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Marine Corps sticking to guns on email

Mar. 20, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By | AMBER CORRIN   |   Comments
DISA
Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, USMC, Director of C4, Chief Information Officer of the Marine Corps, believes the Corps' own email system meets its needs, so no migration to DoD's enterprise email is needed. (Colin Kelly / Gannett Government Media Co.)
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The Marine Corps is evaluating the business case for moving to Defense Department enterprise email, but leaders are confident that the internal email program currently in place remains a better deal for the service.

Last fall, DoD CIO Teri Takai issued a memo ordering defense components to establish a plan for transitioning to the enterprise e-mail program led by the Defense Information Systems Agency, to which all of the Army and part of the Air Force already has transitioned. Service leaders were given until January to inventory e-mail capabilities and come up with an implementation plan for no later than first quarter fiscal 2015.

According to Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, Marine Corps CIO and director of command, control, communications computers, his service is evaluating DISA’s email program, but existing capabilities likely will remain the better option for Marines.

“We’re currently doing a business case analysis with DISA and Ms. Takai’s office to see the price of it. Right now it looks like we are going to come under DISA’s price,” Nally said March 18 at AFCEA Nova’s Army IT Day in Vienna, Va. “As you know, money’s dwindling, and just to move unclassified email to a DISA [defense enterprise computing center] – just the military, not counting any civilians or contractors – we’d be over $19 million. I don’t have $19 million just to move email when we’ve already satisfied the requirement to have an enterprise directory.”

Nally said that the Marine Corps has been doing what is equivalent to enterprise email for the past 12 years.

“I can go to any post, camp or station in the Marine Corps and I can log onto any SIPRNet machine with my [common access card]…and get full access to my data. Not an issue,” Nally said. “The other piece of that is before the DISA enterprise email came out, one of initial requirements for [the Joint Information Environment] was to have access to a global address list so we could see any civilian, [senior executive service member or] military…in a global address list. We have that now. We’ve accomplished that with DISA’s help. We have that on the SIPRNet and by the end of this week we’ll have that on the NIPRNet as well.”

The Marines also are forging their own way when it comes to their service-wide enterprise network. After a lengthy contracting process, the Navy now is transitioning from the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) to the Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), but the Marine Corps is taking a different route.

“We’re a government-owned, government-operated environment and it’s called the Marine Corps Emperies network,” Nally said. “So we don’t refer to NMCI anymore. We’re in a different model than the Navy…the Navy decided to go government-owned, contractor-supported while we went government-owned, government-operated with contract support.”

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