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Research Questions

  1. What contracting alternatives for the full deployment phase of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) system would be flexible enough to accommodate known and unknown risks, provide a broad range of strategies, and provide best value in terms of price and quality?
  2. What common network integration pitfalls and potential mitigation strategies are involved?

The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) system is the U.S. Navy's next generation of networks and computing infrastructure, primarily for use on ships. It is intended to give the Navy a common set of key command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) networks across the fleet. This report discusses contracting strategies for the main hardware component and integration capabilities that will be used with the CANES system. Contractors will design the CANES, identifying specific hardware and developing the integration software necessary to consolidate existing command, control, communications, computers and intelligence functions. The authors examined a number of other government procurement programs and propose five potential contracting alternatives — a single prime contractor, three multiple contract models, and an all-government option. They recommend a multiple-contract model that assigns the technical, production, and installation functions to the organizations that can provide the best value, requires active and continuous government involvement, obtains frequent competitive prices for information technology hardware, and uses proven Navy processes to install the system on warships.

Key Findings

The Authors Developed Five Possible Contracting Options

  • A single prime contractor.
  • Three multiple-contractor options (A, B, and C) with production and other functions carried out by other contractors.
  • An all-government option.

Option A Is the Preferable Contracting Option

  • It requires active and continuous government involvement.
  • It assigns the technical, production, and installation functions to the organizations that can provide the best value.
  • It obtains frequent competitive prices for hardware.
  • It uses proven Navy processes for installation.

Recommendations

  • The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program office should adopt a "crawl, walk, run" approach that targets the most important requirements first and then develops the capability over time.
  • Proprietary source code should be shared between the government and industry, and the design team should work with the operational users of the system to identify functional and end-user requirements prior to system concept design.

The research described in this report was prepared for the United States Navy. The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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