Contract Protest Does Not
Change NGEN Vision
the next-generation network will offer a shift
The U.S. Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network will introduce a host of new capabilities for users when it is implemented. These improvements will become apparent over time as the system’s flexibility allows
in how its users conduct daily operations.
for technology upgrades and operational
innovation on the part of its users.
The network’s overall goals remain
the same despite a protest over the con-
tract award. However the protest is resolved, the program is
designed to provide networking at less cost and with more
flexibility to adjust for changes that emerge as a result of opera-
tional demand or technology improvements. These new capa-
bilities could range from greater use of mobile technologies to
virtual desktops dominating user environments.
Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information
officer, emphasizes that the user community at first will see
little change when the Next-Generation Enterprise Network
(NGEN) begins operation. The Navy’s goal is for a seamless
changeover from the existing Navy/Marine Corps Intranet
(NMCI) to NGEN. “The user community initially won’t see any
differences as we move forward in NGEN,” he says. “Everything
we’re doing initially should be transparent to the user, and we
have good plans in place to make that happen.”
NGEN aims to serve 800,000 users, 400,000 workstations
and 2,500 locations in the United States and Japan. The
Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet will be operating
the network with full command and control. Contractor per-
sonnel will perform some hands-on activities.
Anticipating the changeover from NMCI to NGEN, the
Navy began one element of a transition effort last year. This
entailed expanding its network operational command and
control workforce so the service could assume greater control
of the network as the transition ramped up. The service also
established governance procedures over the same timespan.
Concurrently, the Marine Corps took its own measures to
establish a transitional environment well before the expected
contract award (see page 47).
Halvorsen offers that, as the Navy moves further into
NGEN, users might have more interaction with government
personnel when they have a problem in areas such as secu-
rity or policy. Ultimately, the biggest effect on the user will
involve changes in the network that arise from the Navy’s
ability to sever and compete services differently.
The approach for structuring the NGEN contract was
to divide it into segments. This eschewed the traditional
By ROBERT K.
monolithic network in favor of several indefinite delivery/
indefinite quantity elements within the contract. The philoso-
phy, according to Navy officials, is to provide services from a
network owned by the Navy.
Deconstructing the network into segments and services
itself serves two goals. First, the Navy can separate enter-
prise services such as email from NMCI’s bundled solution.
Second, the segments allow for increased competition and
upgrades as new technologies and capabilities emerge.
Halvorsen notes that cost will be the major driver for
change down the road. “Better value and reduced costs will
be the two biggest factors that drive how we would change
the way we’re doing segments,” he offers.
For example, a new way of providing email services may
emerge that is much more cost-effective than the existing
method. NGEN will allow the Navy to sever that email ser-
vice and compete it independently from the rest of the con-
tract. “That [severing capability] will allow us to take advan-
tage of technology cost shifts in the marketplace around
individual sets of information technology services and not be
constrained to looking at the entire network and services as a
single bundle,” he states.
The ability to upgrade the network by severing capabilities
is designed around the program’s segments. Even if an inno-
vative capability or technology emerges, the program will not
fragment an existing segment. Any severing will take place
along the lines of the existing segment definitions. Halvorsen
emphasizes that this will not inhibit innovation.
“What’s defined [as segments] is pretty broad,” he explains.
“It’s not defined narrowly; it’s a pretty wide spectrum—pretty
‘industry-acknowledged’ if not actual industry standards.
“The way we defined it gives us the flexibility we would
need and the flexibility that would be reflected by changes in
the commercial world,” Halvorsen declares.
Technical standards have emerged from work among the
Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and
the Marine Corps Systems Command. One NGEN goal is
to allow new industry standards to be incorporated into the
Halvorsen emphasizes that cost, and not necessarily tech-
nology innovation, will be the main determinant of change.
“We are not, most of the time, wanting to be on the bleeding
edge of technology,” he says. “We want to be in that sweet
spot where we are using the latest proven technology that
also would show us either benefits in capability or reduced