Navy Moving Ahead to Overhaul its Shore-based and Afloat Networks

by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Senior Analyst

The full deployment RFP for the Navy’s new consolidated network has just been released with the award currently scheduled for this winter. The new network, officially known as CANES, Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services, will collapse the Navy’s five legacy networks into one. The aim is to apply the single, scalable, modular design common for the Navy’s weapon systems to its afloat network. This common computing environment will address many of the security vulnerabilities of existing networks, as well as make extensive use of cloud technology. The scope of the RFP will include requirements for the design, development, fabrication, assembly, test, delivery, integration, installation, and sustainment support of the CANES network infrastructure. The Navy also plans to cut down on the 632 systems on 280+ platforms as part of this effort. The rate of hardware refreshes will take place every four years with software refreshes happening every two years. The contract is expected to be recompeted every eight years.

Back in 2010, Northrop Grumman won the initial rate of production contract, with ship installations beginning this year. There will be up to three awardees for the full deployment contract. At a recent conference Rear Admiral Leigher, director of the Navy’s information dominance office, revealed that due to sequestration and budget cuts, the number of installations planned for FY 2013 into FY 2014 will drop from a projected 15 to 8. Rear Admiral Leigher believed that the impact of sequestration, assuming it remains intact, will have less impact in FY 2014 and beyond.

Rear Admiral William Leigher mentioned that major challenges will be configuration management, application management, and end-to-end sustainment due to the wide variety of Naval vessels and combat systems at sea. Regarding configuration management, one of the drawbacks is the money and labor required by the extensive testing process. One of the ideas proposed by Terry Halvorsen, the Department of Navy CIO, was for industry to potentially take a larger role in testing new capabilities like CANES. Other technologies incorporated in CANES will be voice/video services, computer network defense, information assurance, virtualization, and cloud technology.

If you are interested in viewing or bidding on the RFP when it is released, you can find it at It is also important to note that CANES complements the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) which will be the Navy’s new intranet for its presence on land. The award for that contract is scheduled for the end of June.

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