Army updates IT purchasing system

The Army is updating its purchasing system for tactical communications hardware, which should open more opportunities for companies looking to sell solutions to the military.

The Army is setting up a tactical communications hardware purchasing system that is easy for everyone to use no matter the device they’re using. It’s also a gateway for companies to offer their solutions for Army needs, according to a report from July 15.

The Common Hardware Systems is a standard marketplace of communications hardware for the Army. CHS supports the Army’s Common Operating Environment initiative, and it delivers a familiar and intuitive experience for soldiers.

The Army first launched CHS in 1987, but officials are expanding CHS to match the Army’s Common Operating Environment (COE) initiative. One goal is to make the system familiar to users whether they are accessing CHS information on secure handheld devices, vehicle-monitored systems, or command post screens. Officials say it will reduce training and potential confusion.

“The goal is to streamline the end-user experience for soldiers by providing a single look and feel that minimizes time and dollars required for training while allowing units to focus on their mission,” said Danielle Kays, product director for CHS, in an article.

The CHS menu will support standard tactical hardware requirements within each of the COE’s six computing environments, such as data cloud, sensors, tactical and enterprise servers, client workstations, and mobile. It will also support tactical laptops that are used in several different environments.

CHS will also provide a contract vehicle and link for industry to deliver intuitive, versatile solutions that feed into the Tactical Network Modernization Roadmap, Kays said.

With a broad base of expertise in tactical commercial off-the-shelf information technology solutions for the military, CHS provides programs with market research and analysis on specific capabilities before buying. For example, program officials can gather information on other offices or agencies purchasing tablets and the various configurations that may be available on a contract, Kay said.

“CHS will collaborate with other contract vehicles to manage a competitive, commercial off-the-shelf information technology marketplace that allows programs to procure common platforms in the most effective and cost efficient means,” she said.

In addition, CHS aligns with elements of the Tactical Network Modernization Roadmap, which is a part of the Army’s Force 2025 operational goals.