As more and more of the military’s non-combat related jobs are being outsourced to civilian contractors, the U.S. Navy is—in one instance at least—moving in the opposite direction. According to the recently released Naval Networking Environment Strategy -- 2016, the Navy is taking the management of its massive Navy Marine Corps Intranet, (NMCI) out of the hands of contractor EDS and bringing it in-house.
In 2000, the Navy outsourced NMCI, to EDS through a $10 billion contract, which it updated in 2006, adding $3 billion to the total. The contract expires in September 2010, and that’s when the Navy says it will assume control of the network. The Navy says that it views its IT initiatives as a “warfighting imperative,” and wants its own people to run, and safeguard the system.
NMCI serves more than 660,000 sailors, Marines and civilians in 620 locations around the world, and has “31 unclassified server farms; 3,000 enterprisewide servers; approximately 345,000 seats (each seat has the capability to support multiple users through multiple accounts); more than 15,000 Blackberries with round-the-clock support; and approximately 2,000 wireless PC cards.”
But the Navy isn’t spurning private industry completely—according to NextGov, the Navy is planning on issuing a request for proposals this fall, “which will likely require the winning contractor to build the system but not operate it, as EDS has done under the NMCI contract.” There are plenty of reasons why the Navy has decided to go in-house to operate and secure its network, and if anyone remembers that April 2007 incident where a civilian contractor tried to bring part of the Navy’s network down when his firm lost a bid for more work, the move makes sense, security-wise. But given the massive size and complexity of the NMCI network, you have to wonder if the Navy isn’t going to end up outsourcing part of the work anyway.