Navy CIO: No Fear of Integration

Virginia Beach, VA â€" Any IT system developer will tell you: When you integrate existing systems, there's a high probability that the system will have bugs and glitches, which if serious enough could make the bigger system inoperable.

But Rob Carey, the chief information officer for the Navy, says the department’s plan to integrate four huge communications systems into a single global network will work. Carey, who spoke here at the Transformation Warfare Conference sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute, said many global corporations already run all-encompassing networks effectively.

The Navy wants to combine four existing communications networks: the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, which serves installations in the United States; One-Net, which serves overseas installations; IT-21, which serves afloat users; and the Marine Corps Enterprise Network. The combined system would is called the Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network []

NMCI, managed by EDS under a $9.3 billion contract which expires in 2010, is already the word’s largest Intranet, and combining the other three large networks would not create an unwieldy mass, Carey said.

Carey said the networks need to be integrated because communications are difficult for deployed units and personnel in Iraq. Carey, who is a Commander in the Naval Reserve and served last year in Fallujah, Iraq, with the Seabees, said accessing information in the United States from Iraq “was not impossible, but it was hard.”

Carey declined to provide a timeline for developing the next generation network acquisition strategy except to say it needed to be soon to have the network in place by 2010, when the NMCI contract expires.