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ITES-SW2 Request for Proposal Synopsis

By CHESS Program Office, Public Affairs

FORT BELVOIR, Virginia. –

The Army Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) office in coordination with the Army Contracting Command – Rock Island (ACC-RI) will post a synopsis for the release of the Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – Software 2 (ITES-SW2) Request for Proposal (RFP) on July 31, 2019. The ITES-SW2 is a follow on to the ITES-SW contracts that are the Army’s mandatory source for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IT software. This includes software products and maintenance in 14 product categories in addition to related incidentals services and hardware. This synopsis is required to notify industry that the RFP will be released on August 14, 2019.

The purpose of the ITES-SW 2 acquisition is to support Army, Department of Defense (DoD) and all Federal Agency enterprise Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and info-structure goals by leveraging Commercially available-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software products and maintenance in 14 product categories in addition to related incidental services and hardware. These 14 categories align with the major software categories identified by U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). The software catalogs are:

Audio & Visual Multimedia & Design
Business & Finance NetOps
Communication Office Suite
Database Operating Systems
Education Programming & Development
Internet IT Utility & Security
Modeling & Simulation Specialized

All products and services available under ITES-SW 2 must be commercial in accordance with the definition of commercial items in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 2.101. The planned period of performance is five years with one five year option with an estimated contract value of $13 billion. For more information please visit the FEDBIZOPPS website at HTTP://WWW.FEDBIZOPPS.GOV.

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About CHESS

Based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, CHESS reports to the Program Executive Officer Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). Charged by the CIO/G-6 and mandated through Army Regulation 25-1, CHESS is the Army-designated primary source for providing commercial hardware and software solutions for the Army's IT requirements. Offering simple, straightforward contract vehicles through its online Army e-commerce ordering system, the IT e-mart, CHESS directly supports the CIO/G-6 strategy by providing the benefits of continuous vendor competition for best value and consolidating requirements to maximize cost avoidance and leverage the Army's buying power. CHESS works diligently with other Army Knowledge Management partners, including the U.S. Army CIO/G-6, Information Systems Engineering Command, and Network Enterprise Technology Command to provide architecturally sound, standards-and-policy-compliant IT enterprise solutions to all Army customers around the world. For more information about CHESS, visit https://chess.army.mil/

Posted August 01, 2019

CHESS Press Release - ADMC-3 Contract Awarded

By CHESS Program Office, Public Affairs

CHESS ADMC-3 logo FORT BELVOIR, Virginia. –

The Army Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) office in coordination with the Army Contracting Command – Rock Island (ACC-RI) awarded Army Desktop and Mobile Computing – 3 (ADMC-3), a $5 billion firm-fixed price contract vehicle, July 26, 2019. The Army Contracting Command received 58 bids for the ADMC-3 contract vehicle and awarded 8 contracts. The ADMC-3 contract vehicle will provide Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract vehicles specifically designed as the primary source for information technology equipment to integrate, support, modernize and refresh the Army’s net-centric architecture while providing standardized interfaces.

CHESS contracts are designed to keep pace with emerging technology and applications and provide the technology solutions to meet the Army’s needs of today and in the future. CHESS Product Lead Wayne Sok: “The CHESS team is excited about seeing the years of effort finally coming to fruition. I'm very proud of the work that the CHESS team, to include folks from ACC-Rock Island and ISEC, has done to award this contract vehicle. Industry has also invested a lot of time and effort, so I know the awardees are eager to get started supporting Warfighters.”

The ADMC-3 contracts include commodity purchases of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IT desktops, notebooks, tablets, printers, multifunction devices and warranty, electronic displays, and related accessories and upgrades. Limited Services include: installation, asset tagging, imaging, site survey, and system configuration throughout CONUS and OCOUNS locations, including warzone areas. Work locations and funding will be determined upon each order, with an estimated completion date of February 8, 2027.

