Army building marketplace for tactical hardware

Army building marketplace for tactical IT hardware

The Army is building a marketplace of tactical communications hardware to support the Common Operating Environment (COE), which aims to reduce stovepipes and deliver soldiers a "plug-and-play" experience, whether they are accessing information on secure handheld devices, vehicle mounted systems or command post screens.

As the Army’s COE framework advances, the Common Hardware Systems (CHS) program office is working to procure and sustain hardware items across the different environments, while leveraging industry innovation to supply the latest technologies to soldiers, the Army reported.

Since its launch in 1987, the CHS program has provided a consolidated acquisition approach for tactical technology solutions, offering economies of scale and complete lifecycle management for systems of all sizes and varying levels of ruggedization.  It maintains a portfolio of commercial technologies includes  servers, clients, network routing and switching devices, ruggedized laptops, handheld devices, operational transit cases and other peripherals.

As the Army implements the COE, the CHS menu will expand to support standard tactical hardware requirements within each of the COE's six computing environments  – data cloud, command post, mounted, mobile, sensor and real-time safety-critical or fires and missiles – as well as products such as tactical laptops that are used in several different environments. This will help program offices align their procurement plans with COE, while promoting greater commonality across computing environments for a seamless user experience.

CHS will also provide a contract vehicle and link for industry to deliver intuitive, versatile solutions that feed into the roadmap, said Danielle Kays, product director for CHS.

"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," Kays said. "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."

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