Huge Intranet Project Stirs the Pot for IT Programs
Huge Intranet Project Stirs the Pot for IT Programs<@VM>Information Backplane<@VM>Other IT Projects<@VM>Contract Consolidation Ahead<@VM>Navy's Top IT Contractors*
By Carole Shifrin
The Department of the Navy is about to roll out procurement details for its omnibus Navy/Marine Corps Intranet, a multibillion dollar information technology project designed to provide secure voice, video and data services to all service members and employees of the Navy and Marine Corps.
The ambitious program will bring separate connectivity initiatives into a single plan designed to provide a core set of common services to 450,000 Navy and Marine desktops at bases throughout the continental United States and Hawaii.
"The services must support both business applications and warfighting missions with assurance, capacity and responsiveness," said Joseph Cipriano, the Navy's program executive officer for information technology. "The Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (N/MCI) will securely and reliably get information to people when they need it."
The winning contractor will be responsible for providing "everything necessary" for the end-to-end network, including hardware, switches, routers, computers, software, communications services and other associated capital infrastructure improvements. The contract sought, at a fixed price per seat, also will include maintenance, training and operation of the infrastructure.
Cipriano, who estimated the contract's value at "billions of dollars," said the N/MCI must include the appropriate information security mechanisms and a sufficiently flexible architecture to respond to evolving external and internal threats. Also, it must be interoperable with allied forces.
Besides being all encompassing, challenging and expensive, the procurement also is on a fast track. The Navy wants basic services up and running for all users by the end of 2001, with full service in place by the end of 2002, Cipriano said.
Because it will transfer "both the responsibility and the risk for providing and managing the vast majority of Department of Navy desktop, server, infrastructure, communication assets and services" to the commercial sector, N/MCI represents a major shift in the service's procurement policy.
"We're no longer looking to build and own infrastructure. Rather, we are going to specify and buy a service," said Cipriano.
Daniel Porter, the Navy's chief information officer, sought to draw a parallel between the Navy and the commercial sector, which adapts advances in information technology and knowledge management to gain competitive advantages in the marketplace. While the Navy does not directly match the industry model, he said, its position in the defense environment has similarities.
"The department must aggressively integrate IT technology into our tactical and business practices to maintain information superiority and ensure that our competitive edge in defense of the country is not lost," he said.
N/MCI is designed to complement another major ongoing IT effort by the Navy, its Information Technology for the 21st Century program. IT-21 has been focused on expanding and updating the Navy's communications and computing capability aboard ships. The new intranet project will complete the interconnection, Cipriano said, to provide an end-to-end capability throughout the Navy.
The IT-21 initiative, which entails accelerating the fielding of upgraded command, control, communications and computer programs, is designed to improve warfighting capability, reduce fleet operating and support costs and enhance the life of deployed sailors and Marines.
One element is providing the fleet with what the Navy calls an "information backplane" to support user needs, including an intranet with improved bandwidth, interoperability and security plus computing services.
The infrastructure required for the backplane include elements such as shipboard local area networks, ship-to-shore radio terminals, space segment for satellite communications and shore gateways, along with security detection devices.
IT-21 is expected to cost more than $1 billion for full implementation within four years and possibly $200 million a year for support and refreshment. It is considered an essential component in enabling the Navy to pursue its concept of Network Centric Warfare, where future military operations will take advantage of and rely on the capabilities provided by IT.
Network Centric Warfare "derives its power from the robust networking of a well-informed but geographically dispersed force," according to the Navy.
A program that is not part of IT-21 but leverages the capability of the backplane is Raytheon's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). As part of the Navy's Joint Theater Air Missile Defense system, it is intended to improve air defense by distributing real-time, accurate sensor and weapons data from multiple existing systems to all battle group units.
CEC has been in testing since 1994, and the Navy is scheduled to acquire 200 CEC systems: 150 for ships and 50 for aircraft.
"The IT revolution is just beginning here," said Tony Gecan, engineering fellow at Raytheon's Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems.
Capt. Renny Ide said the Navy began installing IT-21 systems in 1998, first on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier battle group and the USS Nassau amphibious ready group. Ide is director of the fleet and allied requirements division of the Space Information Warfare Command & Control Directorate on the Chief of Naval Operations staff.
