Marines land Dell notebook deal

Computers will enhance the Marine Corps' aging IT infrastructure as it awaits the arrival of NMCI

The Marine Corps has awarded a $17.8 million contract to Dell Computer Corp. for 9,940 notebook computers as the service awaits the arrival of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

The award, announced May 6 and conducted by the Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va., is intended to stabilize the Marines' aging information technology infrastructure.

The ruggedized Dell laptop computers will go to those who need them the most, officials said. The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif., for example, will get laptops to replace their existing, outdated computers.

The Marines have had to institute contingency plans because of 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 sites.

Corps officials have said that the contingency plans are not costing the service additional money because they are using money that would have gone to the NMCI rollout. The Marine Corps represents about 68,000 NMCI seats.

The Corps has always been a top priority under NMCI because of its aging IT infrastructure. Under the original NMCI schedule, the service was slated for rollout this month, but NMCI officials don't expect the Corps to begin implementing NMCI until January 2003.

NMCI officials are in the process of laying out a precise schedule — a task that had been awaiting the Pentagon's certification of the program May 3.

The Marine Corps is widely seen as well-prepared for NMCI. The service streamlined its networks and applications years ago, so the Corps will not have to deal with the thousands of legacy applications and hundreds of networks that have bogged down the Navy.

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