Army seeks seal of approval on PCs

ATLANTA — The Army will require computer manufacturers to include its emblem on future hardware purchases to indicate that those computers have the latest, standardized software required by the service, the Army's chief information officer/G-6 announced yesterday.

The Army also wants to make sure it does not pay for some applications twice, since the service earlier this year consolidated all its Microsoft Corp. purchases under a single contract.

Army officials hope the new computer acquisition policy leads to increased cost savings and standardization, said Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, speaking at the 2003 Army Directors of Information Management Conference, cosponsored by the CIO/G-6 office and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

If Dell Inc., Gateway Inc. or MPC Computers LLC — formerly known as Micron — does not put the Army seal on hardware, then the service will not buy from them, Boutelle said. It currently is unclear whether the seal will come on computers or inside them, he added.

Some Army personnel still use Windows 3.1, 95 and 98, but the service wants everyone using Windows XP soon, he said. Running one operating system Armywide will keep costs down and let the service more easily receive software updates when released, or patches when viruses or worms are detected, Boutelle said.

The Army signed in June a Microsoft enterprise licensing agreement that covers purchases of the company's software for all service personnel. The deal, worth $78 million in 2003 and up to $471 million through 2009, starts Oct. 1.

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