While still in the early stages, Navy officials said the IT-21 systems have made a difference to the deployed forces. They have reported more accurate and timely command and control of strike forces, a quantum leap in situational awareness, increased information sharing, improvements in logistics support planning and maintenance man-
agement, and an enormous improvement in the quality of life for those on board.
Ide remembered that on his first deployment, it took six weeks to get a reply to a letter sent home. "Now it is seconds through the Internet," he said.
Issues remaining include the need for greater training before a ship leaves port with its new capability, Ide said, and bringing allies and coalition forces into the network.
While satellite connectivity is expensive, and some allies are not investing as much as the United States, Ide said technologies have made HF radios, which everyone has, more reliable and usable and may provide the connectivity sought. Already, e-mail has been sent between allies using an HF path, and further demonstrations and tests are planned.
Ide said the Navy expects IT-21 installations, which are tied to battle group deployments, to be completed on all its 346 ships by the end of fiscal 2003. "Our basic concept is end-to-end capability, the shore connected to any unit afloat," he said. With N/MCI, everything will come together at the teleport, the communication modes, he added.
A number of large IT contractors, including Raytheon Co. of Lexington, Mass., Litton Industries Inc. of Woodland Hills, Calif., Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J., Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, and IBM Corp., of Armonk, N.Y., are considered potential prime contractors on the upcoming N/MCI, but most are awaiting details of the formal solicitation before committing.
Some potential bidders, possibly because of the breadth and scope of the project, already are shying away from the prime role. Lockheed Martin Corp., of Bethesda, Md., is one.
"We've looked at the draft [request for proposals] and requirements, and think we're best suited as a subcontractor to a prime rather than as a prime," said Wendy Owen, a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman.
According to the Federal Procurement Data Center and the market research firm Input, Lockheed Martin is, by a significant margin, the Navy's largest existing IT contractor. Discounting funds for professional services contracts, the company had Navy contracts valued at $497 million in fiscal 1998. Boeing Co. was second with contracts valued at $140 million, and Raytheon Co. was third at $131 million.
The Navy's overall IT budget was $2.3 billion for fiscal 1998 as well as fiscal 1999, 2000 and 2001, rising to $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002 and 2003.
Besides the intranet, other IT projects are coming up for bid, as outlined by Input. They include:
? Engineering services in support of air traffic control systems and a recompetition of an engineering and logistics services contract for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. The current contract, valued at $670,000, expires in October 2000. It has been held by Booz-Allen & Hamilton of McLean, Va., since 1995.
? Advanced Distributed Simulation Technology III, a recompetition of the $500 million ADST II contract held by Lockheed Martin since 1995. Also set to expire in October 2000, ADST II involves engineering, logistics, program management and operations and maintenance services for the operation of eight simulation and testbed facilities.
? Engineering support services for the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, a follow-on to a $466 million contract held by Sverdrup Technology Inc. of Tullahoma, Tenn., since 1995. The work includes a wide range of engineering services related to studies, evaluations, logistic support and configuration management of weapons systems. A new contract would take effect in September 2000.
Bids also were due in late September for Fielded Training Systems Support (FTSS), a requirement of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division. The government anticipates making up to six contract awards for FTSS services for Navy and non-Navy customers at multiple training sites around the world. The work is valued at $400 million over 10 years.
One of the Navy's largest IT programs is the Voice, Video and Data Communications (VIVID) contract, under which Lucent Technologies and a GTE Government Systems unit (now part of General Dynamics Corp.) and their respective team members compete to provide telecommunications networks, equipment and services.
Awarded in 1997, the contract is worth an estimated $2.9 billion over a 10-year period. The Navy requires that whatever is installed under VIVID be interoperable with existing equipment already in place. The advanced telecommunications equipment and services will be used wherever the Navy has bases, as well as for ships at sea and in port.
Lucent's contract, broader than GTE's, also includes a local access provision. "By working with our partners, regional Bell operating companies, we are able to provide to the Navy the necessary local access connectivity for either telephony, data or video," said Mike Finn, Lucent's program manager for VIVID and its new business development manager for Navy programs.
