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CHIPS Articles: What NMCI Means to Us

What NMCI Means to Us
By Joseph Cipriano - May 1, 2001
When you do business with the Department of the Navy (DON), you are also doing business with Department of Defense (DoD), the Office of Management and Budget, the Small Business Association and Congress. These silent, and not so silent, partners are actively engaged in every deal of significance, and increasingly involved in e-Business.

But, they are especially interested in large intranets such as the Navy Marine Corp Intranet (NMCI). That's because the sharing of information in a secure environment is now dependable enough that we can rely on some entity, beyond our direct control, to provide information services critical to our mission.

It's important to understand what took us in the direction of NMCI. Government is maturing from a structure and method of work that aggregates the outputs of organizations, to one that aggregates information and resources focused on mission. This evolution means increased interdependency and that makes everyone nervous. But, this change has such great potential, and must be embraced.

Organizations, like people, move from independence to interdependence as they mature. We are interdependent in ways that we don't think about anymore. For example, most of us don't have water wells. We depend on the municipal water supply. We don't grow our own food, build our own homes or generate our own power, yet all these things are critical to our survival. We would rather devote our time and talents to things we enjoy and are good at.

The same is true for the DON. We decided that the public infrastructure for information technology (IT) was mature enough that we could depend on it, rather than own and operate ours. We also realized that the IT infrastructure could be treated like a utility that someone else capitalized, operated and maintained.

We, therefore, decided to buy IT as a service. It meant becoming dependent on someone outside our organizational structure for something as vital as IT service. That was not an easy decision. Its full implications will not be known for some time. The uncertainty that always comes with change is a challenge for those who are not fully aware of the benefits. Yet, we see benefits in five areas. NMCI will provide:

Improved Security: NMCI will eliminate points of entry; support multi-layered defense; allow fielding of public key infrastructure (PKI) and smart card; provide new tools for intrusion detection; enable independent validation; establish quantitative measures of effectiveness; and provide incentives for improvement.

Improved Quality of Service: NMCI will have service level agreements (SLAs) embedded in the contract with penalties and rewards; establish incentives for end-user satisfaction; conduct technology refreshes; provide 100 MBps to every desktop; and maintain 99.9 percent availability.

Improved Management Oversight: NMCI will result in visibility of the true cost of IT; pursue best value; and follow on-line metrics.

Economies of Scale: NMCI will yield savings in cost per unit of service support, adding 54,000 more users; establish a high performance network that supports thin client, remote server farms, regional and global network operations centers (NOCs); provide commonality, reducing configuration management and maintenance costs; maintain a centralized help desk; possess enterprise software licenses; support new applications; rely on trend monitoring to prevent 60 percent of downtime events.

Personnel Efficiencies: NMCI will reduce training time; provide high quality video teleconferencing (VTC) that reduces travel; allow talent to be focused on core mission.

To achieve these benefits, we had to contract with industry differently than previously. We had to make ourselves look like a commercial customer. We wanted to take advantage of the business process and tools developed to suppor

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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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