All desktop and/or notebook computers must be purchased through CHESS during the Consolidated Buy (CB). CHESS implemented the extremely cost-effective CB process in direct support of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6 strategy for leveraging the Army’s buying power in acquiring commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computer technology. Now with ADMC-3, CHESS’ eight hardware vendors will provide greatly reduced discounts throughout the year, as opposed to the twice a year events through its predecessor, ADMC-2. The ADMC-3 Awardees are:

NCS Technologies Inc. Strategic Communications, LLC
Dell Federal Systems L.P. Blue Tech, Inc.
Iron Bow Technologies, LLC HPI Federal, LLC
Sterling Computers Corp. ACE Computers

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About CHESS

Based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, CHESS reports to the Program Executive Officer Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). Charged by the CIO/G-6 and mandated through Army Regulation 25-1, CHESS is the Army-designated primary source for providing commercial hardware and software solutions for the Army's IT requirements. Offering simple, straightforward contract vehicles through its online Army e-commerce ordering system, the IT e-mart, CHESS directly supports the CIO/G-6 strategy by providing the benefits of continuous vendor competition for best value and consolidating requirements to maximize cost avoidance and leverage the Army's buying power. CHESS works diligently with other Army Knowledge Management partners, including the U.S. Army CIO/G-6, Information Systems Engineering Command, and Network Enterprise Technology Command to provide architecturally sound, standards-and-policy-compliant IT enterprise solutions to all Army customers around the world. For more information about CHESS, visit https://chess.army.mil/

Posted July 31, 2019

Army releases prototype notice for Enterprise IT as a Service pilot

By Ellyn Kocher, Strategic Communication Directorate

FORT BELVOIR, Va. –

Army Contracting Command – New Jersey released a Prototype Project Opportunity Notice on July 9 to award up to three prototype Other Transaction Agreements for a new effort: Enterprise Information Technology as a Service (EITaaS).

This is a pilot effort that asks industry to propose commercial IT service delivery options with the understanding that the Army would not optimize the network ourselves at the current network modernization strategy and funding levels.

With the assumption that a wholly service-owned and service-operated model sub-optimizes Army operational readiness, Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, Army Cyber Command and the Army CIO/G6 are together exploring a new approach for delivering enterprise-level network and core IT services.

This notice comes after a three-month process that began in April with a Sources Sought/Request For Information notice asking interested vendors to self-qualify against eight capabilities selected by the government to demonstrate their ability to serve as a prime offeror.

“Industry partners are critical to many aspects of Army success -- this Army Enterprise IT effort is no different, and the feedback from vendors has helped to shape our approach to ensure we have an executable acquisition plan,” said Dan Joyce, assistant program executive officer for networks, cyber and services, responsible for leading the EITaaS procurement effort.

Over 40 responses from industry influenced a change in the acquisition strategy to combine two lines of effort in the government’s approach. Feedback continued May 7 during a collaboration day between government and industry and a series of one-on-one sessions with 52 vendors over five days.

The feedback and discussion generated insight for further shaping the government’s requirement to ensure an executable acquisition plan. The result: a revised acquisition plan that involves combining all three LOEs at every pilot site under one prime and making up to three pilot site awards (three prime vendors) to start work in fiscal year 2019.The Prototype Project Opportunity Notice is posted on Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOps), solicitation number: W15QKN19R06JL. Questions and comments on the notice from interested vendors are due on July 25 to Army Contracting Command and final proposals are due August 9.

Connecting the Army. Working for Soldiers.

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Posted July 10, 2019

IPPS-A Talent Management Success Stories

By IPPS-A

CPT Ruperto, IPPS-A Release 2 Operations Lead, shares how he came to work on the IPPS-A project and why Talent Management is so important to him.


CPT Akanni, IPPS-A Talent Management Support Officer, shares how he came to work on the IPPS-A project and why Talent Management is so important to him.

Posted July 08, 2019

IPPS-A FACTO

By Col. Greg Johnson


How the Army fielded its next-generation human resources system to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.” This piece of battlefield wisdom has been passed down over the years after being introduced in 1880 by Prussian military strategist Helmuth von Moltke. I witnessed the truth of this axiom on several occasions while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and also as the functional lead overseeing the development of the Army’s next-generation human resources and talent management system. Not only did I observe how the best-laid plans were disrupted by changing realities, but I also experienced firsthand the power of aggressive, agile teams to overcome our challenges and deliver capabilities that will revolutionize the human resources business throughout the Army.

