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NGEN – Finally! This is a big deal in the DoD enterprise space

By ChrisScott

With only a few days left in the fiscal year to award a contract, the Navy has finally announced the winner of the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) on 27 June. Congratulations to Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services (HPES), the incumbent, for landing the contract!   If fully executed, HPES would get almost $3.5 Billion dollars from the award.

It’s been such a long, tough road to get here. I am certain that the Navy would have preferred more competition.  Only two teams submitted proposals.   HP’s team includes AT&T, IBM, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.  The competitions team was lead by Harris Corporation and CSC, and included General Dynamics, CISCO and Verizon.

Because of the complexity of the contract and the amount of the award, it has taken years of effort to get here.  I shudder to think what each team has invested in this.  I assume that after the Government debrief, there will be a protest from the losing team.  With so much at stake, it’s inevitable.   But meanwhile, we have gotten one step closer to actually making some much-needed improvements in this mammoth network, and that’s a good thing.



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Comment by David Dejewski on July 2, 2013 at 12:45pm

I was the CIO for Navy Medical Logistics when NMCI (now called NGEN) assaulted Navy Medicine. I crawled through the minutia of these contracts as part of the Navy Medicine team asked to review and comment on them. "Resistance is futile" seemed to be repeated as a common theme in every meeting.

I am happy to report that resistance was not futile. In fact, it saved Navy Medicine from the unbelievable financial, data integrity, data sharing (with the other military medical departments), and security pain that these contracts have caused.The cost on my line item-by-line item analysis spreadsheets indicated NMCI cost 9 times more than a non-NMCI solution - though only 3 times the cost was reported (politics). 

Sure, these contracts are worth a lot of money. They will have supporters on the payroll. The dream that these contracts promised was beautiful. The marketing and political push was formidable: Black box IT with maximum security. Simplicity of budgeting. Elimination of cost leaks. Standardization across the desktop platform. Control... Ahh... dreamy. 

In practice, it didn't work the way many people hoped it would. It didn't work when the Army tried it under ODIN either. They (the Army) had the good sense to drop the idea. Costs were in one bucket (more or less), but they were higher. Flexibility and adaptability (outside the prescribed box) were sacrificed. In a joint medical environment, the model would have cost lives - indirectly, but I'm not exaggerating. 

I'm not complaining, mind you. It is what it is and I frankly look at my contribution to stopping NMCI from taking over Navy Medicine as one of my CIO career accomplishments. If there wasn't an NMCI (NGEN), or if this model wasn't such a money-sucking, creativity-crushing disaster, I wouldn't have that feather in my cap. :)

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