Army to award leasing, peripherals pacts

The Army this month is expected to refresh its PC offerings with two new contracts: one for leasing and the other for a broad range of peripherals.

Lt. Col. Mary Fuller, product manager of the Army's Small Computer Program (SCP) at Fort Monmouth, N.J., said Army Leasing-1 (AL-1) has the potential to help Army organizations ''reduce their cost of ownership'' of PCs because it would attack the cost of maintenance and upgrades that can dwarf the original purchase price.

Fuller believes leasing would work well for those Army units that do not have the internal manpower to provide the care and feeding PCs require in a networked age.

Bidders peg the value of the contract at $100 million to $200 million. However, Fuller said she still sees leasing as a niche market for the Army, saying, ''I don't think the Army will go to leasing in a big way.''

Bidders for AL-1, industry sources said, include Vanstar Government Systems, Government Technology Services Inc. and the International Data Products division of Dunn Computer Corp.

IDP holds the Navy pilot Information Technology for the 21st century leasing contract serving the Tidewater, Va., area. George Fuster, president of IDP, said he believed his company's win of the Navy leasing contract should help it with the Army bid, which is currently under evaluation by the Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center-Washington (CAC-W).

Fuller described the second program, Enhanced Technology-1 (ET-1), as an ''Office Depot approach'' that is designed to offer a wide range of components and peripherals, including printers, to Army PC users.

Fuller said ET-1 will ''offer a variety of products that are currently not available from our stable of contracts.'' Vendors said CAC-W, which is managing the procurement for SCP, imposed very stringent requirements on ET-1, which is likely to be awarded in the form of two blanket purchase agreements.

Among other conditions, vendors are required to have a General Services Administration schedule that includes the Hewlett-Packard Co. printer line, according to Alan Bechara, vice president of Comark Federal Systems Inc., a requirement that is bound narrow the field of qualified bidders. The Army wants a ''total product solution'' that requires bidders to meet its laundry list of hundreds of requirements, Bechara said.

The Army also emphasized that it is looking for "more favorable prices than what is offered on the GSA schedule contract."

Potential bidders for the contract— the estimated value of which is some $300 million— include Vanstar, Comark, GTSI and Westwood Computer Corp. The ET-1 bids are in evaluation, and although Fuller did not indicate the award date, bidders said an award is imminent.

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