Army adopts bulk buying

LAS VEGAS — The Army will start its own commodity buying plan in early fiscal 2006 after watching the Air Force get discounted prices and better standardization on hardware using this strategy, Army officials said.

The award of the Army Desktop & Mobile Computing 2 contracts in November will serve as the primary source for commodity buying. The new deals for desktop, notebook and server computers will be worth $5 billion during the next 10 years, said Michelina LaForgia, assistant project manager for the Army Small Computer Program. She spoke today at the annual Army Information Technology Conference sponsored by the organization.

Army IT officials are reviewing a plan that addresses the service’s particular needs for implementing commodity buying. The service’s IT operations are more decentralized than the Air Force so the service must put a process in place that forces some centralization while adhering to its current IT management structure, said Kevin Carroll, program executive officer in the Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems. He also spoke at the conference.

But Army IT officials want to increasingly buy and manage IT as an enterprise to increase network security, management and cost savings. The process balances these concerns, Carroll said.

The Air Force started commodity hardware buys with the introduction of the service’s IT Commodity Council in 2003. Service officials believe the council’s policy on hardware purchases yielded millions of dollars in cost savings and cost avoidance and placed almost 20 percent of the Air Force’s hardware inventory on the same standards and configurations.

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