Council ideas save Air Force $4 million

Officials from the new Air Force Information Technology Council said it saved the service $4 million in fiscal year 2003 by consolidating desktop and notebook PC purchases for three of the Air Force's nine major commands.

The Air Combat Command, the Air Education and Training Command and the U.S. Air Force Europe bought 14,863 desktops and 763 laptops that adhered to council plans for buying and managing IT products and services. ACC saved $1 million and AETC saved $3 million by combining their PC buys, said a Dec. 8 statement from the Air Force Headquarters Standard Systems Group.

"The IT Commodity Council's Air Force-wide strategy for desktops and laptops allows us to more fully leverage the buying power of the Air Force and make better use of our resources," said Air Force chief information officer John Gilligan, who co-chairs the council. "Now that we've proven this industry best practice as a viable approach for the Air Force, the ITCC will begin to develop enterprisewide strategies for other commodities to help achieve efficiencies in the areas of IT acquisition, installation, maintenance and disposal."

The Air Force IT Commodity Council got the three commands to agree to common computer configurations, including one desktop and two notebooks. This approach ensured the new PCs met service architecture and usability guidelines, said Ken Heitkamp, council director and Standard System Group technical director, in the statement.

The current standard desktop PC configuration includes a 2.6 GHz Pentium M processor or equivalent, an 80G hard drive, 512M of RAM, a DVD-RW drive, four USB 2.0 ports and a 10/1,000-Mbps Ethernet network interface card; notebooks require a 1.6-GHz processor, a 40G hard drive and at least a 14-inch screen, Heitkamp said.

"Just like Wal-Mart, the Commands were able to take advantage of volume discounts --something our individual budgets just didn't support," said Air Force Maj. Adam Green, CIO for the AETC Support Branch.

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