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The U.S. Army released a request for information on Feb. 14 to solicit feedback about its acquisition strategy for the recompete of a five-year, $3.9 billion, single-award contract that will deliver commercial information technology hardware and support for communications equipment such as rugged laptops, which are designed to work in harsh environments.
Common Hardware Systems 6th Generation (CHS-6) is the topic of this week’s Bloomberg Government Top 20 Opportunities. In addition to IT hardware, the CHS-6 contract will provide technical assistance to address integration problems, equipment installation, software development, software and hardware maintenance, material fielding support, and test support.
According to the Army, the CHS-4 and CHS-5 contracts averaged the following levels of activity on an annual basis: technology insertions (82); delivery orders for hardware (238); task orders for services (32); items shipped (84,615). The Pentagon is forecasting similar capacity levels will exist for the follow-on contract.
Responses to the RFI are due by March 17.
The current CHS-5 contract accounts for $605 million spending obligations since fiscal 2018. The contract is set to expire in August 2023.
It’s possible the number of contract holders could expand to a multiple-award contract for CHS-6, despite the stronghold General Dynamics has maintained since CHS has existed. One of the primary subjects the Army identifies in the RFI is how the agency can increase competition. An extract of that portion of the RFI is provided below. Contractors who are interested in convincing the Army to switch to a multiple-award contract should respond to the questions listed.
If CHS does convert to a multiple-award contract, companies will likely be competing for a select number of about 63 high-value orders while the majority of low-value orders below $1 million may not be as competitive. Of the 1,386 total orders that have been issued on CHS-4 and CHS-5:
- 63 orders have a total value greater than $10 million.
- 358 orders have a total value between $1 million and 9.9 million.
- 965 orders have a total value less than $1 million.
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