FORGING THE FUTURE

The Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A) integrates all 1 million Soldiers into a single system for the first time. IPPS-A provides increased visibility, talent management capabilities and auditability to all three Army components (active duty, Reserve and National Guard). The system delivers enhanced transparency and access to Soldier records and personnel actions like never before. It provides timesaving, self-service tools to total force Soldiers, commanders and human resources professionals, and enables mobile capabilities.

IPPS-A grew out of earlier DOD attempts to modernize the military’s human resources enterprise. The Army, realizing its unique personnel and talent management requirements, set out to standardize and reduce more than 200 human resources and pay systems that were being used across the Army National Guard, Reserve and active components to process routine transactions. As mandated by the Army’s Total Force Policy, IPPS-A standardizes business practices, provides authoritative data for military personnel, and facilitates a continuum of services across all three components.

Since its inception, IPPS-A has made significant progress toward building a system that will usher in a new era of human resources and talent management in the Army. Stakeholder engagement is critical to this effort. In the last two years alone, we have executed more than 400 engagements with stakeholders throughout the total force Army, as well as with key influencers throughout DOD and Congress. These engagements included technical reviews of the system, software demonstrations, deployment briefs, functionality working groups and other events. We captured and applied feedback from stakeholders who will use IPPS-A as part of their day-to-day activities, leveraging the unique insights of total force Soldiers and Army civilians at all levels.

THE DRIVE TO BUILD RELEASE 2

IPPS-A is currently on course to be deployed throughout the Army National Guard. In January 2019, the Army fielded IPPS-A to the Pennsylvania National Guard and conducted a limited user test of the system. Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers integrated IPPS-A into their daily human resources operations and put the system through its paces. The test was successful. Now, we are preparing the next states—including Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia—to receive the system. We expect full deployment of IPPS-A throughout the Army National Guard by early 2020.

At every step of this process, we partnered with the Army National Guard to help it become the first component to field the system. We cultivated relationships with each of the 54 state and territory Army National Guard entities as well as National Guard Bureau stakeholders to hear their feedback and inform the build process for Release 2 of IPPS-A. Starting in August 2018, we worked alongside our Pennsylvania National Guard counterparts to execute three critical events that ultimately would pave the way for IPPS-A’s fielding in the commonwealth.

Throughout these events—the risk reduction event, the system-acceptance test and the limited user test—we leveraged the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s extensive expertise to improve the system and meet the needs of the customer. The Pennsylvania Army National Guard influenced the functionality of the system—everything from how a Soldier submits a personnel action request to human resources analytics, like the human resources authorization report used by commanders. We also worked closely with the National Guard to ensure that the interfaces with existing authoritative data sources, like the Army Organizational Server – Data Interface and the Reserve Component Manpower System – Guard, accurately and correctly fed data into IPPS-A. Data correctness is an incremental step toward larger efforts of talent management and total force visibility. It affects how decisions are made, and the consequences of those decisions have a downstream effect on the Soldiers we support. Pay will be linked to human resources transactions in IPPS-A, so data must be correct.

ADAPTING TO THE ENEMY

By summer 2018, IPPS-A was on track for deployment to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard by the end of the year. This effort began with the risk reduction event to test end-to-end business processes of IPPS-A and ensure that the system could subsume the functionality of the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System, the primary human resources database used by the Army National Guard. The event enabled us to ensure that the outputs were accurate and consistent with National Guard requirements, and provided a precheck to normal testing procedures. The risk reduction event was followed by the systems acceptance test, a critical milestone that would provide a more comprehensive test of the system’s ability to accomplish business processes.

As we proceeded through the development process, we learned how to optimize communication between IPPS-A’s internal teams (including developers) and external stakeholders and to work together as one cross-functional, agile team. I believe this was the secret to our success. Our team realized that by nesting with our Army National Guard counterparts and the system integrator developers, we could shorten the decision cycle to improve the system and perform critical fixes to make it work more efficiently. This enhanced our collective ability to address key data and coding issues, with strong results that would ensure that IPPS-A would be delivered on time and built right to meet the needs of the Army National Guard.

