Army opening IT contracting center

The "provisional" establishment of the Army Contracting Agency this month is aimed at improving services for the warfighter by centralizing procurement of enterprise information technology products and services, according to the head of the new agency's IT division.

Sandra Sieber, acting director of the ACA's Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4), said the goal of her office was to support the service's ongoing transformation by making it easier for its main IT customers to purchase products and services in a smarter, cheaper and easier way. Such customers include the Office of the Chief Information Officer, the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems and the Network Enterprise Technology Command.

ITEC4 officially will launch Oct. 1, with a primary location in Washington, D.C. Speaking May 29 at Army IT Day in McLean, Va., Sieber said ITEC4's top priorities include empowering installations to place orders and saving money by using IT contracting enterprises.

Sieber said ITEC4 was evaluating many e-commerce initiatives and automated processes, including reverse auctions and an Army-wide automated ordering process called A-Mart that is similar to the Defense Department's EMall.

She added that the office would establish small-business initiatives and registries and was looking at what the other military services are doing in those areas. It also is developing a Web site for the Army Knowledge Online portal that will include information on how to do business with ITEC4.

Although it's clear that ITEC4 will handle hardware, software and IT services, telecommunications is still an "open question for the National Capital Region," she said. "It will be reviewed in the coming fiscal year and a decision will be made if we'll assume that mission."

The ACA will report to the Defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. Its overall objectives include:

* Eliminating redundancies by regionalizing contracts over $500,000 whenever possible.

* Allowing installations to focus on core competencies.

* Establishing contingency contracting.

* Aligning with the Army's information management initiatives.

Army IT Day was sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Northern Virginia chapter and the Signal Corps Regimental Association's Greater Washington, D.C.-Albert J. Myer chapter.

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