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CHIPS Articles: What’s New With NMCI and What Does It Mean to You?

What’s New With NMCI and What Does It Mean to You?
By MC1(IDW/SW/AW) Elizabeth L. Burke, NETWARCOM Public Affairs - January-March 2014
It’s full steam ahead for the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract phase of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network services.

The transition of NMCI services from the current NMCI Continuity of Services Contract (CoSC) to the recently awarded NGEN contract started Nov. 22. Enterprise-wide services are scheduled to be transitioned over a period of no more than 13 months from the current CoSC to the NGEN contract.

While the exact details of the transition are now being discussed between the DON and the service provider, very little about NMCI will change initially for end users.

What is changing is the operating model for NMCI, which has been contractor- owned for more than 13 years. Under the NGEN contract phase of NMCI services, the government will own the network, which will enhance governmental operational control of critical infrastructure.

NMCI is the Department of the Navy’s (DON) shore-based enterprise network in the continental United States, Hawaii and Japan, providing a single integrated, secure information technology environment for reliable, stable information transfer. NMCI represents about 70 percent of all DON IT operations and is one of the world’s largest intranets. NMCI revolutionized the way the DON does business in both classified and unclassified environments. It standardized network operations, data security, technical support and real-time communications across every level of the Navy and Marine Corps by establishing common hardware, software and operating systems.

The original contract for NMCI was awarded to Electronic Data Systems, now HP Enterprise Services (HPES), Oct. 6, 2000. NMCI consolidated thousands of networks into a single integrated and secure IT environment serving more than 800,000 users. This contract provided a contractor-owned/contractor-operated business model for the enterprise network.

As the original NMCI contract ended, the DON awarded the NMCI CoSC to HPES July 8, 2010 to ensure the seamless connectivity and security of NMCI services until they are successfully transitioned to the NGEN contract.

The NGEN contract was awarded to a team led by HPES June 27, 2013. Following the award, two separate award protests were filed with the Government Accountability Office. The GAO ultimately denied the protests, beginning a nearly 400-day transition period, which includes the Navy taking ownership of NMCI.

The Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), the Task Force Commander charged with operating the Navy’s networks, is in the process of transitioning from the contractor-owned/contractor-operated model to a government-owned/contractor-operated model. The two Network Operations (NETOPS) Enterprise Management Division groups driving much of this effort are the Enterprise Services Group and the Transport Services Group.

“NGEN is a game changer for us because no longer do we have to depend solely on the contractor to make decisions. When we fully implement the NGEN contract in 2014, we will be in a better position to — the word we use is — maneuver the network, and that’s a warfighting term. The Navy will have more command and control because we will have more of an ability to prioritize what occurs without having to go through a lot of resourcing and contractual processes. That’s really the key,” said Michael Jones, director NETOPS, Enterprise Management Division.

Deputy Director for Enterprise Management, Theodore “Ted” Knight, leads the Enterprise Services Group (ESG), a team of 28 system support engineers and technicians who monitor, manage, report and prioritize the services provided in the contract. ESG is also the problem management process owner using root cause analysis to solve problems in applications. They perform sSystem Ooperation and Vverification Ttests on applications prior to implementation to the fleet, ensuring warfighters have the operational capability they need.

“Personally, I am very excited about NGEN. I think it’s something that anyone in the IT community in the Navy right now should be excited about; it, if they are not, they shouldn’t be working in IT,” Knight said.

The Director for the Transport Services Group, Craig Bacon, leads a 27-member team devoted to service operations performance management, monitoring all the Navy’s networks for capacity and bandwidth utilization as it relates to transport. Transport moves information around the network because applications would be useless if they were unable to get information to users.

Seen as the industry standard, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and the Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) models are key to the successful operation of NMCI. ITIL is a collection of ITSM best practices which were developed by industry professionals worldwide. The ITSM lifecycle includes: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement. Service operation is concerned with functions, event management, incident management, problem management and identity management. Problem management uses root cause analysis, the 5 Whys method, to troubleshoot network problems. Both Enterprise Services and Transport Services also use the 5 Whys method.

NETOPS 1 Deputy Director, Ramona Farrow’s team deals with event management, the monitoring and managing of network events and incident management, the reporting of network outages. The team prioritizes outages and restores services as quickly as possible.

New under NGEN, the NMCI service desk became is now part of current operations. The service desk helps the team monitor problems users are having and encourages users to call the service desk because problems no matter how small may not receive the attention needed if they are not reported. Some of the services provided in the contract are: Remote Access Services, Electronic Software Delivery Services, Wide Area Network Services, Video Teleconferencing (VTC) Services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Options and Services.

“I am happy about the NGEN construct because it gives us the opportunity to have more insight into what is happening with the network,” Farrow said. “It really allows us to have the command and control that we need.”

What does this mean to users of the NMCI network?

From a network management perspective it means improved performance and faster response times because the government will be taking a more proactive approach to monitoring for potential challenges before they become problems.

“In the customer [service] world, if you are a user of the network, my best day is when user services are uninterrupted because that means everything worked the way it should,” Bacon said.

Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Next Generation Enterprise Network

  1. The transition to NGEN started Nov. 22, 2013 and will be completed no later than December 2014.
  2. Major changes under NGEN include: a new Contract Line Item Number (CLIN) structure, a new ordering tool, orderable VIP services and printing as a service.
  3. The NMCI is continuously evolving with technology refreshes and will keep abreast of IT industry advancements.
  4. contractor-owned to government-owned.
  5. With NGEN, the government has an enhanced role with increased design and technical control, command and control, and information assurance.
  6. The transition from the NMCI CoSC contract to the NGEN contract will occur without any disruption in services and be transparent to the end user.
  7. The NGEN contract will save the DON approximately $1 billion over the Five-Year Defense Plan (FYDP).
  8. NGEN is the name of the contract that provides network services to the NMCI.
  9. NGEN is not a new network. NGEN is a new support contract.
  10. The network is still the NMCI.

For more information, visit the NETWARCOM website – http://www.netwarcom.navy.mil/ or the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) website – http://www.public.navy.mil/spawar/PEOEIS/Pages/default.aspx.

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