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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Marine Corps IT warehouse: What the ...?

The Marine Corps’ plan to own and operate their own IT warehouse has me scratching my head.

Why is this a good idea? It isn’t clear in the request for information. There is no mention of cost savings or improved efficiency. And shouldn’t that be a top priority in today’s budget environment?

They want ideas on how it will work, and what kind of contractor support they can get. I understand that, but why do they want the hassles of finding a site, maintaining a building, controlling the inventory?

That’s not the Marines' bread and butter. Can they really do it cheaper and better than a private sector company, whose profits rely on how well they perform?

And we are talking IT here, not ordinance.

I just don’t get it. It seems to me that the Marines are asking to raise their costs, instead of using their buying power to tell a contractor, "we need to do this for 10 percent less," and letting them figure it out.

The contractor should have much more flexibility to squeeze out costs, while maintaining its service level agreements with the Marines.

It seems the Marines are taking on too much risk for controlling the costs and quality of this kind of facility.

There are just too many private sector companies that would be cheaper and better, as this kind of service is part and parcel of what they do every day.

It’ll be interesting as this moves forward to look at the price tag for contractor support, combined with the Marine Corps internal costs, and see how it compares to the contractor-owned and operated model.

The big question that Marines need to answer is how this move helps them meet their mission.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 14, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Reader Comments

Tue, Jan 15, 2013

Hello Nick, You are assuming that contractor owned and operated IT is always more cost effective than government owned and operated. That has not been borne out by the decade of experience the USMC has had with NMCI. Therefore the USMC has essentially opted out of NGEN and moved to government owned and operated with minimal contractor involvement. Looks like pre-NMCI :))? The staging and warehousing RFI looks to be part of this larger move away from the contractors. Experience and hard dollars have shown that in the case of NMCI, the contractor option was not cost effective. The real question is whether NGEN will be cost effective for the Navy going forward. Time will tell, but looking at the facts today, it's unlikely to be much different than NMCI.

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 OldCIO

I understand this completely and it is not because I am a former marine and a current large business CIO. The Corps is realizing that their success is greatly dependent on IT. The also know that HP is more concerned with HP profits than the Marine Corps mission. Without direct control, the mission is at risk. I'm sure we could save some money outsourcing Marine ground fighters to China as well, but i don't think it will happen.

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 SPMayor Summit Point, WV

When I saw the article lead I had some quick thoughts along the same line - and then in its own way it makes sense.In fact, contrary to Administration initiatives I think there will be an increased desire by organizations to 'go it alone'. In these constrained budget times, if I am truly mission oriented, I want to be left alone to take care of things because anthing else creates a sense of lost control of the things that are important to accomplishing the mission. There's a strong tendency to want to be left alone to deal with the issues. The idea that I have to work through and with other organizations who I see as encumbering my ability to do what is needed pre-occupies my thinking. The Marines may not succeed in their desire for operational independence but I can understand it.

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