Someday, somehow, the U.S. Navy would like to run its networks — maybe even own its computers again. After 10 years and nearly $10 billion, many sailors are tired of leasing their PCs, and relying on a private contractor to operate most of their data systems. Troops are sick of getting stuck with inboxes that hold 150 times less than a Gmail account, and local networks that go down for days while Microsoft Office 2007 gets installed … in 2010. But the Navy just can’t quit its tangled relationship with Hewlett-Packard. The admirals and the firm recently signed another $3.3 billion no-bid contract that begins Oct. 1st. It’s a final, five-year deal, both sides promise, to let the Navy gently wean itself from its reliance on HP. But that’s what they said the last time, and the time before that.
...We told you it was a bad idea. We warned you.
Just to make sure its core networks keep running – to make sure marines and sailors can keep e-mailing each other on Oct. 1st — the Navy is paying Hewlett Packard $1.788 billion. (Booz Allen Hamilton, another outside contractor, handled the negotiations with Hewlett-Packard for the military.) The service will spend another $1.6 billion to buy from HP the equipment troops have worked on for years, and to license the network diagrams and configuration documents, so that the Navy can begin to plan for a future in which they’re not utterly reliant on HP for their most basic communications. In essence, the Navy is paying to look at the blueprints to the network it has been using for a decade.
HP — which acquired Electronic Data Systems and its Navy contract in 2008 — still operates under performance metrics set a decade ago. A typical workstation on the network costs the Navy $2,490.72 per year. That includes an e-mail inbox with a 50-MB capacity (Gmail’s: 7,500 MB), and 700 MB of network storage (compared to Evernote’s unlimited, free plan). Anything above that is extra.This topic deserves a full reading.
A year’s use of a “high-end graphics” workstation sets the Navy back $4,085.64. Extra applications on a laptop or desktop computer can run anywhere from $1,006.68 to $4,026.72 annually. A classified Ethernet port — $9,300 to $28,800 per year, depending on where it’s located.
What’s more, HP isn’t required to take security measures like hard disk encryption, threat heuristics, and network access control that are common today, but were exotic in 2000. “Anti-spam services” runs the Navy $2.7 million per year under the contract. Cleaning up a “data spillage” – classified information that got placed an unclassified network – costs $11,800 per incident. In 2008, the Navy paid about $5 million to wipe the data from 432 compromised computers. That’s “almost 10 times the cost of simply destroying the affected machines and replacing them with new ones,” the Washington Times reported.
Laugh, cry of scream. Let's laugh (standard Kristen warning).