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Marine Corps Systems Command

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Marine Corps reaches out to industry for IT innovation

By Jim Katzaman, MCSC Corporate Communications | | June 6, 2013


June 6, 2013 -- By Jim Katzaman, MCSC Corporate Communications

The Marine Corps faces the challenge to maintain its information technology system of systems in the face of the budgeting process, according to Mr. James Smerchansky, chief engineer for the Marine Corps.

In his capacity as deputy commander for Systems Engineering, Interoperability, Architectures and Technology, he spoke May 29 at the 12th Annual Naval Information Technology Day. The meeting was sponsored by the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

The annual one-day conference focused on issues and challenges facing the future Navy and Marine Corps. Senior leaders described their visions, operational requirements, acquisition strategies and potential opportunities for industry.

Throughout the conference, participants discussed their needs, how the defense budget impacts their plans and how industry can help craft solutions needed to enable the warfighter in a resource-constrained environment. Navy and Marine Corps leaders talked about current cost-savings initiatives such as the department’s IT efficiencies and other mission-oriented areas.

Smerchansky spoke as part of the Future Requirements and Capabilities Panel, touching on the Marine Corps networks roadmap, top upcoming requirements and capabilities needed to meet those requirements. He said the networks have to strike a balance between serving everyone’s needs in general while still delivering personal service.

“Our network has to operate on its own,” Smerchansky said. “We need to keep it federated but interoperable. It’s a big network, but it’s also a series of many smaller networks providing services right down to the operator.”

Technology Day was an occasion for government contractors and contract hopefuls to ping government representatives about business opportunities, especially in light of ever-tightening budgets. High on their list of questions was how to break into the federal sector.

“There are opportunities, but you need to look for them,” Smerchansky said. “We’re always looking for innovation, and innovation includes taking present technology and using it in a more efficient, more effective way.”

Above all, he added, the government would welcome any help from industry in network configuration control.

“The top story in the last week was about foreign hackers trying to penetrate our computer system,” he said. “The Marine Corps had hardened our network to fight off intrusions. That shows how much we need network security on the government side, and this is one area where industry can step in to help.”