Army Launches $4B Program For Management Of Commercial IT Hardware

The Army wants to hire a company to manage the purchasing and maintenance of network hardware under a $3.9 billion contract announced Aug. 24.

A request for proposals (RFP) for the Common Hardware Systems (CHS) program was released Aug. 24 by the Army’ Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), which expects to award the CHS-5 contract within the third quarter of FY '18

CHS oversees all commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) information technology (IT) products and services for all new and existing platforms, systems, subsystems and component parts of the service’s tactical battlefield network.   

The Army Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) is a large-scale, semi-annual field evaluation of network and non-network capabilities. The U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground (USAEPG) traditionally provides test and evaluation support and instrumentation to NIEs. However, with NIE 14.2, the latest evaluation, USAEPG provided the additional support of a network forensics team that made a positive impact on network troubleshooting, reliability and network protection. (Photo by Amy Walker, U.S. Army PEO C3T // RELEASED)

Army Network Integration Evaluation at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (Photo by Amy Walker, U.S. Army PEO C3T // RELEASED)

“The buying power and rapid execution of COTS IT hardware procurements and services are what makes CHS valuable to the Army,” said Breck Tarr, product lead for CHS. “We want to see proposals with innovative techniques to reduce timelines without compromising quality. The ability to deliver the exact configuration when the government needs hardware is critical to supporting fielding schedules and sustainment.”

The RFP is for a single award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a five-year period of performance that includes a three-year base period with two one-year option periods for the rapid procurement of total life-cycle system management solutions in support of tactical programs. 

 The CHS-5 contract requires vendors to establish a public-private partnership with Tobyhanna Army Depot, to support programs procuring hardware via CHS-5 and having core logistics capability requirements.

CHS provides state-of-the-art computing and networking equipment that improves connectivity, interoperability, logistics and maintenance support to soldiers, and is the Army's primary organization to oversee COTS IT hardware for the Army's tactical network.

 “We remain committed to ensuring that CHS provides timely and relevant solutions to meet the diverse needs of our customers,” Tarr said. “CHS continues to improve the hardware and technical support it provides by implementing several enhancements that were not available in the previous CHS-4 contract.” 

Enhancements for the CHS-5 include a pre-negotiation pricing schedule for the life of the contract, additional warranty options with up to eight years of coverage, added program protection plan language, incentives to provide the lowest price hardware and the ability to procure technical data packages based on competitive pricing. 

“Developing the CHS-5 contract has been a long, complex process, but because of the excellent teamwork between the Army Contracting Command, the Communications-Electronics Command and PdL CHS, we are in a great position to better support our PM partners and our Soldiers,” said Stan Niemiec, project lead for Network Enablers. 

General Dynamics [GD] is the contractor for CHS-4. It won a $3.7 billion contract in 2011 for the program.

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