SIGNALScape

U.S. Navy Releases NGEN RFP

May 9, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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After several months of drafts and comments, the U.S. Navy now has released the request for proposal (RFP) for its Next Generation Enterprise Network, or NGEN. The 1,100-page RFP provides guidance for prospective bidders on a contract that likely will total 4.5 billion dollars.

Capt. Shawn P. Hendricks, USN, is the program manager for PMW-205 Naval Enterprise Networks. He says that the RFP's size is what makes it stand out among other RFPs. "It's enormous," he states, "and they [bidders] will have to eat it one bite at a time. Yet, at the end of the day, it all has to work together."

The captain adds that hardware and software costs ultimately will constitute only about one-third of the contract. The other two-thirds will involve personnel, and this may put pressure on industry to keep personnel costs down "in a technically acceptable way," he says. The NGEN program would comprise a conglomerate of many disparate networks serving Navy and Marine Corps personnel (SIGNAL Magazine, December 2011, page 18).

Unlike its predecessor, the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI)-which took the form of a service provided by a contractor-NGEN will be controlled by the government.

The RFP originally was expected to be issued in December 2011, but officials delayed its release to seek further comments from industry on two important sections. The penultimate draft RFP was issued this past March; and the program management office received more than 170 comments from industry in the ensuing 10 days. After reviewing those comments and incorporating changes where appropriate, the RFP was designated for release on May 9, 2012.

Industry now has until July 18 to respond. The contract is expected to be awarded in February 2013. Click here for the NGEN RFP. The RFP number is N00039-12-R-0009.

Unmanned Helos Go Where Warfighters Need Not

May 9, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

With installation of a revolutionary technology--the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System--helicopters potentially could be retrofitted to perform completely unmanned missions. Lives spared and money saved? You bet.

Takai Stresses Need for Identity Management, Improved Efficiency

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland
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The U.S. Defense Department must move to a single identity management system, the department's chief information officer said today at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference. Teri Takai stated that enterprise email is a driver of that system but acknowledged that the bigger concern is the identity management rather than whether all the military services embrace the email migration. Despite arguments among members of a military chief information officer panel earlier in the day, Takai said she is glad the discussion came up because people need to understand that finding the right solution for identity management is difficult. The Army is scheduled to complete migration to enterprise email by March 2013 and Air Force migration will begin soon after. Neither the Navy nor the Marine Corps has plans to migrate. Takai has a similar attitude to mobile technology pilots currently underway in the services as she does to email migration. Instead of wanting to consolidate the 50 programs, she wants to encourage any development of capabilities. Her only concern is ensuring that the pilots don't result in the creation of separate infrastructures, resulting in the same interoperability issues common in current military communications technologies. Regardless of technologies tested, DISA has the responsibility to certify them for use on the network. The agency also is running its own mobile pilots. DISA additionally is exploring a single app store for the military where members of any service could come to find applications they need for their missions. Takai also addressed data center consolidation, saying that by the end of fiscal year 2012 the department will eliminate more than 100 data centers. The military services have individual budget goals for reducing their numbers.

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