Air Force awards key IT contracts

Despite its controversial strategy to use blanket purchase agreements in place of its information technology product and service contracts, the Air Force's Standard Systems Group today awarded BPAs worth hundreds of millions of dollars to six vendors covering a wide range of computer and networking gear.

As part of an effort to streamline the acquisition of common computer and networking products, SSG awarded BPAs worth $417 million to Dell Marketing LP, Gateway Inc. and Micron Electronics Inc. for desktops, servers and notebook systems.

"Gateway is delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Air Force and the DOD," said Phil Kennett, vice president of federal sales at Gateway.

SSG also awarded BPAs to Comark Federal Systems, Government Technology Services Inc. and Westwood Computer Corp. for peripherals, including printers, scanners and plotters. SSG did not identify the value of these BPAs.

"I think it's a good opportunity for the company, and we are quite pleased to have it," said Sharon Ennis, marketing manager for Comark Federal Systems.

SSG made the awards despite complaints from vendors that SSG's Information Technology Tools procurement strategy violated the intent of competitive contracting [FCW, Feb. 22].

The new contracting strategy, known as Information Technology Tools, determined the list of vendors eligible to compete for the BPAs using the "Federal Government IT Community Evaluates Vendor Competitiveness" survey issued in March 1998 by FCW Media Group Inc., the parent company of Federal Computer Week.

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