The US Army announced, 22 August, that it has begun rolling out the US Army Contract Writing System (ACWS), designed to streamline the Army contracting process and replace the Standard Procurement System that has been in use for 27 years across various agencies of the Department of Defence.
The first ACWS user group consists of 104 contracting employees from 29 sites, including Army Contracting Command-Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Army National Guard offices around the country, who will offer input on the system prior to the next release.
The second ACWS deployment, which will include about 350 more Army Contracting Command and Army National Guard customers, is scheduled for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024. ACWS will ultimately replace the Procurement Automated Data and Document System and the Standard Procurement System/Procurement Desktop-Defense.
The new ACWS system will: generate Uniform Contract Format solicitation, award, and modification documents; generate Procurement Data Standard-compliant transactions; import vendors from the System for Award Management; link to the Procurement Integrated Enterprise Environment Clause Logic Service to complete required clause interviews; receive purchase requests from the Defence Enterprise Accounting and Management System; and connect to the Federal Procurement Data System to complete required clause interviews.
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First contracted with CGI in June 2017 for $133.9m, the ACWS programme has seen its own share of set-backs. Greg Youmans, Director of Enterprise Business Systems at the Office of the Deputy Asst. Secretary of the Army for Procurement gave a presentation to the Procure-to-Pay & Financial Audit Training Symposium in 2022, at which point the Army was assessing the program to determine options for the ACWS path forward.
According to Youmans, results from the system qualification testing in December 2021 described the ACWS as neither effective or suitable; in January 2022 the ACWS milestone decision authority made the decision not to conduct the limited deployment of software release.
According to data gathered from Highergovafter.com, the ten year indefinite delivery contract was terminated for convenience in January of 2023. By then, contracts of $68.5m had already been awarded.
A year later, Youmans was back at the 2023 session of the training symposium, describing a new approach for the ACWS. The Army would leverage Air Force software to meet 36% of the ACWS requirements, bring in another 39% from VCE, PIEE and SAM to bring in another 39%, and fill another 25% from the USDA using interagency agreements.