Four tech industry giants are vying for what is being called the largest technology procurement contract in U.S. Navy history.
The $10 billion contract is not only expected to be a boost for the Navy and the information technology (IT) industry but it could also be a shot in the arm for San Diego.
The four team leaders competing for the mammoth contract include EDS Corp., Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), IBM Corp., and General Dynamics Corp.
The winner of the contract will build and maintain a secure and high-speed intranet for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Navy and Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) will provide U.S. sailors and Marines with secure, universal access to integrated voice, video and data services.
The five-year contract, which will include a three-year option, is expected to be awarded in June. Thirty-five percent of the work will be done by small businesses. The intranet is expected to be up and running by the end of 2001.
Texas-based EDS, which already has offices in San Diego, plans to build a regional network operating center and help desk center here, as well as hire a “large number” of employees if EDS wins the NMCI contract.
So says Rick Rosenburg, program executive director for EDS’ NMCI procurement in Virginia.
“Our solution is a win-win for the taxpayers, the Department of the Navy and for the San Diego area,” he said. “The Department of the Navy will be receiving services at a cheaper price than they pay today. The taxpayers are going to save billions of dollars, and there’s going to be tremendous growth opportunity in San Diego.”
EDS’ team, dubbed the Information Strike Force, includes Raytheon Co., MCI WorldCom, Dell Computer Corp., Microsoft Corp., WAM!NET and a host of small businesses.
Rosenburg said the NMCI contract opens up more opportunity for the IT industry.
“The Department of the Navy is thinking ahead of the rest of the federal government in terms of technology,” he said. “They are really setting a trend. It will be a blueprint for other government agencies to follow.”
Joe Doherty, NMCI account executive for El Segundo-based CSC, agreed.
“We believe this is the first of many contracts,” Doherty said. “You can rest assure that the U.S. Army and Air Force are watching this closely.”
CSC’s team, the Flagship Alliance, includes AB Technologies, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Bell Atlantic Federal Integrated Solutions, Inc., Logicon Information Solutions, plus several small businesses across the country.
CSC, which has about 500 employees in San Diego, won a $644 million, seven-year, IT outsourcing contract with San Diego County last fall.
The county contract is the largest ever awarded by a local government in the United States.
While that contract is supposed to make the county more efficient, the NMCI contract is expected to give the Navy and Marine Corps a technological and strategic advantage.
“The intranet will allow our people to share in a secure way information and the creation of knowledge worldwide, therefore allowing them to make decisions faster,” said Joe Cipriano, program executive officer for information technology for the Navy.
“We also believe it will empower innovation in our work and training by making what we know available, and it will enhance the quality of life for our Marines and sailors and civilians by allowing them to do things like their wives’ tax return while they’re overseas.”
Under the NMCI project, each Navy and Marine Corps command will buy data, video and voice services made available in different packages. For example, basic service will include E-mail, Web access, news group services, copy services, multimedia access and training. Classified upgrades can also be purchased.
Each Navy pier will be equipped with technology that will allow ships to plug into the intranet while they’re in port. Navy ships will use the intranet via satellite while at sea.
Cipriano said the NMCI contract could change the way the IT industry does business.
He said while IT companies sell things like software and telecommunications services, there isn’t one company that provides all information services as a utility.
“We believe that the IT infrastructure in the United States has grown to the point where it can be as reliable as some of the other utilities,” Cipriano said. “We want to be able to buy that IT utility as a service just like we buy electricity or cable.
“This may change the way this service is provided in the future.”