Marines post buying guide

SAN DIEGO—The Marine Corps has created a buyer’s guide and posted it on the
Web to make sure that Marines buy and use a common suite of hardware and software

The buyer’s guide, established in August by the Marine Corps Systems Command,
lists specific servers, PCs and notebooks that local commanders and contracting offices
are authorized to buy. The guide, posted on the Web at,
also identifies standard bundled software products for different applications.

Marines must buy hardware listed in the buyer’s guide through the Corps’
Tactical Advanced Computer blanket purchasing agreements. Use of the buyer’s guide is
mandatory, and no other contracts may be used or established to buy these items without a
waiver from the Marine Corps chief information officer.

Ultimately, the Corps wants to centrally buy all hardware and software for its forces,
Debra Filippi, the Marine Corps’ deputy CIO, said at the recent Connecting Technology
Fall ’98 conference. The Marines plan to institute centralized procurement of PCs,
notebooks and servers by October and to have hubs, switches and routers procured centrally
by October 2001, she said.

Five vendors sell products through TAC PC BPAs: Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer
Corp., GE Capital IT Solutions Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., Government Technology Services
Inc. of Chantilly, Va., and McBride Associates Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M. Three vendors
sell notebook PCs: GE Capital, GTSI and McBride.

“This buyer’s guide is the first step towards attempting to bring
compatibility and accountability to our computer resources,” Filippi said.

The hardware and bundled software configurations are based on the standards adopted by
the Navy for its Information Technology for the 21st Century initiative, she said. But the
Corps has tailored the IT-21 standards to its own needs, Filippi said.

All Marine Corps hardware buys must meet a set of minimum specifications. PCs must have
at least 233-MHz Pentium II processors, 64M of RAM and 3G hard

drives. Servers require a baseline configuration of dual 200-MHz Pentium Pro
processors, 256M of RAM and two 4G hard drives. Notebooks must, at a minimum, include
166-MHz Pentium processors, 32M of RAM and 2.1G hard drives.

Entry-level, departmental and enterprise-class servers from Compaq, Hewlett-Packard Co.
and IBM Corp. are available on the TAC BPAs.

General purpose and technical PCs from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM are available.
General purpose and multimedia notebooks include offerings from IBM, Panasonic
Communications & Systems Co. of Secaucus, N.Y., and Toshiba America Information
Systems Inc.

The Marine Corps has selected Microsoft Corp. software, including Windows 9x, Windows
NT 4.0 Exchange, Office 97 Standard Edition and Outlook 97. The Systems Command is
fielding Microsoft Exchange and Outlook as the Corps’ Defense Message System server
and client software, respectively.

NT is the standard operating system for networks and servers. When it comes to PCs,
Marines have a choice of either Win95 or NT; notebooks come configured with NT, Win98 or


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