UPDATE: The Navy has announced that it is pushing the award of the NGEN-R contracts to November and December 2018 for the respective hardware and services contracts. However, the Navy is promising increased industry interaction for this opportunity in that extended time frame.
UPDATE: The Navy has released additional documents including a number of “Process Guides” outlining how it will evaluate contractor performance in areas ranging from “Asset Management” to “Service Level Management.” Comments from the industry are welcomed by the Navy and are due on September 22 to the provided address, using the Navy-provided comment resolution matrix.
The Department of the Navy (DON) believes that the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), a massive enterprise network spanning 2,500 locations with 700,000 users, is ready to move into the next phase of IT evolution. With an RFI released in July 2015, and two subsequent industry days, the Navy has begun formulating a plan for the follow-on to the current $3.5 billion Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract, in what will be named the NGEN Re-Compete (NGEN-R). In what is bound to be great news for any company other than Hewlett-Packard, the sole incumbent on the current contract, the Navy seems intent on awarding NGEN-R to multiple sources.
Building the Navy Marine Corps Intranet
These major NMCI contracts began in 2001 after what the Navy describes as the “The Wild West” of the 1990’s, in which multiple networks and contracts made for a disjointed set of IT capabilities. In October of 2000, DON awarded the first NMCI contract to Electronic Data Systems (EDS), originally for a 5-year base period and three 1-year options totaling $6.9 billion. Almost immediately, the contract was extended to a 7-year base period with three 1-year options. Under this contract, EDS was obligated to subcontract 35% of it’s orders to small businesses. Using this first contract, the DON constructed the single Navy Marine Corps Intranet with services from EDS, until the company was acquired by Hewlett Packard in 2008.
Continuity of Services – The Gap Between NMCI and NGEN
After the NMCI contract ended in 2010, the DON sought to improve NMCI capabilities through a large NGEN contract. However, with NMCI services ending and a need for continued coverage, the DON implemented the Continuity of Services Contract (CoSC) with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services. With a NAICS code of 518210 and a maximum ceiling of $3.4 billion, the DON utilized the sole-source IDIQ not only to maintain coverage and support for the NMCI enterprise until NGEN could be implemented, but also for further upgrades to the enterprise services and infrastructure. While the Navy used HP’s services to strengthen the network infrastructure, it began to recognize the importance of cybersecurity upgrades and upkeep. In the later years of CoSC, as the DON transitioned to the NGEN contract, there was a more focused effort on enterprise cybersecurity.
In the fall of 2013 NMCI, still maintained and operated by HP as a sole-source provider, was hacked by Iranian-linked groups in an intrusion into the network that lasted up to 4 months. The intrusion, in part, was blamed by some on the contractor handling of cybersecurity efforts in the network. While the Navy was able to put enough “cyberwarriors” on Operation Rolling Tide to clean up the alleged Iranian presence on the network, this has had a major impact on the Navy’s view of the importance of cybersecurity in operations and procurement, with the head of Navy Cyber Command stating in 2015, “It’s influenced pretty much every process I have and every investment that I have.”
This cybersecurity trend is not limited to the Navy, as discussed previously by EZGovOpps.
NGEN – Balancing Speed and Security After a Major Breach
In 2013, the Navy transitioned to the NGEN vehicle, awarded again to HP Enterprise Services, leading a team of other companies including IBM, with a small-business subcontracting requirement of 35%. The contract was awarded as a sole-source opportunity for a 1-year base period worth $322 million, with four more 1-year options for a total contract value of $3.5 billion over 5 years. The contract includes over 30 task areas, with broad service categories ranging from IA security services, to enterprise services, to voice, video, and data services. In awarding the contract, the Navy believes that NGEN allowed for the improvement of NMCI into a more “secure, integrated, agile” tool for the warfighter.
Now that the NMCI has been organized and strengthened for over 15 years into an effective network, the DON is seeking to improve the speed, security, and reliability of what is becoming an important information tool on not just an administrative level, but a tactical level too. To do this, the Navy is keen on further improvements to the NMCI through the use of cloud-based services. In particular, the Navy is interested in utilizing software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and optimizing enterprise-level mobile device management. In total, the Navy is currently planning on including 55 contract segments grouped into 6 areas which include:
- End user hardware
- Productivity services
- Cloud delivery
- Service Management
- Service integration
While the Navy hasn’t released an RFP yet, EZGovOpps understands that these services should fall under the NAICS code of 541512 -Computer Systems Design Services- with a small business size standard of $27.5 million. Although the contract may be awarded without a small business set-aside, it is being awarded to multiple companies, a major move away from the sole-source contracts used for NMCI in the past. This information, combined with the diverse set of services required through the contract and the Navy’s acknowledgement of the small business interest in the recompete, means that prime contractors will need teaming partners for such a large undertaking.
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