Defense

Navy set to announce NGEN contract

Shawn Hendricks

Capt. Shawn Hendricks has been relieved of duty as enterprise networks program manager.

The long-awaited multi-billion contract award for the Next Generation Enterprise Network is at hand. After several delays, an announcement now is expected by June 30.

However, the news is blunted by the firing of the longtime face of the program, Naval Enterprise Networks Program Manager Capt. Shawn Hendricks. Victor Gavin, program executive officer-enterprise information systems, said in a June 24 announcement that Hendricks was fired "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead."

The news comes as the Navy's long-anticipated, multi-billion NGEN contract award is at hand.

The final segment of the contract, related to enterprise services, was originally slated for a fourth-quarter 2012 award. On May 29, the Navy announced the latest extension to June 30 while the government renewed discussions with offerors.

On June 24 the Defense Department announced that Hewlett-Packard, which has been operating NMCI for more than a decade, would receive another $680 million in a modification to its $5.6 billion continuity-of-services contract, a vehicle for continuing to run NMCI. DOD has used the contract to keep the old system running since 2010. The modification extends HP's services through June 2014.

The firing of Hendricks "was based on a substantiated Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) command investigation into an improper relationship and unprofessional behavior," according to the announcement. It also said that Hendricks' deputy, Philip Anderson, is stepping in on an interim basis and that Hendricks has been transferred to SPAWAR’s Washington liaison office.

A source close to the situation said it was "personal." According to the Navy Times, the improper relationship involved a subordinate contractor.

Edward Austin, PEO-EIS public affairs officer, told InformationWeek that Hendricks' dismissal is not expected to affect the NGEN announcement.

Since stepping into the program manager role in early 2011, Hendricks has been a vocal leader of the NGEN program office. In many public briefings he defended the program and its delays, and at times became emotional in describing the work his team put into the NGEN effort.

"No one has ever done this before...no one has ever transitioned a network of this size, because there is no other network of this size," he said in August 2011. Nearly a year later, when the request for proposals was finally released in May 2012, he echoed those struggles. "This has been hard. We've spent 18 months fighting just about everybody to get this on the street."

An FCW request for comment was referred to SPAWAR public affairs. At press time, Navy officials had no further comment.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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