The Navy’s transition from the behemoth Navy-Marine Corps Intranet has begun.
The service has purchased intellectual property from HP, the Marines have purchased some of the network infrastructure and a new solicitation is expected in a matter of weeks for cybersecurity services.
All of this is just the beginning of the move to the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) from NMCI, said Capt. Scott Weller, NMCI program manager.
Over the next year, the Navy will issue five RFPs to transition the contract to NGEN by 2014.
Weller said the first one on tap is for independent verification and validation (IV&V) services for the network’s cybersecurity posture. He said a RFP could be out in a matter of weeks and an award is scheduled for next spring.
The other RFP and awards are scheduled to be issued sometime starting this winter through next fall.
“We do have two different management domains under NGEN, one for the Navy and one for Marine Corps,” said Capt. Tim Holland, NGEN program managers. “They are the same service delivery models; the only differences are who does what. With the Navy, it’s predominantly contractor provided with a government role in oversight and leadership where as with the Marine Corps primarily the Marines Corps…will be the service provider supported by a number of vendors to help enable them in their mission function.”
The Navy awarded EDS-which was bought by HP-a $6 billion contract in 2000 to manage its network soup-to-nuts for 700,000 sailors and Marines in 3,000 locations around the world. The seat management contract, which includes all hardware and software, grew to more than $8 billion and will end up being worth almost $12 billion by the time the Navy fully implements NGEN.
In July, the Navy awarded HP a NMCI continuity of services contract to serve as the transition between NMCI and NGEN. The deal is for 43 months and worth $3.4 billion. The initial NMCI contract expired Sept. 30.
“NMCI has been a hugely successful program for the Navy,” Weller said during a press briefing with reporters Wednesday. “It has been a cost effective way to deliver unprecedented level of service. We learned a lot about how to do it and how not to do it.”
Weller said that the continuity of services contract was built specifically to transition segments into the NGEN environment. Holland also said that previously the Navy would have had to transition all parts of the NMCI network all at once and in a short period of time.
“As we award each of those segments, we will transition into them so by roughly 2014 we will have all of NGEN in place with multiple contracts and at least two vendors,” Holland said. “It’s a slightly staggered transition so we are not biting off more than we can chew, if you will.”
After the IV&V services for cyberscurity, the Navy will issue a RFP for transport services in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Transport services include operation and sustainment of networks that move the data.
The Navy then expects to award end-user hardware such as monitors, keyboards and laptops starting in the second quarter of 2012.
The service also will use the Defense Department’s Enterprise Software Initiative to purchase enterprise licenses for commonly used applications. The Navy expects to complete all of those procurements by the third quarter of 2012.
Finally, the Navy will issue a RFP for enterprise services in the fourth quarter of 2011 with an award about a year later.
“This is basically the way to describe the end-user experience,” Holland said. “This is bringing together the software licenses, the end-user hardware and making it work riding on the transport layer so the end user has a very rich experience that is at least as good as the experience they get with NMCI today and our objective is that it be much better.”
Weller said the everyday user of the network will see little if any difference. It’s the operational and acquisition functions that will experience the biggest changes.
Beginning with the continuity of service contract and extending to NGEN, the Navy is bringing several functions back in house, including command and control and network operations.
Weller said the Navy and Marine Corps have most of the people already on staff to handle the new workload. But Holland added that the Navy will have to hire some new employees.
“Less than one-half of 1 percent of the total labor required to deliver the service end-to-end is the amount of increase,” Holland said. “It’s approximately 300-to-400 people total across entire global that we are increasing.”
He added that about two-thirds of these new employees already are hired.
One challenge the Navy faced with NMCI that Weller and Holland believe they will not face with NGEN is the change management of getting everyone used to using one network and giving up local control.
Weller said a lot of the complaints about NMCI over the years resulted in frustration of not having the autonomy many bases and offices once had.
“Anytime you transition from where you have a high degree of localized control to a high degree of centralized control, there will be some disgruntled folks,” Weller said. “I think since we already are in that world, about 70 percent of the Navy’s IT infrastructure, we are in a world where the Navy has complete control and authority over how we operate the network. That has allowed us to maintain extremely high degree of security, which is frankly our number one issue. The only way that we are aware of you can do that is to have tight configuration management and tight central control. So that is where a lot of the complaints came from. To that note, what have we done to lessen blow in future? I think the answer is we don’t need to because we are already there.”
The most recent NMCI customer satisfaction survey from June found about 84 percent of the users were pleased with the network, according to HP. Users also rated the professionalism of HP’s staff with the highest satisfaction scores, while Internet performance and a recent software rollout received the lowest satisfaction scores.
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