On Sept. 20, the Department of the Navy (DON) announced a six-month adjustment in the award schedule of the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) Re-compete (NGEN-R) primary contracts to late 2018.
NGEN is the current contract that provides information technology (IT) and support services to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN). The two networks support Navy and Marine Corps users in the Continental United States (CONUS) and Marine Corps users Outside of the Continental United States (OCONUS). NGEN-R is the follow-on contract to NGEN and will provide IT and support services to NMCI, MCEN, and DON OCONUS users via the OCONUS Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-Net).
While NGEN is a single contract, the Navy’s future IT acquisition strategy is to segment services into four contracts. The primary NGEN-R contracts are:
- End User Hardware (EUHW) covering end user hardware-as-a-service and hardware for purchase.
- Service Management, Integration, and Transport (SMIT) covering network services, including print services, systems integration, software core build services, service desk and computer network defense.
Instead of awarding the EUHW and SMIT contracts by June 2018 as originally announced, the NGEN-R acquisition schedule has been modified for contract awards in late 2018. The EUHW contract is now slated for a November 2018 award. The SMIT contract award will be in December 2018.
The change in the acquisition schedule was driven by a number of factors, said Capt. Don Harder, the principal deputy program executive officer for Enterprise Information Systems (EIS). Harder is overseeing the NGEN-R effort for the DON.
“Modifying the contract strategy from a single contract, the current NGEN contract, to multiple contracts, incorporating service requirements for ONE-Net into NGEN-R and a desire to buy services the way industry sells them today are some of the items influencing the development of the NGEN-R acquisition documents,” Harder said. “Rather than rushing to meet the originally announced acquisition schedule, we are taking the time necessary to properly craft the acquisition documents. By incorporating extensive industry feedback, we have gained insights in writing language that more accurately reflects the desired end-user experience.”
Altering the NGEN-R acquisition schedule impacts the end date of the NGEN contract, which needs to align with the start of the NGEN-R contracts to ensure continuity of services to NMCI and MCEN.
On Sept. 21, the Navy began the process of ensuring the continuity of network services by posting a notice of intent to issue a sole source contract modification to extend and align the NGEN contract to the updated NGEN-R acquisition schedule. The contract extension will provide continuation of all services for a period of 23 months along with 39 months of EUHW transition services.
When the original NMCI services contract expired, the Navy considered dividing network services into a number of awardable contract segments. Instead of multiple contracts, a single contract, NGEN, was awarded in 2013.
With NGEN-R, the Navy decided to return to the original goal of multiple contract segments. As work began on the acquisition strategy, the Navy considered the potential for as many as six contracts.
As the government met with industry to discuss capabilities, network enhancements and potential contract segmentation, the acquisition strategy matured and the number of potential contract segments was reduced to four: EUHW, SMIT, commercial cloud hosting services and productivity services. The Navy has already awarded cloud contracts. For productivity services, the Navy intends to leverage the upcoming Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS) contract vehicle.
“Separating IT services into multiple contracts provides us an opportunity to take advantage of industry best practices which make management, financial, and competitive sense,” Harder said. “Additionally, the multiple contracts will benefit the Navy through enhanced capabilities and services from multiple, cost-competitive bids.”
Industry participation is a critical piece in the NGEN-R acquisition approach for EUHW and SMIT. Involving industry in the early stages of developing the requirements and drafting the acquisition documents will lead to comprehensive and practical, performance work statements (PWS) and requests for proposals (RFP).
To date, industry participation in the development of NGEN-R includes:
- Meetings with more than 40 vendors between July 2015 and May 2016.
- Three Industry Days (November 2015, May 2016 and January 2017) .
- Opportunity to respond to numerous requests for information and hundreds of pages of draft acquisition documents including a draft PWS for both EUHW and SMIT.
- Weekly industry conference calls since August 2017.
- Held 28 one-on-one Navy/industry question-and-answer sessions in September 2017.
The DON also plans to hold an Engineering Day to answer detailed technical questions from industry.
The adjustment in the NGEN-R award schedule allows for the implementation of a new “sprint” contract development process that allows the DON to rapidly release draft acquisition documents to industry for feedback on an incremental basis as they are developed. In a traditional acquisition process, industry would only see completed draft PWSs and RFPs, which limits the government’s ability to incorporate feedback while working to maintain the acquisition schedule.
“The increased industry interaction encourages and promotes industry feedback early in the process to assist us in developing better acquisition documents,” Harder said. “The iterative document reviews give industry an opportunity to understand the capabilities the Navy and Marine Corps are seeking and it provides us with insight regarding industry’s ability to provide what we are requesting.”
