ITES-3H Today: The Details

The Army finally announced the award of the five-year, $5 billion ITES-3H contract on Feb. 22, 2016, after numerous protests and delays and nearly four years after releasing the initial RFP. Its predecessor, ITES-2H, was extended four times with more than $1 billion eventually added to its initial order ceiling.

The number of protests illustrates the importance placed on the new contract, given that ITES-2H had become one of the most popular government contracts after its award in 2007. Originally, the goal was to make eight awards for ITES-3H, two more than for ITES-2H, with four awards each to large and small businesses. In the end, 17 companies received contracts, with nine of those going to smaller businesses.

ITES-2H closed to all users except the Army on its first yearly extension in March 2012. The Navy was the second highest user. Other military and civilian agencies took one-fifth of the business. By the end of its performance period in June 2016, the ITES-2H program was worth just under $7.5 billion.

The ITES-3H ID/IQ program, set to run for a base period of three years with two one-year options, is another government-wide vehicle. Civilian and military agencies can buy or lease a range of Unix and non-Unix servers, desktops, notebooks, workstations and storage systems, along with printers, peripherals and network products. It also includes purchase of any software required as part of an end-to-end solution.

The Army’s Computer, Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) manages the ITES vehicles, and charges no fee for the use of the ITES-3H contracts. Small businesses have become an important part of the CHESS contracts. This helps ensure competition is as broad as possible and not focused only on the large primes, with small businesses only getting subcontractor work. ITES-3H can help government users meet their small business goals while ensuring access to the technology they need.

Iron Bow, for example, was classed as a large company prime on ITES-2H until a change of ownership changed that to a small business designation. “Even though we are classed as a small business, our customers (on ITES-3H) are still able to get world class solutions from us,” says John Meier, Iron Bow’s general manager for DOD East & Intel sales team. “All they have to do is specify on particular ITES-3H bids if they prefer a small business to bid.”

In April 2010, the Army made CHESS the mandatory source for commercial IT purchases. Small businesses stand to miss out on a lot of money if they don’t have an ITES-3H contract on their books. That’s one of the reasons there were numerous protests against the original awards. If any user wants to use a non-CHESS contract to purchase IT, they have to get a waiver.

Even though ITES-3H is government-wide, Meier said he still expects the Army to be the biggest customer, both because of the CHESS mandate and because the Army can more easily track what their people are buying and the extent of the Army’s overall IT spend.

ITES-3H AWARDEES

Large Businesses

  • CDW-G—Vernon Hills, Illinois
  • Dell—Round Rock, Texas
  • GovConnection—Rockville, Maryland
  • Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services—Plano, Texas
  • IBM Corp.—Armonk, New York
  • Telos—Ashburn, Virginia
  • Unicom—Herndon, Virginia
  • World Wide Technology—St. Louis, Missouri

Small Businesses

  • Affigent—Herndon, Virginia
  • Dynamic Systems—El Segundo, California
  • Force3—Crofton, Maryland
  • Government Acquisitions—Cincinnati, Ohio
  • GTRI—Denver, Colorado
  • Intelligent Decisions—Ashburn, Virginia
  • Iron Bow—Chantilly, Virginia
  • MicroTech—Vienna, Virginia
  • Wildflower—Santa Fe, New Mexico