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CHIPS Articles: CAP and Navy Partner to Ensure the Accessibility of the NMCI, the World's Largest Intranet

CAP and Navy Partner to Ensure the Accessibility of the NMCI, the World's Largest Intranet
By CHIPS Magazine - April-June 2004
More departments and agencies are migrating toward a seat management system, which standardizes computer systems and controls the electronic environment of each user. Such a system allows for maximum security, cost efficiency and convenient networking within the organization.

The Department of the Navy is implementing a seat management system through their informational infrastructure called the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, which will provide "universal, secure and interoperable information technology."

This new network will ultimately provide seamless and secure communication throughout all facilities. In such a secure seat management system, all software and hardware associated with a user must be distributed electronically by a central source. This includes the use of assistive technology for NMCI users with disabilities, allowing them to access and use information in the NMCI environment. The final system will provide support to approximately 345,000 seats, making it the largest intranet in the world!

The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program Office has been working closely with NMCI personnel to ensure that assistive technology can be integrated into the enterprise system. Before seat management, CAP was able to procure any assistive technology necessary for Navy employees without concern about Navy configuration management controls. CAP will continue to provide assistive technology to Navy employees; however, methods of procurement and distribution have changed to ensure the security and viability of the NMCI environment.

In partnership with NMCI and its lead support contractor, EDS, CAP has recommended applications that provide versatility and functionality for Navy employees with disabilities. These applications have been submitted for testing to ensure they do not compromise the secure NMCI environment. If they pass, they are certified on NMCI and CAP can continue to procure these applications for Navy employees. These applications can be distributed either electronically through a central source or through a local installation. Below is a list of certified and/or validated assistive technologies for NMCI:

• Speech Recognition - Dragon Naturally Speaking 6.1 and 7.0
• Screen Reading - JAWS for Windows 4.51 (JAWS 5.0 expected to be approved by early March 2004)
• Hand-Keyboard (Right or Left), - Goldtouch Ergo-secure Keyboard (with CAC reader), Wave 109 Keyboard
• Alternate Pointing Devices - EasyCat Trackpad PS/2, Cirque CruiseCat Touchpad, Kensington Orbit Trackball, Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball

Current users of the above listed software can continue to use their applications on the NMCI network. However, NMCI is working with CAP to rollover each of the software applications in an enterprise system to enable them to be delivered and upgraded electronically. In this manner, CAP will work closely with all of our Navy customers to move them to the most recent versions delivered through the enterprise by the end of FY 2004. Some of the current actions include the testing and certification of Dragon 7.0 NexTalk/NTS 4.0 and ZoomText 8.02 — all for enterprise delivery.

The CAP Director, Dinah Cohen, provided training sessions to the NMCI staff at the November 2003 and February 2004 Quarterly Conferences. Ms. Cohen coordinates CAP's four-person team focused on integrating assistive technology into NMCI. With over two years worth of time and resources invested, it is clear that Navy employees with disabilities will shortly receive increased flexibility and support as they begin to receive assistive technologies via the electronic delivery system.

Navy employees with disabilities who need assistive technology can contact CAP to submit a request or complete an online assessment via www.cap.mil.

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CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

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