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Is the NMCI Replacement Too Risky?

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just published a report (GAO-11-150) noting that the first increment of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) replacement, the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), will cost about $15.6 billion, or $4.7 billion more than other alternatives.

The first increment of NGEN (for FY 2011-2015) will provide comparable NMCI capabilities, such as additional information assurance. It will offer greater DON network control that will be taken away from existing contractors. The projected total cost of NGEN is about $50 billion through fiscal year 2025.

The key difference in the projected NGEN plans is the proposed delivery of this program with 21 contractual relationships as compared with the 3 contractual relationships at this time. * NGEN will be also executed using large amounts of contracts set-asides. **

The principal objections by the GAO are as follows:
1. None of alternative plans matched the currently proposed program.
2. Cost estimates were not credible.
3. Insufficient measures for assessing plans.
4. The proposed implementation is more risky.
5. There is no reliable implementation schedule.
6. Program was approved despite a lack of requirements.

The NGEN program was established in 2007 and has so far spent $432 million. It is supposed to provide the foundation for the future Naval Networking Environment (NNE) based on shared enterprise architecture and common standards, as yet not published.

The GAO report is deficient in that it does not comment on any performance metrics, such as uptime availability, latency or quality of service which are keys to evaluating whether NGEN is superior to NMCI.

Although the Navy disagrees with several GAO recommendations, including advice to stop further work on NGEN, the GAO report raises sufficient warnings to justify concerns about the current directions of NGEN.

* Reservations about multiple NGEN contracts are noted in

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