HP wins first big slice of Navy’s NGEN-R contract

Over more than a decade, Navy and Marine Corps IT users have gotten used to seeing ubiquitous HP nameplates on the computers on their desks. That’s not changing anytime soon.

On Tuesday, the company’s government-focused subsidiary, HPI Federal LLC, won a long-awaited contract to supply laptops, desktops and other computing devices as part of the Navy Department’s recompetition of its Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract.

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The fixed-price award was valued at $358 million for the initial three-year term, but Navy officials said it could be worth nearly $1.4 billion over the next decade if the government exercises all of its contract options.

Although it’s not quite the same company as it was back then, HP has been the dominant name in the Navy Department’s enterprise IT space since 2008, when it acquired EDS, the company that had operated the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet since the early 2000s. In 2013, HP also won the $3.5 billion NGEN contract to continue running NMCI, though it later spun off the enterprise services division that does that work to a firm that’s now called Perspecta.

HP was one of three companies that bid on the end-user hardware (EUHW) portion of the latest NGEN contracts, but it’s expected to be the smaller of two awards in the recompetition, which the Navy refers to as NGEN-R.

Acquisition officials decided several years ago to split NGEN into two primary contracts during the recompete, and have yet to make a decision on the second piece of NGEN-R, known as Service Management, Integration, and Transport (SMIT). The request for proposals was released a year ago, and the award has been delayed several times. Officials said Tuesday that they now expect to make the SMIT award by March of 2020.

“The award of the NGEN-R EUHW contract is the culmination of several years of hard work towards moving from a single service contract to a multi-sourced contract model,” Capt. Ben McNeal, the program manager for the Naval Enterprise Networks Program Office said in a statement. “Multiple contracts foster competition amongst bidders in price and services delivered while allowing the DON to leverage best-in-class service providers through various contract segments.”

The new contract will give the Navy and Marine Corps the option to either buy computing hardware outright or get them in leasing arrangements from HP “as a service.” The award covers laptops, desktops, tablets, virtual desktops, and thin client devices as well as peripherals like keyboards, mice, monitors and docking stations.

Navy officials said one key feature of the contract is that the devices the two services get from HP will include a feature known as “automated provisioning,” eliminating the need to manually configure newly-bought computers.

“We will deploy new devices using pre-defined procedures executed over the network,” McNeal said. “As a result, the user can set up or update their device without the human intervention of a technician, which allows us to ship out-of-the-box devices direct from the vendor to users. The device will arrive and all you have to do to make it work is to plug it in to start the auto-provisioning process. It will not need to go to an imaging facility. It won’t need to be set up or re-imaged by someone else.”

The Navy plans to use the contract to replace 400,000 “seats” worth of computing hardware over the next three years. In addition to the initial swapping-out of older computers with new ones, officials said the contract includes provisions that will continually update the hardware specifications it demands from HP with “state-of-the-shelf” standards.

“Commercial SOTS standards will maintain pace with market technological advancements, feature enhancements, and expansions, and market-driven performance increases,” Kimberly Bolen, the program office’s director of operations wrote in a post accompanying the contract announcement.  “They will provide Navy and Marine Corps customers expanded options and access to current technology as hardware updates become available in the marketplace.”

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