Flexibility Key to NGEN-R SMIT Contract
The ability to meet changing capabilities and doctrines highlights the multibillion award.
The U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network Re-Compete (NGEN-R) Service Management, Integration and Transport (SMIT) contract, recently awarded to Leidos, is structured to enable innovative capabilities to be introduced at various points throughout the five-year base period and three one-year options, say Navy officials.
“We have a modernization plan that we look to help us modernize our existing networks and really meet the future digital needs of the Navy,” said Capt. William McNeal, USN, program manager, Naval Enterprise Networks, at a media briefing. He explained that during each year, the Navy will reevaluate future requirements and needed changes. “That will allow us the ability to not be locked into a modernization plan, but to ensure that we meet our continuing, evolving digital needs … and we’ll flex as we need to.”
“The capabilities and network services acquired through NGEN-R contracts will transform the working environment for Navy and Marine Corps users by providing additional flexibility, enabling cloud capabilities and allowing the [Department of the Navy] to operate, maintain and protect critical operational and business platforms,” said Ruth A. Youngs Lew, program executive officer for Enterprise Information Systems.
The NGEN-R SMIT contract provides for a nine-month transition period. Leidos is currently developing those transition plans, and a kickoff meeting is expected sometime in early March. At this point, the current NGEN contract will begin its ramp-down of services, the captain reported.
He continued that one of the key challenges facing the transition is the implementation of the new capabilities the Navy will be receiving. This must occur while the Navy maintains its existing services, and sequencing will be important.
One of the big changes will be to transition the existing 20-year-old intranet into a cloud-native platform, Capt. McNeal stated. This will take several years, but before that the Navy will be modernizing its transport infrastructure for greater availability and reliability for moving data across the entire network. This would enable movement from existing data centers to commercial cloud facilities without a hitch. The captain noted that the Navy already had begun migrating its productivity services into Microsoft’s cloud for Office 365, and this will continue under the SMIT contract.
Further migration will occur with the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) initiative. The captain said that the Navy is looking to its current storage and computing infrastructure to migrate to Microsoft Azure services via the JEDI vehicles.
One course change already underway is the return of the Marine Corps to a maritime fighting force. Capt. McNeal stated that the SMIT contract is designed to allow the Corps to take advantage of its services as it moves forward. “One of the things that we’re doing is looking to see that the services that we offer—and had traditionally been for the Navy over the past few years—can also be adopted by the Marine Corps as well,” he offered.
“As it stands now, the Marine Corps has an operational construct that it looks to utilize to provide it value in terms of how these services are offered moving forward,” he continued. “So what we’ve just done is structured the NGEN-R SMIT vehicle so that it can be consumed by not only the Marine Corps, but we also talked to other services about potentially using those services as well.
“At this time, we don’t know the Marine Corps’ intent for those services, but we’ve ensured that the vehicle is available for their use,” he declared.