The Navy’s plan to re-compete its Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract is helping pave the way toward conceptual work on combining domestic and international IT networks, officials explained.
“Dialogue is ongoing in terms of what we need to do,” Capt. Michael Abreu, program manager for the Naval Enterprise Networks program office, told reporters.
Current Continental United States, or CONUS, domestic data systems are separated from overseas data systems closer to a shore-based operational theater.
The Navy Marine Corps Intranet, or NMCI and the OCONUS Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-NET) will eventually transform from separate environments to a globally integrated network, a Navy statement said.
The integration of NMCI and ONE-Net will bring standardization of network command-and-control and the way network services are delivered globally to Navy shore locations, service officials explained.
“We believe we can expand to OCONUS to be able to improve the services and standardize the services. This requires a lot of engagement with OCONUS commanders. We will drive increased speed, capability and security with less cost over time and get more user bandwidth,” said Abreu.
Describing current efforts to accelerate modernization of the NMCI, Abreu indicated that the Next-Generation Enterprise Network—Re-compete, or NGEN-R, will position the network for faster integration of networks and implementation of new technologies.
Looking at both the near and far term, anticipated Navy NGEN contracts will help foster faster-developing, more interoperable IT systems across the globe. The concept is to create a uniform global service delivery model.
Abrue emphasized the merging CONUS and OCONUS environments, which are now managed separately, will be facilitated in part through the NGEN-R acquisition process.
While the integration of IT networks for more than 700,000 CONUS users with more than 33,000 OCONUS users brings substantive advantages such as greater interoperability and faster access to relevant data, Abreu explained that the Navy is quite circumspect in its approach to ensure protection of operational networks.
“When we are close to the operational warfighter, we have to be careful with how we touch that environment and have no effect on operations,” he said.
Merging the two networks will also include converging two otherwise disparate business models as a way to improve support to operational commanders in OCONUS environments.
“We want to standardize our approach from a security command and control perspective for our network defenders and drive cost efficiencies into these programs,” Abreu added.
Faster-moving IT design teams allow for concurrent design efforts able to greatly reduce developmental time by more than 50-percent, Abreu explained.
Initiatives aimed at making it easier to access relevant data between U.S. and overseas IT networks are greatly enhanced by rapid migration to “cloud” technologies. The Navy is now testing emerging cloud solutions with a mind to quick integration in coming months and years.
“We can leverage an economy of scale or the infrastructure environment, to drive down costs and get rid of hardware needed to store that data,” Abreu explained. “Industry can make changes faster using the cloud architecture. They are able to make patches, updates and security adjustments in the areas where applications are running.”
Using what Abreu called “agile engineering” wherein emerging technologies can integrate more easily, hosting data and desktop operations in a secure cloud can be much more effective than using more servers and computers for a network.