Navy's NGEN gears up for new contract action

The final request for proposal for the Navy's Next Generation Enterprise Network program is expected in December.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This was corrected Aug. 23, 2011, to correct the slated completion date.

Competition for the Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network is heating up as details of the program are beginning to come out, with a draft request for proposals expected by Sept. 30 and a final RFP to come by Dec. 21, according to the NGEN program manager.

“There is no more important program in the Navy and Marine Corps than NGEN — certainly none that touch so many parts of [our] communications systems,” said Navy Capt. Shawn Hendricks, who spoke at an NGEN industry day Aug. 18 in McLean, Va. “We’re competing this contract because it’s time to compete this contract. Competition is good. Now is the right time.”

NGEN’s 38 segmented network services will be competed within two indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts, one covering transport services and the other providing for enterprise services. Potential contractors will be able to bid for one or both contracts, Hendricks said, floating the possibility that the contract could be awarded to a single entity that offers a good solution for both services. The contracts will be awarded on a lowest price technically acceptable basis, for one base year with four option years.

“This is a full and open competition," Hendricks said. "I don’t care who provides the services, I just want the best value for the government, for security to not be compromised and for the transition to be assured. I cannot afford even one minute of loss of productivity.”

He said NGEN is based on no new developments and no new capabilities — just new services delivery models. That focus on “same capabilities, different way” will help with transitioning between networks, currently more than 700,000 users strong under NMCI.

To ease the transition process from NMCI to NGEN, Hendricks said processes are already being incorporated and exercised.

“We don’t want to be transitioning processes and people at the same time," Hendricks said. "Then we couldn’t isolate problems."

NMCI services have been provided by Hewlett-Packard under a 10-year contract that expired last year, and the company is still providing services under a continuity-of-services contract.

Hendricks said he is confident in the 15-18 months allotted for transitioning from the current state to a full NGEN state, which has a slated completion date of April 30, 2014.

“No one has ever done this before," Hendricks said. "No one has ever transitioned a network of this size, because there is no other network of this size. But I believe we’ve done the risk management."