Information Warfare: August 19, 2004


The U.S. Navy is spending over $8 billion to connect nearly 400,000 PCs into one large, and secure (all data is encrypted) Internet like network. This will provide high speed, hassle free communications for everyone involved. At least in theory. This effort is called the NMCI (Navy Marine Corps Intranet) project. After four years of effort, its finally paying off. Sort of. Its not as easy as it sounds, because the navy found that there were over 100,000 different bits of software being used on navy PCs. Some of this software was created by sailors to do some work, but the navy never really knew about this home brew stuff. At least not until they tried to get all navy PCs to communicate as a form of super-Internet. Initially, all the disruption caused by standardizing PC operating systems and software upset a lot of users. By late 2003, some 50 percent of navy PC users were unhappy with NMCI. But by early 2004, 60 percent were satisfied, and as of June, 2004, 80 percent were satisfied. However, the improvement is not all it appears to be. Users are asked to rank their satisfaction on a 1 (not) to 10 (very) scale. Anyone who comes in at 5.5 or higher, on average, is satisfied. Users dont like the idea that they have lost some control over their PC (which now has a lot of network standards to conform to), and that their computers are slower now because of all the network software.

Ultimately, the Department of Defense wants all the services to be able to communicate with each other quickly, easily and at high speed via a special military Internet. But first, each service has to get all of its own people working together. 


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