Defense IT

NGEN-R redraws acquisition plan

The Navy’s plan to recompete its Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract aims to save more than one billion dollars, quicken IT modernization and pave the way toward combining domestic and international data networks.

The NGEN Recompete has been described as a paradigm-shift by Navy acquisition officials as it seeks to speed industry and government participation in the network acquisition approach.

This new acquisition plan is designed to build a government-owned, contractor-operated strategy with a new, possibly multi-vendor, two contract approach, said Capt. Michael Abreu, program manager for the Naval Enterprise Networks program office.

The new program will be follow the existing multi-billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet IT deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which is a contractor-owned, contractor-operated model that runs through 2018.

The recompete, which builds upon an NGEN contract in 2013, is aimed at lowering prices while ensuring innovation, faster technology adoption and secure movement to the cloud.

The new deal is split into two separate contracts – a hardware component and a Service Management, Integration & Transport (SMIT) component.

“We believe that we would be better served to split” the two components, Abreu said. “We believe that from an end-user perspective, we can drive costs down on the industry side of the house, while still retaining a close relationship to the SMIT,” Abreu said.

The Navy plans to release another Request for Information to solicit input from industry prior to several draft Request for Proposals before the new contract award is awarded sometime in 2018. Abreu said Navy leadership has approved the acquisition strategy.

Achieving better integration between existing Continental United States, or CONUS, domestic data systems and overseas data systems closer to a shore-based operational environment is another anticipated byproduct of the NGEN-R.

The Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and the OCONUS Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-NET) are looking at additional command-and-control synergies in the NGEN-R contract to help integrate the networks, a Navy statement said.

The integration of NMCI and ONE-NET will standardize network command-and-control and the way network services are delivered globally to Navy shore locations, service officials explained.

“We believe we can expand to OCONUS to be able to improve the services and standardize the services. This requires a lot of engagement with OCONUS commanders. We will drive increased speed, capability and security with less cost over time and get more user bandwidth,” said Abreu.

Describing current efforts to accelerate modernization of the NMCI, Abreu indicated that NGEN-R, will position the network for faster integration of networks and implementation of new technologies.

While the additional integration of IT networks in the NGEN-R deal between more than 700,000 CONUS users and roughly 33,000 OCONUS users brings substantive advantages such as greater interoperability and faster access to relevant data, Abreu added that this must be done in a matter which continues to secure internationally-based IT systems.

“When we are close to the operational warfighter, we have to be careful with how we touch that environment (so that we don’t) affect operations,” he said.

Faster-moving IT design teams allow for concurrent design efforts able to greatly reduce developmental time by more than 50 percent, Abreu said. This means speeding up IT modernization by leveraging more private-sector innovation and using design teams able to keep pace with fast moving technological developments.

As part of the broader effort, the Navy is now testing cloud solutions to decrease costs, access relevant data and increase mobility.

“We can leverage an economy of scale in the infrastructure environment to drive down costs and get rid of hardware needed to store that data,” Abreu explained. “Industry can make changes faster using the cloud architecture. They are able to make patches, updates and security adjustments in the areas where applications are running.”

About the Author

Kris Osborn is a former editor of Defense Systems.

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