of operations plan (COOP) failover protection for robust and reliable shared services.
The Customer Support Center's Help Desk is the largest Global Distance Support Center in the Navy, serving 538,000 active and Reserve members on pay and personnel issues. This centralized call-in facility operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and boasts a 97 percent customer satisfaction rate.
The New Orleans office provides a myriad of IT products and services that include: software engineering; software application development; systems migration; systems integration; systems maintenance; Navy Marine Corps Intranet-approved shared services; security accreditation; and help desk and data operations center monitoring.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of the hardy resilience and resourcefulness of the New Orleans staff occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Although the facility itself was not flooded, as a result of a nearby levee breach, the buildings suffered extensive roof damage, which allowed rainwater to get inside the walls of the building causing widespread mold and water damage.
By implementing its COOP, which allowed operations to continue at alternate sites, work continued at full speed and many employees assumed tasks outside of their normal functions to continue to maintain critical Navy pay and personnel systems.
Even though the majority of the workforce sustained personal loss and severe damage to their homes, operations continued, and in the weeks and months that followed Katrina, many employees had to deal with hardships and attempt home repairs from hundreds of miles away because they were still displaced.
Relocated personnel worked at alternate work sites at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, Texas, Naval Education and Training Command, NAS Pensacola, Fla., and Millington, Tenn. Others telecommuted from the greater New Orleans area and Washington, D.C.
Yet, in those first bleak weeks in September 2005, the single-minded goal of the command's leadership was to return the workforce to New Orleans, and they did just that.
In July 2006, 11 months after Katrina hit, New Orleans employees were able to return to a newly renovated facility, thus demonstrating extraordinary professionalism and initiative in an environment of enduring hardship and devastation.
Among the New Orleans office customers are the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The former commanding officer of SSC New Orleans, who is now the chief of staff for SSC Atlantic's New Orleans office is Capt. Mark Krause who took command of the facility post-Hurricane Katrina in 2006. The senior civilian liaison to SSC Atlantic headquarters is Ms. Jackie Goff, who is also the deputy technical director for SSC Atlantic.
Maria L. Tolleson is the public affairs officer for SSC Atlantic's New Orleans office.