The Navy’s approach to purchasing commercial-off-the-shelf technology for shipboard networks has cost 44 percent less than the branch had estimated, Federal News Radio reports.
Naval officials told attendees of an AFCEA Northern Virginia event the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services program is not as costly as the Defense Department had estimated as a result of competition.
With a fleet comprised of more than 280 ships and 632 different network component baselines, the Navy cannot afford to sustain the entire fleet with the varying associated network parts, according to Capt. DJ LeGoff, Navy program manager for CANES.
CANES does not involve new technologies and is meant to replace technology systems on 180 ships in the Navy’s fleet by 2020 with a common network architecture.
LeGoff said the Navy has used CANES to combine its five basic networks in order to streamline funding and technology updates, with each ship having the same infrastructure for the network.
The contract to design CANES was awarded to Northrop Grumman in February.
The $37 million contract award could be increased to $638 million, but will have re-competes every four years in order to maintain the low cost benefits resulting form competition, the Navy indicated.
LeGoff explained that the Navy’s acquisition policy prohibits proprietary solutions.
According to the report, the Navy owns data rights associated with CANES’ parts.
The Navy is handling system integration for CANES software and will maintain CANES’ Afloat Core Services as a government set of services that will be completely open-source, LeGoff explained.
Naval officials added to their success story that the Government Accountability Office had found the Navy’s acquisition process to be one of the best managed programs in government, according to Rear Adm. William Leigher.
GAO’s report meriting the Navy’s program success has yet to be released.
LeGoff said the idea of CANES is to not just field a network but also fielding an end-to-end capability that is interoperable.
This may prove to be difficult to enact since CANES will be a conglomerate of varying parts, he added.
The Navy does not yet have a plan to integrate CANES with its Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, which is set to become the Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network.
The branch’s final request for proposals to redesign NGEN, currently operated by Hewlett-Packard, will reportedly be coming soon.