10.01.15

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: HARRIS SET TO COMPETE FOR $12.7 BILLION DOD “MANPACK” RADIO CONTRACT FOLLOWING SCHUMER PUSH TO OPEN CONTRACT PROCESS TO MULTIPLE VENDERS SO COMPANIES LIKE HARRIS COULD BID; FINAL BID PROPOSALS DUE OCT. 2 – SCHUMER’S PUSH GAVE HARRIS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD TO COMPETE FOR $3.9 BILLION “RIFLEMAN” CONTRACT THAT HARRIS WON IN APRIL

DOD Is Set To Close Window For Companies Making Bids To Produce “Manpack” Radios That Help Troops Communicate & Coordinate Overseas On October 2nd; Announcement On Which Companies Will Be Selected Could Come As Soon as This Year

Schumer Lauds DOD For Heeding His Call & Opening Up Application Process To Multiple Vendors – This Type of Bid Process Paved Way For Companies Like Harris Radio In Rochester To Apply & Be Selected This Year For 5-Year “Rifleman” Radio Contract, Now Competition Is On For “Manpack” Radio Contract

Schumer: Multi-Vendor Selection Strategy Helps Companies Like Rochester’s Harris Compete For High-Level DOD Contract, On A Level Playing Field 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the Department of Defense (DOD) would soon be closing the window for companies to apply for the $12.7 billion multi-vendor Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) “Manpack” radio contract on October 2nd. Once the application period has concluded, top DOD officials will consider the companies that have applied to produce the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Manpack radios. This program in conjunction with the JTRS “Rifleman” radios, recently procured through a separate $3.9 billion contract awarded jointly to companies Harris Corporation and Thales Communications in April, will be the next-generation radios for our deployed to troops. The Manpack contract is estimated to be worth $12.7 billion over five years, with the potential for a 5-year extension. Schumer previously urged the DOD in letters and in a 2013 personal call to former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to consider changing the DoD’s then-plan to sole-source both the Rifleman and Manpack procurements to a single vendor and instead use this multi-vendor selection process for both radios in order to ensure competition to produce the best radios for the military. Understanding the benefits of competition, the DOD heeded Schumer’s call and announced it would reverse it’s then single-vendor draft acquisition strategy and instead allow. Schumer said this paved the way for companies like Rochester’s Harris Radio to not only compete and win the 5-year JTRS Rifleman contract in April, but to enable Harris to apply and potentially be selected for this massive JTRS Manpack contract. This multi-vendor bid strategy ensured a level-playing field for companies like Harris.

“With the application window closing on October 2, I am confident the DOD’s multi-vendor selection process will ensure incredibly high-skilled, companies similar to Harris Radio in Rochester have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field and potentially be selected for this billion dollar contract. I was pleased the DOD heeded my call to eliminate the single-vendor procurement process and allow healthy competition between applicants that enabled Harris to first win a $3.9 billion contract in April and now to compete for this $12.7 billion dollar contract,” said Schumer. “Over the past two years I have worked with top DOD officials, including former Secretary Hagel, to ensure this critical contract would be awarded fairly, so we can provide the top-notch equipment our dedicated men and women serving overseas need and deserve.”

Schumer explained that the multi-vendor procurement process, which he advocated for in a call to former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, allows several companies to be selected for the $12.7 billion contract. Initially, the DoD indicated it would award the contract to just one company through a sole-source single vender  procurement process .  Schumer said the single-vendor selection process would have created an unfair playing field for all vendors, including Harris, to compete. Schumer explained conversely that the multi-vendor, multi-award acquisition process would not only level the playing field for companies who make these radios to compete, the open competition for the contracts will ensure the military has the best equipment and that there is healthy pricing competition for the work. Now under the multi-vendor procurement strategy that DoD instituted in 2013 following Schumer’s push, Schumer said there will be fair, healthy competition and more competitive bids since companies like Harris can compete.

The contract comes as the DOD is modernizing its family of networked tactical radios used by servicemen and women deployed overseas and based in the United States. Once finished, the radio network will provide advanced joint tactical end-to-end networking data and voice communications to dismounted troops ground, and airborne platforms. Schumer said the network is a key facilitator for the modernization of the DOD’s deployable mobile communications system as it will allow information sharing and communication between mission commanders and deployed soldiers at the tactical edge. Schumer said the value of this Manpack contract – estimated to be $12.7 billion over five years with a five year option extension for winning companies at the conclusion of the original contract – demonstrates the DOD’s commitment to tactical radio modernization and its status as a priority for our national defense.

Schumer has supported efforts by the Army to allow multiple companies that can produce JTRS-certified radios, like Harris, to compete to provide these radios to the Army during the next 5 years. Recent research has shown that commercially-produced JTRS radios are safer, simpler, and more reliable than many of the Army’s models currently in use. Schumer said companies like Harris in Rochester will now have a full and fair opportunity to compete to provide JTRS radios to protect our troops that are certified through the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIE). 

Schumer has long advocated for the tactical radio modernization program to be fully funded. In April of this year, he urged congressional appropriators to fund the U.S. Army’s tactical radio modernization programs in Fiscal Year 2016. In May 2012, Schumer helped secure language in the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that recommended that a competitive acquisition process is approved for these radios, before any funds are obligated for the full rate production of these radios. This action paved the way for the competitive multi-vendor procurement process currently underway for the JTRS manpack and rifleman radio networks.

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