Navy’s NGEN raring to go in spring

The second largest IT network in the world behind the internet will soon officially ask industry for bids to provide hardware, services and management.

The Navy will release its first Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) recompete contracts to the public this spring to manage the gigantic Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) within the U.S.

The process of managing NGEN will be segmented into different contracts and possibly administered by different companies.

The first two bundled contracts will involve end user hardware and service management, integration and transport (SMIT).

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The end user hardware will provide cellphones, laptops and tablets as a service for the Navy and Marine Corps. The devices will be on a three-year refresh cycle. That contract will be awarded in the second quarter of 2018.

SMIT deals with the planning and executing services and management functions to deliver the actual network to those devices. The company awarded the contract would solve incidents and acquire new services. SMIT will provide 32 service areas throughout the NGEN lifetime. The request for proposal draft for that contract will be released in late April. The final request for proposals will be sent out in mid-July and the contract will be awarded in April 2018.

Part of the SMIT contract includes converging NMCI and One Net, the Navy’s worldwide intranet, into one government owned and contractor operated network.

The Navy originally thought about bundling NGEN into six different contracts, but ultimately decided on two areas.

“What it comes down to for us is what is executable and manageable for us on a day-to-day basis. You can break up any given large endeavor up into multiple contracts … there is a strength in being able to look to one or two prime service providers to be able to have that single point of focus, to be able to work well together with them and make them responsible for providing those services,” Capt. Michael Abreu, program manager for the Naval Enterprise Networks Program Office said during a Jan. 25 press conference in Vienna, Virginia.

Abreu said the decision was based on feedback from industry, Navy stakeholders and leadership.

A productivity services contract for basic cloud consumption will come later and will be transitioned into NGEN. Commercial cloud hosting is part of a larger navy effort to get its applications into the cloud, but also works with the NGEN contract.

The Navy approved the acquisition procedure late last fall.

The Navy and Marine Corps began the NGEN contract in 2013 so the services would own their infrastructure and the intellectual property that goes along with it.

Before that Navy networks were owned and operated by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services. The first NGEN contract was also awarded to HPES.

The project stuttered and stopped due to bid protests and then was finally able to begin at the end of 2013.

The services fully moved their IT networks to the NGEN structure in April 2014.

NGEN’s first generation saved the Navy $1.2 billion, Abreu said.

He did not have any cost saving estimates for the recompete; the whole contract over five years will be about $3.5 billion.

The Navy is trying to minimize the time it has between contracts and has a transition plan ready if Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services does not win the contract again.