Research Report

While the rate of technological change can be overwhelming, the Army’s set of IT Enterprise Solutions (ITES) contracts have managed to evolve to keep pace with technology and its applications. The new contract, according to the ITES-3H statement of work, “is intended to be a total solutions-based contract vehicle and include items that are for the fielding of a complete system, or as part of a total design solution for all equipment items provided on the contract.”
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New and updated Army contracting vehicles have shaken up federal acquisition practices to allow more flexibility in procuring IT goods and services. Contracting is now run by the Army’s Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) outfit. With ITES-3S, CHESS and the U.S. Army Contracting Command-Rock Island aim to help the Army transition to the Joint Information Environment.
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By the time the Army announced the award of the five-year, $5 billion IT Enterprise Solutions-3 Hardware contract in February, ITES-2H had been extended four times. Eventually, 17 companies received contracts, and eight went to small companies. There are now ITES-3H, ITES-2S, ADMC-2 and IT Solutions-Small Business contract vehicles.
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Small businesses are playing an increasingly important role in equipping the Army with technology. In FY 2015, they accounted for $17.5 billion from close to 127,000 contract actions. The current ratio of contract dollars spent on services versus products is roughly 80/20. To accelerate that, the Army formulated a separate IT Services-Small Business (ITS-SB) contract as an adjunct to ITES-2S.
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The ITES contracts are at the center of the Army’s push into leading edge technologies. These technologies and the capabilities they provide will help drive the evolution of the net-centric strategies that will shape the Army’s warfighting capabilities over the next three decades. New and emerging technologies could “deeply change the character of war,” says Army Chief of Staff. Gen. Mark Milley.
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