Marines poised for Dell deal

The Marine Corps this week will officially sign a blanket purchase agreement with Dell Computer Corp. that will enable the service to begin replacing its aging information technology infrastructure as it prepares to move to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

Sources close to the deal said the agreement will be completed by mid-week.

The BPA is part of the Marine Corps' effort to replace nearly all of the 68,000 seats under its Enterprise Sustainment Initiative, even before the service changes over to the new NMCI network. That change is slated to begin in the second quarter of fiscal 2003, officials have said.

In May, the Marine Corps awarded Dell a $17.8 million contract for nearly 10,000 notebook computers. This week's BPA could cover the service's remaining seats.

The Enterprise Sustainment Initiative is something of a contingency plan that resulted from a delay in rolling out NMCI, a $6.9 billion effort to create a unified network across more than 400,000 Navy and Marine Corps shore-based seats.

Marine officials said that they believe their planning will enable the service to move forward with NMCI despite the overall rollout delays. The Marines are leasing the seats from Dell, which is an EDS subcontractor for NMCI. Furthermore, EDS has agreed to take over those PCs when the company begins rolling out NMCI for the Marines, service officials said.

"This is the same seat, platform, that the end user will have when we go to NMCI," a Marine Corps official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Marine officials have stressed that the contingency plans are not costing additional money because they are using money that would have gone to the NMCI rollout.

In addition to replacing the Marines antiquated infrastructure, the Enterprise Sustainment Initiative will enable the service to cut the number of applications it uses.

Legacy applications — older programs that will not be incorporated into NMCI — have been a real problem for the early NMCI rollout. The Navy tallied nearly 100,000 separate applications. The time-consuming process of streamlining those applications has slowed NMCI's rollout. The new plan is the Marine Corps' effort to stay ahead of that issue.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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