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Essay: US Marine Corps IT
Essay: US Marine Corps IT
One of the many systems that the United States Military uses to link its various departments together is the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) system. It was implemented to centralize the database and services between Navy and Marine Core, through the use of new IT Technologies. This paper summarizes the contents of a video conference done on NMCI with Sergeant Matthew Sender at John Jay College. It details the needs of NMCI and the problems that were faced by the Marine Corps after its implementation.
The Need of NMCI
Before NMCI Network, the Navy and the Marine Corps used the Military Force Reserve (MFR) facilities for providing connectivity to military personnel. MFR was a simple network with all the Internet facilities, but its biggest problem was that it was not centralized. Each department of the military, such as Air Force or Navy, had its own part of the network. Therefore, in order to introduce a central structure, it was planned to introduce NMCI. The main advantages of NMCI were stated to be ease of communication, fewer servers, and less downtime.
Issues with NMCI
The project was led by Navy, but all the development and maintenance work was awarded to ex-military civilian contractors. But instead of providing ease, it turned out to be expensive and difficult. First, the budget reserved for NMCI was mishandled by government agencies, resulting in an overpayment of funds for the equipment bought for NMCI. Then, the process of troubleshooting was made much more difficult than before. Instead of directly contacting IT support, all military employees using NMCI was asked to raise trouble ticket for any issue they wanted to be resolved. This trouble ticket would then go through up and down through the chain of command for approval, with each successful approval costing the government around $100. The Marines were given a very restricted access in which they were even not permitted to use any external storage device, and even installation of software made by government needed a trouble ticket for its approval. Furthermore, the laptops given to Marines for use with NMCI were Dell Laptops with only 256MB of memory for use with Windows XP as compared to the state of the art IBM ThinkPads used before. The performance of these laptops was very poor with the often occurrence of hard drive crashes and blue screens of death (BSOD). The access to each laptop was also restricted as a laptop can only be plugged into a specific port on the wall and couldn’t be used elsewhere.