Army works to improve hardware security, requirements amid ADMC protest

The Army is moving its existing and future hardware to Windows 10 as an operational and security enhancement.

The Army is refining requirements, policy and standards while striving to improve security for the hardware it buys and delivers across the force, officials said.

The service plans to have the majority of office Windows 10 deployed by January of 2018. This move, which is also being vigorously pursued at the DOD level, is designed to increase security and keep pace with rapid innovations taking place in the private sector.

“It's a double-edged sword because it does kind of require us to move faster than we have before in terms of how often we upgrade equipment that's in the field,” said Doug Haskin, product lead for the Army’s Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) program. “This creates a more compressed life cycle,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Army’s CHESS program’s Army Desktop and Mobile Computing- 2 (ADMC-2) vehicle has been designated as a "Best in Class" IT contract by the Office of Management and Budget. The contract assessments are part of a broader effort within OMB to streamline acquisition from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.  

“This designation fosters cross-agency collaboration, reduces contract duplication and improves requirements development,” said Stacy Watson, Enterprise Solutions Division Director, Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems Director.

The Best in Class award, given to the Army CHESS program, is intended to signal success in government buying power.

“The Best in Class designation allows acquisition experts to take advantage of pre-vetted, government-wide contract solutions; supports migration to mature and market proven solutions and increases transactional data for analysis of buying behavior,” an Army statement from PEO EIS said.  

“We have worked closely with our counterparts on that team from GSA, NASA, and NIH to share CHESS' lessons learned and help shape overall implementation of IT category management,” Haskin said.

The designation will also extend to the ADMC-3 contract when it is awarded later this year.

ADMC-3, which is still currently under protest, provides Indefinite-Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity contract vehicles specifically designed to acquire hardware and standardized interfaces. This includes laptops, desktops, tablets, monitors, printers, ruggedized and semi-ruggedized devices.

Also, the Army will speed up the pace of hardware upgrades and accelerate the mandated move to Windows 10 as part of a third iteration of the ADMC-3 contract, according to officials from the CHESS office.

CHESS awarded its latest ADMC contract with a ceiling of $5 billion in February to 9 winners out of the 58 companies that bid. The program maximum is $5.5 billion across all of the contracts, including options and ordering is open to, Army, DOD and other federal agencies.

Given the ongoing protest, the Army cannot discuss particulars of the new contract.  While the protest is delaying implementation of many of the ADMC-3 provisions, the service is moving ahead with plans to secure its data systems once the protests are settled.

The Army is currently procuring desktops, laptops, monitors and printers from ADMC-2.  

All desktop and notebook computers must be purchased through CHESS during the Consolidated Buy periods. Twice a year (Jan-Mar and Jun-Sep), CHESS' eight ADMC-2 hardware vendors provide greatly reduced discounts in addition to already low pre-negotiated prices for desktop and notebook computers.

 “Right now on ADMC-2 we have two consolidated buy periods every fiscal year for three months. Each vendor gets to offer one particular model of laptop or desktop for each of several categories,” Haskin explained.

 

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