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Defense The Navy Marine Corps Intranet begins to take shape



Local Firms Reap Contracts From Servicewide Project

It’s the equivalent of clearing the harbor for the fleet.

Instead of dredging channels for ship traffic, though, Navy contractors are remodeling rooms and stringing cable for electronic traffic.

Construction is wrapping up on the local nerve centers for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, a secure network that will link the computers of 360,000 uniformed and civilian personnel.

The network will link Navy and Marine land facilities throughout the continental United States, going west to Hawaii and Guam, and east to Iceland.

It will replace more than 100 separate networks, putting all computers behind a common firewall.

The construction also forms the foundation for Internet protocol telephone service among the bases, confirmed Capt. Bill Bry, program manager with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (Spawar). The San Diego-based command is overseeing the installation of the new network.

Bry said from his understanding, the government will not mandate voice-over-Internet-protocol telephone service before 2003.

The Information Strike Force, the consortium of private businesses that won the Navy information technology contract, is investing roughly $1 billion in San Diego, said strike force spokesman Kevin Clarke. He said that counts both infrastructure and personnel.

Plano, Texas-based Electronic Data Services Corp. (EDS) leads the consortium, which counts Raytheon Co., MCI WorldCom and Wam!Net among its major partners. All told, the contract is worth a minimum of $6.9 billion.

Much of the work is set aside for small businesses. As the program has moved forward, a Carlsbad construction company has seen its share of work grow to $75 million.

Rancho Santa Fe Technology-MCS Inc. has increased its staff from 15 to 40 as a result of the contract, said company President Cory Crommett. Counting subcontractors, the company now employs 400 in California, Nevada and Hawaii.

The construction firm originally received $30 million worth of work for the network operations center at North Island Naval Air Station, and the consortium’s help desk facility near the Sports Arena.

In March, the Information Strike Force asked the company to construct nine additional facilities in the Navy’s Western region. A few weeks ago, Crommett said, the consortium asked the company to build a second network operations center in Hawaii.

The network will have six network operations centers in all. Crommett expressed hope he would get a contract to construct a third center, on Puget Sound.

North Island’s Grace Hopper Building is home to the local network operations center. The center will need 340 civilians to cover all shifts, as well as a couple dozen uniformed personnel. Spawar officials estimate the annual payroll for that facility alone will be $38 million.

The Navy is also housing a network server farm on Point Loma.

The private sector consortium will provide information technology services much in the way the old Ma Bell provided phone service , supplying the service while leasing equipment to the customer. The Information Strike Force will provide equipment upgrades as needed.

The Navy will give the network an initial test around July or August, Bry said.

Once the network is complete, the Navy might ask users to identify themselves through biometric evidence such as a thumbprint to get on the network, Bry confirmed. The government is still working on a standard, he said, while testing hardware and developing software.

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