Navy plans to pinch pennies on NGEN

The Navy is looking for the best price it can get on the Next Generation Enterprise Network contract.

The award of the Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract will go to the contractor or group of contractors whose proposal results in the lowest combined price for transition from the previous program to the new program and the operation of the new program, Capt. Shawn Hendricks, NGEN and NMCI program manager at the Naval Enterprise Network Program Office, said at a May 18 media briefing.

The Navy issued its final request for proposals (RFP) for NGEN program’s transport and enterprise service requirements on May 9. Under the five-year, $5-billion contract, the winning team or teams of contractors will help run the infrastructure and related services, such as e-mail and help desk support for the new system.

Unlike the NMCI, which was a single, monolithic contract, NGEN is subdivided into two segments and 38 services. Firms can compete for any combination of the segments or components. But firms providing multiple contracts will have to provide varying levels of services across all 38 areas, Hendricks said. The contracts are performance based.

Under the NGEN contract, transport is defined as network infrastructure: the wiring, servers and other hardware; and services are capabilities such as e-mail, data storage and help desks. Hendricks said that the government has no preference if contractors provide a single award or two separate awards to support transport and network services. “We are looking for the best price,” he said.

Subdividing the NGEN contract allows the Navy a more fine-grained look at how the enterprise works and where the costs are. All of the costs under NMCI were combined under one heading, making it very difficult to determine how much was being spent, for example, on e-mail, Hendricks said. In contrast, under NGEN individual components such as e-mail or help desk services will be tracked and have their own guidelines, which will allow the Navy to selectively recompete and adjust those areas over time, he said.

NGEN will succeed and build on the existing Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), which Navy officials assert is one of the largest intranets in the world. NMCI provides secure IT services to more than 400,000 terminals and 800,000 users at more than 2,500 Navy and Marine Corps facilities globally.

The contract is a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) award for the transport and enterprise services requirements.

As outlined in RFP, NGEN’s main program goals are to:

  • Operate the NMCI network and maintain delivery of NMCI network and computing services.
  • Support the NMCI network and associated computing services from cradle to grave.
  • Ensure continued network security and continuing improvement of information assurance capabilities to meet evolving and emerging threats.
  • Provide command and control for flexible and responsive network operations and defense.
  • Leverage Defense Department enterprise security services provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to meet user requirements.
  • Maintain continuity of service during the transition from NMCI to NGEN.

Questions from bidders are due May 23, 2012, and industry proposals are due July 18, 2012. Contract awards are scheduled for February 2013.