CHESS Program

CHESS Program
Mandate for Army Customers to Utilize CHESS
Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS) 5139
Army Regulation (AR) 25-1, paragraph 2-16h
Regardless of dollar value, Army organizations must use Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) to purchase COTS products, including software, desktops, notebook computers, video teleconferencing equipment, and IT peripherals, unless CHESS grants a waiver to procure from an alternate source.
Department of the Army Memo – 04 May 2009
The purpose of this memorandum is to remind U.S. Army leader of the existing requirement to use CHESS for purchases of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, desktops, notebook computers and video teleconferencing equipment regardless of dollar value.
Use of the Army CHESS Contract Vehicle to Purchase Commercial Information Technology (IT) Services
The CHESS program is the mandatory source for the purchase of commercial IT services. Purchasers of commercial IT services must satisfy their requirements by utilizing the CHESS contracts first, regardless of dollar value or appropriation.
Amendment to Waiver Process for Fourth Quarter Information Technology (IT) Purchases
Memo to state that all IT purchases made within the fourth quarter of the fiscal year require an exception to policy attesting to mission criticality. There is analysis that indicates seasonality in IT hardware pricing; therefore, requiring activities seeking to purchase IT hardware in the fourth quarter must provide a 1-star endorsement of mission criticality as described in the references. There has been no analysis or data to support seasonality in pricing of IT software or IT services; therefore, the requirement to provide 1-star attestation of mission criticality in the fourth quarter for purchases of software or IT services is hereby rescinded.
Implementation Guidance to Move Information Technology (IT) Service Requirements to CHESS Contract Vehicles
Purchasers of commercial IT services must satisfy their requirements by utilizing the CHESS contracts first, regardless of dollar value or appropriation. Any purchase for commercial IT services made outside of the CHESS contracts requires a CHESS Statement of Non-Availability (SoNA) and an approval from the IT Approval System (ITAS) through DCS/G-6. Policy applies to all new acquisitions and re-competes for follow-on requirements efforts.
Enterprise Software Agreements
See Army Regulation (AR) 25-1, paragraph 3-4l(1-4). The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARs), subpart 208.74, which details the enterprise software agreement, requires DOD components to fulfill requirements for commercial software and related services such as software maintenance in accordance with the DOD Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI). This includes purchasing from the DOD inventory before using any other source. Organizations should consult with CHESS, the Army representative to the DOD ESI.
Consolidated Buy – via the Army Desktop Mobile Computing 2 (ADMC-2) contract
IAW Army Regulation (AR) 25-1, paragraph 3-4a(3), organizations shall use the Consolidated Buy to satisfy their desktop and notebook requirements to the maximum extent possible. Per CIO/G-6 memo below, effective immediately, all Army organizations should adhere to the following to maximize efficient spending while meeting Windows 10 SHB-A requirements: (a) aggregate Consolidated Buy purchases at the highest levels possible, (b) avoid purchasing end-point devices with unnecessary features and utilize minimum specifications, and (c) use CHESS's Reverse Auction tool.
Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM)
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) clauses 252.239-7018, 252.204-7012 and 252.239-7017 are incorporated into all CHESS contracts. These clauses outline the authorities afforded to the Government to remove a source that fails to meet qualification standards. Procurement officials purchasing IT for National Security Systems (NSS) must ensure that items are not listed on the NSS Restricted List (Section 2339a List, formerly Section 806 List) IAW DoD policy dated 28 Dec 2018. The list is accessed through the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) at the link below.
Information Technology (IT) Category Management
The CIO/G-6 and Commander USARCYBER have been designated the Army’s co-category managers for IT.
Approvals/Waivers for Obligation of Funds for Data Servers and Centers Information Technology (IT) Spending
DoD CIO approval is required prior to obligating funds for the procurement of all data servers and center equipment.
Army Waiver for non-CHESS COTS IT Purchases
In April 2010, AFARS was updated to designate CHESS as the mandatory source for commercial IT hardware and software purchases regardless of dollar value. Furthermore, the policy requires organizations to obtain a waiver prior to executing any purchases outside of CHESS contracts. On 21 July 2020, the Secretary of the Army recognized ITAS as the Army’s process to control information technology (IT) spending and directed the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO) to issue policy for the Army’s use of ITAS (reference 1a). Effective immediately; prior to procurement, Army organizations must, via ITAS, request and receive approval to procure the following IT: (1) Hardware. (2) Software; including but not limited to software licenses, software license renewals, and software subscriptions. (3) External IT services—all contracted labor for IT support. The Information Technology Investment Accountability (ITIA) Requirement - Information Technology Approval System (ITAS) memorandum below provides ITAS policy as directed.
Proper Use of Non-DoD Contracts
The Department of Defense (DoD) encourages, when done properly, the use of assisting agencies such as the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Interior, the Treasury Department, NASA and others, for acquisition and contracting support. Guidance on the use of interagency contracts can be viewed at the following Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) link.