Navy closes in on NGEN recompete

The Navy's Enterprise Networks Program Office will release draft RFPs in the coming months to solicit feedback on recompeting the multi-billion Next Generation Enterprise Networks contract, which expires next year.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story first appeared on FCW.com.

The Navy is preparing to release draft requests for proposals to industry to help refine the parameters of the Next Generation Enterprise Networks Recompete, which will replace the multibillion NGEN contract that expires in June of 2018.

While the Naval Enterprise Network (NEN) is still fine-tuning the details of the draft RFPs, some major changes to NGEN have already been approved.

The current contract is a single-provider agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to manage the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.  The deal encompasses 34 different services provided to more than 700,000 users at more than 2,500 sites.

NGEN-R will split off two major functional areas from the current single-vendor agreement and create a multivendor arrangement. The two separate components are End User Hardware and Service Management, Integration & Transport.

The hardware contract will include both hardware-as-a-service and hardware-for-purchase components. That formal RFP is expected to go out around the beginning of summer.

The services RFP will take a little longer to finalize, with the goal being to award that  contract about 10 weeks before the expiration of the current NGEN agreement.

At the third in a series of industry days to inform potential vendors and solicit feedback, NEN officials said that the price tag for the two contracts has yet to be determined. Although the current contract with HPE is for $3.5 billion, the Navy is looking for additional cost savings with the new contracts.

However, the scope of work will be expanding, as NEN has announced that in addition to covering the NMCI, the Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-Net), which is currently government owned and government operated, will be merged into the NMCI, thereby creating a single, global land-based network.

The details of that transition are still being worked out, and the new vendors will play critical roles in implementing the consolidation of the networks into a government-owned, contractor-operated system.

Capt. Michael Abreu, program manager of the Naval Enterprise Networks Program Office told reporters at the industry day that NGEN-R is the continuation of the paradigm shift that began with NGEN moving the Navy's NIPRNet and SIPRNet networks from contractor to government ownership.

"Now we're at the point where we have emerging technology and ways of doing business that are now available that weren't available four years ago,” he said. “We now have to adapt to those sorts of things."

He said that since the transition to NGEN, Naval Enterprise Networks made determinations based on feedback from industry that the move to multiple vendors could result in additional cost savings and efficiencies. Government ownership has led to greater control, insight and agility, Abreu said, and he expects to see more gains in the new contracts.

Many of the pertinent details are still being finalized, Abreu said. In addition to the total budget, the Navy is still determining whether lowest price technically acceptable or some other criteria will control the acquisitions.

Although there will not be a prohibition against one entity winning both contracts, Abreu warned that these two RFPs are enormous in scope and potentially beyond the capabilities of any single entity.

"I'm confident that there's an industrial base who can partner together to meet the Navy's needs effectively, drive down costs and make sure that the operational warfighter OCONUS is not disrupted in any way by this change," he said.

Abreu said that even though hardware and services are being separated for contract purposes, the vendors will have to work in partnership to meets the Navy's needs.

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