The company won the fourth iteration of the Defense Research Engineering Network contract.
The Defense Department awarded Verizon a contract worth up to $495 million over ten years for secure, high performance wide area network services in support of a supercomputing network that links together 200 science and engineering labs and high performance computing locations, according to a recent announcement.
The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, or DITCO, awarded Verizon Business Network Services the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity Defense Research Engineering Network 4, or DREN4. DREN is part of DOD’s High Performance Computing Modernization program, which dates back back to the 1990s. Verizon beat out two other offerors for the contract, according to a brief a Verizon spokesperson shared with Nextgov.
“Our managed services solutions will create a next-generation user experience for research teams utilizing the DREN platform while also enhancing security across the network,” Jennifer Chronis, senior vice president for public sector at Verizon, said in the announcement.
Verizon held an earlier iteration of the contract, DREN II, from 2002 to 2012, according to a performance of work statement posted with the original request for proposals. Currently, CenturyLink holds DREN III.
Verizon will operate DREN for up to 10 years, with a four-year base period of performance and three two-year options. DREN4 marks a “significant shift” from the previous version of the contract “with most of the intelligence of the network moving from the network edge to the network core,” according to the performance of work statement.
According to the brief shared with Nextgov, Verizon will move the DREN project away from a hardware-defined structure. Instead, Verizon will pivot to programmable network services.
“Verizon Public Sector’s approach uses generic hardware to support distributed switching,
routing, compute, and firewall functions to decrease non-recurring costs for the program,” the brief reads. “This inverts the value ratio for hardware versus software components, consequently lowering barriers to competition from innovative software companies.”
This in turn will enable greater automation and shorten innovation cycles, allowing for continuous improvements, according to the brief.