By the time we reached the systems acceptance test, we had established four collaborative teams tasked with streamlining approval to field and creating a more agile environment that would address issues in real time. Each team played a critical role in getting us through the system-acceptance test (SAT). Their functions were as follows:

The SAT Lab: This team enabled participants to work through structured user scenarios. Through the SAT Lab, the IPPS-A team received direct feedback from participants on what was working, what wasn’t, and what needed to be fixed. Participants looked at IPPS-A from an end-to-end perspective and asked a critical question: “Can the system pass these scenarios?”

The Dual Entry Cell: The Pennsylvania National Guard led this important team tasked with reworking the activities conducted during the risk reduction event. The Dual Entry Cell facilitated more robust testing of IPPS-A’s business processes to identity key issues.

The Policy, Processes and Procedures (P3) Cell: Led by the National Guard Bureau, participants of the P3 Cell looked at what came out of the SAT Lab and the Dual Entry Cell and asked, “What National Guard policy or procedure do we have to change based on this new system?” For any defect that came in, members of the P3 Cell worked side by side with IPPS-A program personnel to determine why it was a defect and strategize how it could be fixed.

The Tactical Operations Center: This team managed all of the activities from the SAT Lab, the Dual Entry Cell and the P3 Cell, and facilitated coordination among units. As a result of our agile structure, these four cells enabled us to swiftly address issues and strategize solutions with the help of our Army National Guard counterparts. We brought in developers to work hand in hand with data owners and end users to fix defects and improve the system. This was a first: Never in the history of the Army had we deployed new equipment while simultaneously improving it based on stakeholder feedback.

CONCLUSION

The Pennsylvania and Virginia Army National Guards are the first states to integrate IPPS-A into their daily human resources operations, and we’ve received feedback that the system is making a difference. IPPS-A provides increased transparency and accessibility, enabling Soldiers to operate on-the-move and accomplish routine tasks that previously required an in-person trip to a G-1 or S-1 shop. Soldiers can now request updates to their records, monitor the status of their personnel actions and submit help inquiries from the palm of their hand. Self-service transactions are automated, paper-free and trackable from initiation to approval.

In addition, because of IPPS-A’s mobile capabilities, commanders and human resources professionals can review and approve transactions without being tied down to their desk or workstation. Commanders can now view analytics of their formation and view their Soldiers’ skills directly in the system, a level of access not present in the legacy environment. “With IPPS-A, I can track which Soldiers have which certifications,” said Capt. Isaac Rivera of the Virginia Army National Guard. “As the commander of a maintenance company, that makes me very excited.”

IPPS-A is transforming the Army’s human resources business, which will pay huge dividends for the total force in the years to come. By introducing modern, redesigned functionality and offering real-time availability and self-service capabilities, IPPS-A improves transparency for all Soldiers. The system streamlines processes across all three components into one way of doing business, and enables the Army to optimize Soldiers’ capabilities and maximize contributions to Army readiness, task organization and mission accomplishment. As one of the senior-most leaders of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Col. Laura McHugh, said during the limited user test, “IPPS-A has set the standard for how the Army should implement an Army system.”

Learning from Moltke, we made disciplined and prioritized choices during development that led to IPPS-A’s successful deployment to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and enabled us to move forward in our journey to modernize human resources and talent management across the total force. We adapted to enemy contact and counteracted that by massing the right talent in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, for the risk reduction event, the system-acceptance test and the limited user test. By restructuring our teams and increasing communication with both internal and external stakeholders, we remain on track to bring IPPS-A to the rest of the Army National Guard and beyond.

For more information, go to www.ipps-a.army.mil.

COL. GREG JOHNSON is chief of the IPPS-A Functional Management Division within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army for Personnel. He holds a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Policy Management from the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and a Master of Education from the University of Oklahoma, as well as a B.A. in U.S. history from the University of San Francisco.

Posted July 03, 2019

DCO Welcomes Pat Ocasio, Bids Farewell to Jen Potts

By Brittney M. Brown, Defensive Cyber Operations

Pat Ocasio has an impressive track record. In 1997, she joined Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) as a product support contractor for the Transportation Information Systems program. Now, she’s an award-winning civilian and the new Deputy Project Manager (DPM) for Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO).

