NMCI follow-on plan nearly complete

The Navy is still deciding whether to keep some functions of the replacement network in-house.

The Navy Department will consider keeping aspects of its Next Generation Enterprise Network in-house. NGEN will replace the Navy Marine Corps Intranet in 2010.Rear Adm. Tim Flynn, the Navy’s program executive officer for enterprise information systems, said Dec. 14 that the Navy might operate parts of NGEN itself, but nothing has been decided.NGEN will also incorporate the capabilities of One-Net, the network the Navy operates to connect operations outside the continental United States.Originally acquired for communications capabilities such as e-mail, NMCI has evolved to provide command and control capabilities, Flynn said.“We may want to insource some of the operational aspects of the network,” he said during an event in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council. “All of this is still to be determined.”Flynn said the Navy will finish establishing the system’s requirements next month and issue a request for proposals in October 2008.“We will start the RFP phase as soon as we get the requirements and have our acquisition strategy, contracting strategy and cost estimates approved by the secretary of the Navy,” Flynn said. “That should be in mid-January. We want to award the contract no later than January of 2010. We need at least nine months to make the transition when the EDS contract ends.”The Navy awarded the NMCI contract, valued at $7 billion, to EDS to connect 500,000 Navy and Marine Corps users in 2000. Last March, the service awarded the company a $3 billion three-year extension.Flynn also said the Navy has approached companies such as Google and Yahoo with requests for information related to NGEN.“We wanted to see if we could incorporate information-discovery capabilities that Google and others might have in NGEN block one,” he said.The service will develop NGEN in three or four blocks implemented from 2010 to 2015.“We don't know what great ideas and technologies will be coming out of industry in the next three years and as far out as 2015,” Flynn said. “When we implement NGEN in blocks, we can incorporate increments that deliver new capabilities as they come about and also make some decisions about insourcing. We’re looking hard at what NGEN is supposed to deliver to the warfighter. This is the most important acquisition program the Navy leadership will be in involved with for the next couple of years.”

Buxbaum is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Md.