Thursday, December 28, 2006

US gov t: Intranet system not meeting Navy goals

Even though the U.S. Navy has already spent six years and $3.7 billion on its Navy/Marine Corps Intranet program (NMCI), the system has yet to meet expectations, and whether it will remains unclear, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The 10-year, $9.3 billion project has not met its two strategic goals: to provide information superiority and to foster innovation via interoperability and shared services, according to the GAO

Although the Navy developed a performance plan in 2000 to measure and report on progress toward these goals, it did not implement the plan, the GAO said. In fact, according to the agency, the Navy has met only three of 20 performance targets (15 percent) associated with the program's goals and nine related performance categories.

"By not implementing its performance plan, the Navy has invested, and risks continuing to invest heavily, in a program that is not subject to effective performance management and has yet to produce expected results," according to the report.

The Navy awarded the NMCI services contract to Electronic Data Systems in October 2000. The contract calls for EDS to replace thousands of independent networks, applications and other hardware and software with a single intranet along with associated desktop, server and infrastructure assets and services for Navy and Marine Corps customers, the GAO said.

In addition, the NMCI's three main customer groups -- end users, commanders and network operators -- showed varying levels of satisfaction with the program.

"More specifically, end user satisfaction surveys indicated that the percent of end users that met the Navy's definition of a satisfied user has remained consistently below the target of 85% (latest survey results categorize 74% as satisfied)," according to the GAO. "Given that the Navy's definition of the term "satisfied" includes many marginally satisfied and arguably somewhat dissatisfied users, this percentage represents the best case depiction of end user satisfaction."

The GAO said neither of the other two groups was satisfied with the system. "Without satisfied customers, the Navy will be challenged in meeting program goals," the agency said.

The GAO has recommended that the Department of Defense implement effective program performance management; expand the measurement and understanding of service-level agreement performance; work to better manage customer satisfaction efforts; and decide whether overall performance to date warrants program changes.

In written comments responding to the report, the DOD said it agrees with the GAO's recommendations and said it has implemented, is implementing, or will implement each of them.