NGEN-R, which builds on the NGEN contract, is designed to be more cost efficient while ensuring innovation, continued security and a faster migration to cloud services.
Additional capabilities the Navy and Marine Corps expect from the NGEN-R contracts include:
- Unified capabilities such as enterprise Internet Protocol (IP) based voice, video and collaboration services.
- Cloud-based productivity services and application hosting.
- Continued infrastructure technology refresh and modernization aimed at providing state-of-the-shelf capabilities.
- Convergence of ONE-Net and NMCI services into the NGEN-R operating model.
The Navy wanted to include many of these requirements in the original NGEN contract, but at the time the capabilities were not mature enough. Four years later, industry has evolved those services.
“The capabilities and network services that will be acquired through NGEN-R will revolutionize and transform the working environment for Navy and Marine Corps users with additional flexibility and cloud capabilities while providing the DON with more affordable IT solutions,” Harder said.
Another major change between the NGEN and NGEN-R family of contracts is the inclusion of ONE-Net services in the contract.
Historically, the Navy has purchased network services for NMCI, the network in the continental United States and Hawaii, and ONE-Net, the network that provides global voice, video and data connectivity at bases and piers located OCONUS, through separate contracts.
With NGEN-R, the Navy will provide IT services for both networks through a single contract vehicle.
“Incorporating NMCI and ONE-Net services into the same contract will drive standardization of network infrastructure, services and processes,” Harder said. “Additionally, this step will enable and position the Navy for the eventual merger of the two networks sometime in the future.”
Under NGEN-R, NMCI and ONE-Net will continue to operate as two separate networks for the foreseeable future. The timing of the creation of a single Navy network has not yet been determined.
To ensure the successful award of the NGEN-R family of contracts without any gaps in network service, the Navy and Marine Corps needs to extend the NGEN contract.
Negotiations to extend the NGEN contracts will begin in October following the legally mandated notice period for a sole source contract action. Negotiating and executing the extensions may take several months to complete.
The DON anticipates negotiating a contract extension that would provide up to 23 months of continued network services along with up to 39 months of EUHW transition services for the Navy and Marine Corps. The additional time is necessary to ensure continuity of network services while providing time for the transition from one contract vehicle to another. The EUHW transition services extension allows the current vendor to complete the refresh cycle on the Navy’s workstations during the transition to the vendor on the NGEN-R contract.
“Maintaining our current level of service while including additional capabilities that will transform the working environment for Navy users in the NGEN-R acquisition documents and getting it at the same or decreased cost is a complex and difficult task,” Harder said. “This is our one chance to get it right.”
Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems
The Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) oversees a portfolio of enterprise-wide information technology (IT) programs designed to enable common business processes and provide standard IT capabilities to Sailors at sea, Marines in the field and their support systems. Established in the spring of 2006, the PEO ensures these programs maximize value to the warfighter by balancing cost with the capability delivered to the end user.
Naval Enterprise Networks
The Naval Enterprise Networks (NEN) Program Office manages the acquisition life-cycle of the Department of the Navy’s (DON) enterprise-wide information technology (IT) services, networks and service delivery. NEN’s network portfolio includes the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and the Base Level Information Infrastructure (BLII) for the Outside of the Continental United States (OCONUS) Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-Net). The NEN service portfolio includes services and functions aligned with network, enterprise, cybersecurity and end user hardware service areas.
The NGEN Re-compete (NGEN-R) activity is being planned and executed on behalf of PEO EIS.
Navy Marine Corps Intranet
The Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) is the Department of the Navy’s (DON) shore-based enterprise network in the continental United States and Hawaii, providing a single integrated, secure information technology (IT) environment for reliable, stable information transfer. NMCI represents about 70 percent of all DON IT operations and is second only to the Internet in size. NMCI revolutionized the way the DON does business in both classified and unclassified environments. It brought standardization to 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. As a result, the DON achieved: Increased productivity, greater interoperability and enhanced Information Assurance (IA) security.
Next Generation Enterprise Network
The Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) is the current DON enterprise-wide information technology (IT) services contract vehicle used to provide network services to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) and the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN). The NGEN contract was awarded on June 27, 2013 and has a period of performance end date of June 26, 2018.
Next Generation Enterprise Network Re-compete
The Next Generation Enterprise Network Re-compete (NGEN-R) is the follow-on to the current NGEN contract. NGEN-R will provide enterprise-wide information technology (IT) services to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN), and the Outside of the Continental United States Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-Net).