Navy’s $5 billion network award slips to May

Service needs more time to review NGEN bids.

The Navy said it will delay awarding its Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract, originally planned for February, so it can take more time to review bids from vendors, with an award now planned in May.

NGEN will replace the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) , which HP Enterprise Services has operated since 2000 on a $10 billion contract that ran through 2010 and a $3.4 billion continuity-of-services deal through 2015. NGEN will serve 900,000 Navy and Marine users located in the United States, not overseas.

Capt. Shawn Hendricks, manager of the Naval Enterprise Networks Program Office, which manages NGEN in October 2011 set a hard deadline to award the new contract by the end of 2012 so the network could be ready to go when the NMCI contract expires.

Ed Austin, spokesman for the Navy’s Program Executive Office for the Enterprise Information System, said “Due to the complexities of the NGEN requirements, we are changing our contract award estimate in order to ensure a complete and thorough review of offerors’ bids.”  Two industry teams bid on NGEN: HP partnered with AT&T, IBM, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman; and Computer Sciences Corp. partnered with Harris, Dell, General Dynamics and Verizon.

Austin said that as of today neither the possibility of stiff across-the-board cuts in the Defense Department budget for the next ten years nor lack of a 2013 budget have impeded the NGEN award schedule. “However, it is unclear how they might impact the NGEN award schedule in the future,” Austin said.