Lucent already has more than 80 percent of the IT switching infrastructure in the Navy in the continental United States and is the market share leader of telephony switching onboard ship, Finn said. In the past, however, the Navy bought its equipment as standalone products and systems. VIVID is a structured solution designed to provide the full gamut of products and services for integrated networks, he said.
"It's a very flexible acquisition tool for the Navy," Finn said. It also allows the Navy to purchase, lease or lease-to-own the systems it acquires.
Lucent's work on VIVID already has led to other sales. Finn noted that Lucent's shipboard private branch exchanges (PBXs), like those acquired by the Navy, were evaluated and purchased last year by the United Kingdom's Royal Navy.
One feature of the Lucent PBX is a wireless instrument that looks like a cellular phone and allows sailors and officers to walk around a ship untethered but able to make calls. A sailor on the "sounding and security watch" can make a call immediately if he or she finds something wrong during a walk around the ship, Finn said. "This capability is very sought after," he said.
Another huge IT contract is the $2.9 billion Super-Minicomputer 2, awarded seven years ago to Litton-PRC. The contract, with three years remaining, provides hardware, software and related services to support office automation, finance, inventory, command and control, engineering and training functions.
As part of the Navy's objective to reduce costs by streamlining its support contract process, it has put in place what Charlie Richardson, vice president for business development at TRW's Information and Technical Services, calls "a very innovative management integration support contract" known as Team CX BPA.
The contract was awarded to TRW in 1998 for the purposes of consolidating existing support contracts and contractors providing support to Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious warfare ships under a blanket purchase agreement.
"Piece by piece, the Navy's intention is to consolidate all the many different support contracts it has, approximately 35 contracts and 750 contractors, to reduce administration costs," Richardson said. "If you consolidate under a prime integrating contractor, the burden of administering various contracts is shifted from the government to private industry.
"The goal is to be able to achieve approximately 20 percent in savings for the Navy," he said. The three-year contract, with a $300 million ceiling, is still in its early stages but as individual support contracts come due, the Navy decides, in consultation with TRW, to transition management of the contract to its prime integrating support contract.
Another IT innovation within the Navy has been the increasing use of Palm Computing handheld devices. An example is its use by the Navy's Program Executive Office for Theater Surface Combatants group, which is responsible for ship procurement and monitors work on destroyers at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
According to Walt Koscinski, lead yard production manager, the Palm handheld platform has transformed the detailed inspections carried out as the destroyers are built.
Inspectors, often crawling through hatches and air ducts to inspect every part of the ship, used to document the estimated 3,000 to 5,000 violations per ship in spiral notebooks.
Back at their desks, they would manually transcribe violation information into standard forms, which were then entered by someone else into the main Oracle database.
The manual process, which could take up to five days, was plagued by problems, because inspectors used different terms for violations and called equipment by different names.
The switch to Palm's handheld devices allowed creation of an automated data-collection system with standard terminology, reducing equipment names to 400 from 35,000.
Inspectors use customized electronic inspection forms loaded into the devices and are able to load the data into the main database by dropping the device into a cradle after completing an inspection. The five-day process has been reduced to a few hours.
Koscinski said the process has improved the integrity of the information and allows the organization to analyze and accurately track trends.
The initial program, which covered 30 inspectors and 50 devices at the Bath facility, now is being expanded to the Pascagoula shipyard.
"The Navy also envisions use for this type of solution beyond the scope of ship inspections, to encompass end-to-end data exchange between the supervisor of shipbuilding and its shipbuilder," he said.
|Lockheed Martin Corp.||$497.3|
|Marconi North America||$125.6|
|Northrup Grumman Corp.||$109.4|
|Allied Signal Inc.||$98.9|
|Science Applications Intl. Corp.||$67.0|
|Milcom Systems Corp.||$63.3|
|Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc.||$59.2|
|Newport News Shipbuilding||$56.1|
|Compaq Computer Corp.||$50.9|
Mantech International Corp.
Electronic Data Systems Corp.
Dell Computer Corp.
Government Technology Services Inc.
Lucent Technologies Inc.
*Contract dollars obligated during fiscal 1998; figures rounded off.
Does not include professional services.
Source: Federal Procurement Data Center, Input