“I am sincerely excited about coming to DCO and having the opportunity to take on new challenges in support of such an essential mission,” said Ocasio. “I look forward to getting to know the staff and understanding where I can best support the needs of the organization.”

Ocasio joins DCO after serving as DPM of Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A). She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management, as well as several program management certifications. In 2017, Ocasio received the John W. Macy, Jr. Award for demonstrated excellence in the leadership of civilian workforce.

Pat Ocasio
Pat Ocasio, Deputy Project Manager for Defensive Cyber Operations. (U.S. Army photo)

“Pat Ocasio joining the DCO team is definitely good fortune,” said Col. Harris, DCO project manager. “She’s a proven deputy who brings with her a wealth of knowledge and talent, and will without a doubt add value to DCO’s growing team.”

Ocasio’s new position was previously held by Jennifer Potts. Potts joined DCO in March 2018 and supported the program as both Acting DPM and Product Support Director. She holds a bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics and a dual master’s degree in aeronautical science and business administration, with a minor in technical management.

As an Army civilian for 20 years, Potts has a strong background in Army Aviation and Army Acquisition. Before DCO, she served as Deputy Product Director in PEO Aviation, where she supported full-spectrum program management for a portfolio valued in excess of $1.5 billion. Her next assignment will be as DPM for Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program (AESIP).

Jennifer Potts
Jennifer Potts, Deputy Project Manager for Army Enterprise Systems Integration Program. (U.S. Army photo)

“Over the last year, Ms. Potts has contributed greatly to the success of DCO,” said Harris. “She possess a high degree of professionalism and has an infectious positive attitude that will be missed by every member of the DCO team. AESIP is gaining a terrific asset.”

“We’re changing the way we partner with industry,” said Col. Chad Harris, DCO project manager. “We’ve created a space that allows for true collaboration and an avenue to seek solutions from a variety of cyber experts.”

According to Potts, the transition from DCO to AESIP is bittersweet, but an exciting opportunity nonetheless.

Potts DCO Farewell
Col. Chad Harris, project manager (PM) for Defensive Cyber Operations, presents a gift to outgoing deputy PM, Jennifer Potts. (U.S. Army photo by Brittney Brown)

“I’m thrilled to support the AESIP mission,” said Potts. “I’m humbled by the trust and confidence placed in me to continue to aid in the growth of the incredible PEO EIS workforce. People are our greatest assets. The opportunity to invest in others is my favorite part of what we do.”

Ocasio and Potts both assumed their respective roles on June 24, 2019.

Posted June 26, 2019

Q&A with DCO’s Lt. Col. Scott Helmore

By Brittney Brown, Defensive Cyber Operations

There’s been plenty of action within Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO). Within the past year, it established three new organizations (two product managers and one division), implemented the use of Other Transaction Authority (OTA) and opened a new cyber innovation center called “the Forge.”

Through the Forge, DCO is executing a variety of methods to procure and deliver defensive cyber prototypes. The Coliseum, Labyrinth, Constellations and the Forge Storm are among the methods being utilized. Lt. Col. Scott Helmore, product manager (PdM) for Cyber Platforms and Systems (CPS), gives insight on the naming conventions and how they build mutually beneficial relationships between DCO and industry partners.

Q: DCO is utilizing the Cyber Operations Broad Responsive Agreement, or COBRA for short, as the OTA to procure defensive cyber prototypes. What is COBRA?

A: COBRA is the name of DCO’s OTA. An OTA in general is a means by which we acquire prototypes. It allows us to go outside the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) for a “try before you buy” procurement. The method gives us the flexibility we need to ensure a capability can actually meet the requirements of Soldiers before we purchase them through an official FAR contract.

Q: How does COBRA differ from other OTAs?

A: First, COBRA is unique because it specifically focuses on cyber. Other OTAs may focus on communications, but there are none really dedicated to defensive cyber. COBRA is also unique because we award agreements through the use of a centralized, physical location called the Forge. Within the Forge, we bring together all of the entities that make OTA execution and prototype development possible under one roof. The Forge has a contracting office, as well as the presence of our stakeholders like Army Cyber Command. No other OTA that I’m aware of has their customer or end-user co-located or involved in the process.

