After winning the Navy’s potential $7.7 billion contract last week for network support services, Leidos [LDOS] initially will be focused on developing transition plans to move services away from the legacy vendor and bring on new capabilities, a Navy official said this week.

The transition will occur over the next nine months and that’s the focus of the initial task order to Leidos, Capt. William “Ben” McNeal, program manager for Naval Enterprise Networks, said on a conference call with reporters on Monday evening to discuss the Service Management, Integration and Transport (SMIT) portion of the Next Generation Enterprise Network Re-compete (NGEN-R).

There remains the possibility of a protest of the award. Within the next two weeks the Navy will host de-briefings for the three bidders for SMIT, Ruth Youngs Lew, program executive officer for Enterprise Information Systems for the Navy, said on the media call.

Perspecta [PRSP] is the incumbent on the NGEN contract, which the Navy split into two awards as part of the recompete. Last October, the Navy awarded Hewlett Packard, Inc. [HPQ] a potential $1.4 billion contract for the end user hardware device portion of the program.

In March, the Navy plans to hold a “kick-off” meeting with Leidos that will mark the start of ramping down the services provided by Perspecta while at the same time beginning to ramp up services provided by Leidos, McNeal said.

There are about 40 critical services that make up the current NGEN contract and Leidos’ transition plan will show how the company plans to phase these in on their end while also adding new capabilities, he said.

Some of the capabilities that will be standing up under SMIT include a government services lab and an integrated network operational command and control system for Naval operators and service providers to “manage, monitor and provide command and control services for all the various services that will be provided, both network and data application services,” McNeal said.

Under the NGEN contracts, the contractors provide information technology and support services to the Navy Marine Corps Internet (NMCI) and the Marine Corps Enterprise Network.

“The capabilities and network services acquired through the NGEN-R contracts will transform the working environment for Navy and Marine Corps users by providing additional flexibility, enabling cloud capabilities, and allowing the DON to operate, maintain and protect critical operational and business platforms,” Youngs Lew said at the outset of the press call. The DON refers to the Department of Navy.

McNeal said that while there is a plan under for the SMIT contract to “modernize our existing networks and meet the future digital needs of the Navy,” over the five-year term of the contract these needs will be reevaluated annually.

“So, that will allow us the ability to not be locked into a modernization plan but be sure to meet the continuing evolving digital needs,” he said. “So, we’ll evaluate those plans annually and we’ll flex as we need to ensure we meet our stakeholders needs.”

Asked by one reporter what will change over the next two years, McNeal answered that given the Internet capability in the current NMCI is 20 years old, under NGEN that will evolve into a cloud platform. He also said the transport infrastructure will be modernized to “provide more availability and reliability to the data that traverses from any point of origin across the network to ultimately wherever that data resides, be it our local data centers or commercial cloud.”

As for migrating services to the cloud, McNeal said productivity services are being migrated to Microsoft’s [MSFT] cloud for Office 365 and that will continue under the SMIT contract as the Navy aligns with the Defense Enterprise Office Solution contract vehicle.

McNeal also said that the Navy will be looking to decrease the current computer storage footprint with respect to NMCI and align with the Defense Department’s new Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. The Pentagon awarded Microsoft the contract for JEDI.