Air Force mulls Microsoft license

Using the Army as a model, Air Force officials said they are considering consolidating the service's buying power for Microsoft Corp. software.

The new Air Force Information Technology Commodity Council is "discussing internally doing an Air Force-wide license with Microsoft," said a council official, who requested anonymity. The service is looking at the Army's Microsoft deal, the official said.

The Army announced May 30 a $78 million delivery order worth up to $471 million to Softmart Inc. for a servicewide Microsoft license through 2009.

The commodity council is in the early planning stages of obtaining servicewide Microsoft licenses, the council official said, and it will finalize a strategy in six months.

Air Force chief information officer John Gilligan confirmed the service's intentions. "We're going to buy as one Air Force, which is the big difference," he said in an interview at his Pentagon office.

The Air Force typically issues IT contract vehicles, and its agencies buy from them, Gilligan said. The service's nine major commands, such as Air Combat Command and Air Force Materiel Command, have their own Microsoft licenses, and they work fairly well, he said.

But an enterprise consolidation contract will simplify management of Microsoft products and services and achieve one hardware and software configuration, Gilligan said.

Enterprise consolidation contracts are becoming common practice as government officials negotiate more favorable prices and terms when buying standard data and software programs, said Dan Heinemeier, president of the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association, an Arlington, Va., industry group, in a Sept. 15 statement.

"We have seen this in agency requests to acquire site licenses to use engineering standards in electronic versions on an agencywide basis," Heinemeier said. "This is just the logical extension of that kind of thinking."

Army IT officials met recently with leaders and users to explain the service's new Microsoft licensing agreement, they said in statements.

The Army Enterprise Infostructure-Enterprise Software Consolidation contract centrally funds the purchase of 426,000 Microsoft licenses this year with plans to centrally fund for the next five. The quantity increases to 494,000 after the third year, said Dee Wardle, Army Small Computer Program product leader.

The $78 million delivery order includes five one-year options that could increase the contract's value to $471 million, she said.

The Army will distribute the software to local directorates of information management, Wardle said. The directorates then will provide the software to approved users, she said.

"The people out in the field basically want to verify that they understand the ordering process," Wardle said, "and that they aren't really directly funding these buys, which nobody can believe."

The agreement covers the Army Reserves, the National Guard and active Army — soldiers, civilians and contractors — in three software categories: desktop, business and enterprise. It does not apply to joint organizations such as Central Command and educational institutions such as West Point.

The Army chose Softmart on a best-value basis, said Robin Baldwin, contracting officer at the Army's IT, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center. The small business is one of nine Microsoft resellers approved under the Defense Department's Enterprise Software Initiative, a project that identifies, acquires, distributes and manages software that is used across DOD.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group