Another factor that sets COBRA apart is that we’re executing the OTA through a variety of execution methods, like the Forge Storm and the Coliseum.

Q: Speaking of the Forge Storm and the Coliseum, you were the mastermind behind the names, including Labyrinth and Constellations. What do the names mean in the context of DCO?

A: The naming conventions were done as a means for people to be able to associate concepts with the methods. Most have historical references, like in the case of the Roman Coliseum.

Everyone knows the Coliseum was a place for events where observers watched participants, and then voted on the winners. We’re applying the same concept, but in our case, the participants are industry and we solicit them to demonstrate their solutions to our teams of evaluators. Coliseums give us the ability to observe and vote on whether we want the technology from industry or not, and help us refine what we’re looking for. Coliseums are efficient because they’re hosted at existing industry events, such as the AFCEA Belvoir Industry Days, where industry is already present.

Q: How about the Labyrinth and Constellations methods?

A: Labyrinth is derived from Greek mythology and is basically just a maze. The Labyrinth method is all about problem solving. We present a problem to industry, bring them to the Forge, and conduct brainstorming sessions about how to solve those problems.

Constellations are groups of stars that create a picture. In DCO’s scenario, we’re putting groups of industry experts together to focus on a specific area of interest, like analytics, for example. The point is for those groups to come back to us with common ideas or solutions, and present a picture of what a capability should look like. When new participants are added to the constellation, they start as a small star and at some point in time, they grow into a brighter star of the constellation.

Q: The method called the Forge Storm is related to meteorology. What was the thought process behind the name?

A: Multiple elements go into a storm; a storm brings wind, it brings rain, and sometimes tornadoes all at the same time. With the Forge Storm, we’re going after different procurements and using multiple methodologies in the same environment. We’re basically inviting industry to the Forge for an in-house tradeshow with a “Shark Tank” twist on it.

Q: How does the Forge in combination with COBRA benefit industry?

A: There are a lot of opportunities for industry to capitalize on DCO’s new efforts. Within one Coliseum event alone, we looked at over 120 technologies from 63 companies and awarded 10 different COBRA agreements. That added up to $6.4 million in procurement dollars that went to industry in a very short amount of time.

Our first Forge Storm event brought out more than 200 people from 22 companies, who were able to directly discuss their products with end-users without a middle man.

Q: How can industry take advantage of the opportunities?

A: DCO posts announcements on several platforms, including, the PEO EIS website, industry organization websites and through the System of Systems Consortium. Our announcements include specific instructions on how to participate, as well as the various timelines.

Posted June 05, 2019

DCO’s Forge Can Mean Big Business for Industry

By Brittney M. Brown, Defensive Cyber Operations

Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) is stepping up its game to bring more vendors to the Army’s procurement table. The project manager (PM) is merging a new innovation center called the Forge, with its rapid and agile acquisition methodology known as the Cyber Operations Broad Responsive Agreement (COBRA) Other Transaction Authority (OTA).

The Forge is a centralized facility located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, used as a one-stop shop to identify, assess, integrate and procure defensive cyber prototypes. The prototypes are then delivered to cyber protection brigades (CPBs), which are charged with defending the Army’s network.

The facility is multifaceted. At times, it’s an industry tradeshow venue where vendors can showcase their products in response to DCO solicitations. In contrast to traditional tradeshows, however, companies receive on-the-spot evaluations by DCO personnel and stakeholders. By the end of an event, vendors are notified whether they can continue on in the solicitation process. A recent DCO tradeshow event, called the Forge Storm, attracted more than 200 industry participants.

DCO Forge Staff
Lt. Col. Scott Helmore, Product Manager Cyber Platforms and Systems, and Eric Barry, CPS IT Specialist, meet with a Forge Storm vendor on May 1, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Brittney Brown)

“The concept of the Forge Storm is a rarity,” said Christian Sorenson, an industry participant in the event. “We seldom have the exposure to directly discuss our products with end users. Today, we were able to tailor our conversations with stakeholders of what solutions we have to offer.”

In addition to stakeholder interaction, the Forge’s on-site contracting office may pique the interest of industry. The office, run by Army Contracting Command – Rock Island (ACC-RI), means vendors can leave events like the Forge Storm, with check in hand. ACC-RI is utilizing the COBRA OTA for the immediate purchase of prototypes, and is a critical element of the Forge construct.

