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The Dell Army

Army officials in charge of distributing PCs through the Army Small Computer Program seem to love Dell computers. You can't walk around any service base or office without seeing Dell PCs spread around like light colonels in the Pentagon.

By combining orders for Dell computers with those of the Air Force, the service saves money, according to the program's Web site, which brags that the Army's Information Technology Commodity Council undercuts General Services Administration schedule prices by about 30 percent.

Business continues to boom for Dell's federal division. The growth is so fast that, last we heard, Jerry Baigis, supersalesman at Dell Federal — and a former Marine — was hiring four additional reps to work with him.

The Army's $10B IT baby

Army officials plan to launch the IT Enterprise Solutions (ITES) 2 contract soon with a ceiling of $10 billion during what will likely be a 10-year period, said Kevin Carroll, the big kahuna at the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems.

This amount may seem like a lot for IT services, but hey, it's a big Army. Col. Tom Hogan, Carroll's project manager for enterprise infostructure, said the $500 million ceiling on the first ITES contract was too low.

Inflation is terrible. You just can't stretch half a billion dollars in IT services contracts the way you could back in the day when Carroll, the office's program executive officer, was a starter fed.

Give the grunts Secret clearances

The Army Land Warrior program has hit a fundamental snag.

We hear that to use Land Warrior — designed to equip already overloaded grunts with a bunch of computers, visual displays, Global Positioning System devices and radios — they need a high-level clearance to access the Army Tactical Internet. That's a problem because the average grunt does not have or need such a clearance.

Army officials face a huge bill to either reclassify all the grunts or junk Land Warrior.

An Oracle burp?

Michael Sperling, a public relations manager in Oracle's federal division, insisted when we talked to him last month that Oracle databases had nothing to do with the freeze of the Composite Health Care System II medical record databases last spring.

Larry Albert, senior vice president for health care at Integic, the health care system's integrator, traced the databases' failure to a problem with a Hewlett-Packard fiber-optic switch at the system's data center. After officials upgraded its firmware, lockup problems disappeared.

But we also hear that the widgeteers at the Military Health System upgraded the Oracle database to the company's self-proclaimed unbreakable 9i database, and the health care system subsequently functioned much more smoothly.

We're still trying to figure out the cause and effect here. Which comes first, the database or the switch?

Make big bucks talking to the Interceptors

Defense Information Systems Agency spokeswoman Betsy Flood retired earlier this year after spending 15 years fielding queries from various Interceptors, for which she deserves a medal.

DISA is looking for a new flack, and we promise to make the job very interesting. We also promise to welcome the new DISA spokesperson with lunch at Nam Viet in Clarendon, Va.

Intercept something? Send it to bbrewin@fcw.com or ftiboni@fcw.com.

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