Army switches to BPAs for small-computer purchases

As the last military service to give up trying to draft its own contracts for PCs, the Army plans to award the first deals under its new blanket purchase agreement approach next month.

The service plans to award at least two Army Desktop and Mobile Computing-1 (ADMC-1) blanket purchase agreements by April 23, said Steve Miller, an Army Small Computer Program (SCP) product leader at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Bids are due March 26.

ADMC-1 will include desktop and notebook computers as well as handheld computers, personal digital assistants and wireless e-mail devices, said Stephen Larsen, an Army Communications- Electronics Command spokesman.

The $300 million BPAs will replace Army Portable-3, which expires in July, and PC-3, which ends in a year, said Lynda Cook, an SCP product leader at Fort Monmouth. Those are both indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts.

The advantage of BPAs over such contracts is that the service can award them more quickly, and they're harder to protest, Larsen said. BPAs are based on already-awarded General Services Administration information technology schedule contracts.

The downside of ADMC-1 is that Army buyers will have to pay extra if they want to purchase five-year, on-site warranties, which were standard under PC-3 and Portable-3. That feature was particularly popular with Army organizations outside the continental United States.

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