“In cyber, we can’t afford to wait on long processes. We need industry solutions today,” said Joe Kobsar, director of Applied Cyber Technologies, which manages the Forge. “We’re enabled by the Forge and the COBRA OTA to get those capabilities into the hands of Soldiers today.

DCO Forge Vendor
A Forge Storm vendor prepares to demonstrate his company’s defensive cyber product. (U.S. Army photo by Brittney Brown)

As a result of the Forge-COBRA coalition, industry partners have witnessed tangible returns on investments. To start, DCO has awarded $24 million to industry in prototype procurements within the past 15 months. Since its inception in December 2018, the Forge has facilitated nearly $10 million of that total. DCO predicts that another $6 million will be awarded within the next two months. While traditional vendors have a place at the Forge, DCO is also looking to procure solutions from non-traditional contractors like start-ups or academia, as well.

“We’re changing the way we partner with industry,” said Col. Chad Harris, DCO project manager. “We’ve created a space that allows for true collaboration and an avenue to seek solutions from a variety of cyber experts.”

In addition to the CPBs, four other stakeholders have an ongoing presence at the Forge. They include the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, Army Training and Doctrine Command, the System of Systems Consortium and U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER)

DCO Forge Staff
DCO Forge staff discuss the integration of defensive cyber software into hardware platforms. (U.S. Army photo by Brittney Brown)

“Within a short timeframe, the Forge has already created opportunities for the government and private industry to collaborate, research and develop innovative practices to ensure ARCYBER has the right technology at the right time and timeliness is crucial to our mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Mercado, ARCYBER technical advisor.

The Forge has been in initial operating capability since December 2018, and DCO hosted its official ribbon cutting for the facility on May 22, 2019.

Posted May 23, 2019

U.S. Army awards prototype to modernize recruiting

By IPPS-A

ARLINGTON, Va.--The U.S. Army awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $152 million agreement using its Other Transaction Authority on April 30 for a prototype project to modernize the recruitment and retention system used by the Army Accessions Enterprise (AAE).

The award marks the beginning of a three-year effort to develop, test and deploy the prototype system, named the U.S. Army Accessions Information Environment (AIE), to make recruiters more effective and efficient by allowing them to accomplish all tasks, using any device, anytime and anywhere.

“AIE will provide an enterprise level capability enabling transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the accessions workforce to acquire the best qualified talent,” said Col. Detrick Briscoe, AIE functional lead. “It will transform the way Soldiers are enlisted and commissioned while fulfilling in-service requirements and supporting and sustaining the enterprise. AIE represents the 'Soldier for Life’ model from the time you enter our Army until the time you separate or retire.”

The primary technical objective of the program is to use modern technology to support the approximately 25,000 users across the active, guard, reserve and ROTC communities by providing secure connectivity, reliability, data access and mobility.

Kevin Curry, the product director for the Army Human Resources System (AHRS), which falls within the Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A) program, is responsible for managing AIE and delivering a solution to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

“The U.S. Army AIE is a development effort in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton that will result in a cloud-based solution employing leading-edge technology and placing it into the hands of our recruiters and leaders at all levels across the AAE” said Curry.

The agreement, effective May 15, includes a phased approach to develop, test and field the prototype solution. Phase one is scheduled to be complete in May of 2020, resulting in fielding a limited version of the prototype system to recruiters in public recruiting stations.

“The AIE will implement new business practices and fully integrate enterprise capability to acquire the best-qualified talent in supporting the Army's manning requirements and its end-strength goals,” said Curry. “I am excited about what this will do to transform the future of our Army and how we acquire its most valuable resource - the people who commit to serving this great nation.”

AHRS and IPPS-A are organizations within Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). PEO EIS is responsible for managing and providing the information technology network and business systems that Soldiers and the U.S. Army need to operate every day. With a diverse portfolio of 37 program offices and 71 acquisition programs, PEO EIS supports and fields Army and DoD communications, logistics, medical, finance, personnel, training and procurement systems for all ten combatant commands.

Posted May 15, 2019