Marine recruiters get notebook PCs

The Marine Corps is the last of the armed services to give its recruiters

notebook PCs, but officials don't think the machines will transform the

recruiting process.

For $2.5 million, the Marine Corps Recruiting Command purchased 1,320

notebook PCs in October, or one for every two recruiters, said Capt. Rob

Winchester, a MCRC spokesman in Quantico, Va. Officials kept the products

at district stations until modems were installed to complement the network

interface cards in the PCs, he said.

MCRC is not standardizing on any single vendor's products, and it obtained

its PCs through Marine Corps Systems Command officials' quarterly blanket

purchasing agreement buys, Winchester said. The BPAs feature products by

Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp. and Micron Electronics

Inc.

The notebooks run on Microsoft Corp. Windows NT Server 4.0 networks.

Recruiters can download the Electronic Personnel Security Questionnaire,

an automated security applicant-screening tool, as well as automated enlistment

forms, applicant tests, computer-based video clips and the Marine Opportunities

Book, which Winchester described as an encyclopedia-like listing of job

opportunities within the Marine Corps.

The Army deployed more than 10,000 notebooks running the Army Recruiting

Information Support System. But unlike Army officials, who said that they

want to project the image of a high-tech force, the Marines say that they

just want to improve recruiters' effectiveness and efficiency.

Because Marine recruiters have achieved their recruiting goals for 65

consecutive months, they say there's no need to overhaul their process.

In deploying the notebooks, however, they are trying to comply with a paperless

processing initiative from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Winchester

said.

The Marines are working on obtaining remote network connectivity for

the notebooks through dial-up, Digital Subscriber Line or cable modems,

he said. They eventually want to use the notebooks remotely to download

e-mail messages, electronically forward recruiter leads, offer computer-based

training and format applicant forms, which the Army has been doing for more

than a year, Winchester said.

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