Army awards 2nd piece for logistics redo

The Army last week awarded a $248 million, five-year contract to Symbol Technologies Inc. for a system to track and manage supplies and parts as they move from the warehouse to the field, regardless of where in the world either may be.

The Automated Identification Technologies II contract will provide a wide variety of bar code readers, scanners, printers, mobile computers and other automated identification technologies linked by wireless local-area networks.

The AIT II contract is the second major award the Army has made in the past month to automate its global logistics systems with commercial technology. Comtech Mobile Data Corp. is developing the Movement Tracking System under a $418 million contract that will provide geolocation services for the Army's fleet of battlefield logistics vehicles. MTS and AIT II are designed to exchange data, enabling the Army to use MTS to track a supply vehicle, for example, while AIT II will enable users to easily identify the contents of a particular package or box on that vehicle with a simple swipe of a bar code reader.

Kevin Carroll, program executive officer for standard Army management information systems (Stamis), said these new logistics systems will go a long way toward resolving the problems DOD faced in Operation Desert Storm, when tons of unidentifiable cargo piled up at supply depots throughout the Middle East. Carroll said AIT II "will make it easier to know where things are at all times and will feed data back into our supply system through [existing] Stamis systems."

AIT II also will feed data into DOD transportation MIS, such as the Global Transportation Network, as well as the global command and control system, Carroll said, so that commanders can gain "in-transit visibility" on the beans, bullets and bacon that determine the outcome of battle as much as weapons, tactics and strategy do.

Symbol Technologies, which described the AIT II contract as its largest award to date, will provide DOD with mobile computers based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc. 486 chips running on DOS and handheld reduced instruction-set computers running Microsoft Corp.'s CE portable computing software, said Ron Goldman, Symbol Technololgies' vice president for mobile computing.

Intermec Corp. of Everett, Wash., which holds the original AIT contract, was the only other company to bid on the contract.

Gloria McGee, AIT II contracting officer at the Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center-Washington, said that barring a protest, the Army plans to move quickly on the contract. "I hope to give notice to proceed before the end of July...and Symbol will start accepting orders in days, with a 45-day delivery period."

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