Inside HP's NGEN team

HP Enterprise Services didn't win the $3.5 billion Navy NGEN contract all by its lonesome. We've got the details behind the roles and responsibilities of its largest teammates.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is grabbing the headlines for the capture of the Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network contract. But of course, it’s not basking alone in the glory. It has a team of pretty major players behind it.

Interestingly, none of its teammates are on the HP Enterprise Services team running the predecessor contract, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet that EDS won in 2000. HP later acquired EDS to become the prime contractor.

Its new teammates are: AT&T, IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, and each has a distinct role to play, according to Bill Toti, vice president and account executive, Navy & Marine Corps Accounts at HP Enterprise Services.

Here’s the rundown on roles and responsibilities that Toti gave me just a couple hours after the Navy announced its award:

AT&T: This is the world’s biggest network provider, and “if you want to run the world’s biggest network, having the world’s largest network provider is a good idea,” Toti said.

AT&T will work almost exclusively on the transport portion of NGEN, which has two parts: enterprise (think anything that touches the end user) and transport (the infrastructure).

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman: “They have wonderful defense-related capabilities, particularly in command and control and cutting edge cyber stuff,” he said. While NMCI is considered a very secure network, Lockheed and Northrop have cyber capabilities that aren’t on NMCI. “But if the Navy wants it, these are the people to bring in,” Toti said.

IBM: This is the other huge IT services company in the world. “They bring us both capability and capacity so they are the right company to augment us,” Toti said. “We don’t know what the future holds, so having someone that can augment both our capacity and capabilities is crucial to our success.”

The contract has a 35 percent small business goal, and I’m trying to get more information on that. Frankly, I didn’t think about the question last night when I had Toti on the line.

As I mentioned earlier, none of HP’s large partners are on the current NMCI team. In fact, Harris Corp., which co-led the competing team, is on HP’s team on the continuity of services contract that’s the bridge between NMCI and NGEN.

Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said that HP “reshaped” itself for NGEN.

Toti used similar language in talking about HP’s approach, saying the company did a “reboot” for the contract.

“This isn’t 2000, and we aren’t EDS,” he said. “The world has changed, the Navy and the Marines have changed, technology has changed and the requirements have changed. So you aren’t going to get just more of the same from us on NGEN.”

It isn’t clear yet whether there will be a protest of the award. Harris and its co-lead, Computer Sciences Corp., have not been debriefed yet. The 10-day clock starts ticking after companies are debriefed. We should know by mid-July.

But once that hurdle is cleared, the transition process begins, and work will be moved from the continuity of services contract to NGEN, and the Navy plans for a very formal process.

“We’ll go through a preliminary design review and a critical design review just as if we were building an airplane,” Toti said.

There is a formal procedure for when each element of the network will be moved to NGEN. “It’ll be very deliberate, and they’ll be a lot of teaming between the Navy and the company,” he said. “This will be the largest network transition ever.”