Navy issues draft RFP for next-generation network

Tuesday - 10/4/2011, 5:45am EDT

The Navy has issued a draft solicitation for its massive Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) procurement — a project so large that the winners will end up with responsibility for managing what the Navy reckons is the largest private IT network in the world.

The Naval Enterprise Networks program management office released the draft RFP Friday, matching a timeline the Navy promised vendors at an industry day in August. The service intends to issue a final RFP in late December and will make awards in early 2012.

NGEN is the follow-on to today's Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, a more than 700,000-user enterprise network owned and operated by Hewlett-Packard on the government's behalf.

NMCI is currently the federal government's largest outsourced IT program, and Navy officials have sought to structure NGEN in a way that gives the Department of the Navy greater control over and visibility into its own network.

The draft RFP is only available to vendors who have signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Navy.

Last chance for comments

Capt. Shawn Hendricks, the Navy program manager responsible for the NGEN procurement, said the final RFP will take into account any and all input his office receives from prospective vendors, and he promised to personally read one-page summaries of any comments vendors submit.

"The release of the draft RFP marks a major milestone in the transition to NGEN," Hendricks said in a statement. "It is the last major opportunity for industry to comment on the NGEN acquisition strategy prior to the issuance of the RFP. All of the feedback that we have received from industry to date has been invaluable in the development of the RFP. Our goal is that when the RFP is officially issued, industry will be able to bid on it and execute the requirements flawlessly."

The Navy intends to award NGEN to an undetermined number of vendors on the basis of least cost, technically acceptable, with vendors competing to operate 38 enterprise services.

Hendricks told a media roundtable in August that the procurement would be divided into two segments: one for enterprise services and another for network transport.

The Navy is not ruling out the possibility of awarding both the enterprise and transport segments of the contract to a single vendor, should that route prove the best value for the government.

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