Services pick all-in-one units

Services pick all-in-one units

Intelligence specialists walk away with enough hardware to suit an office

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

In part spurred by Operation Allied Force, Army and Marine Corps intelligence specialists in recent months have ordered 450 mobile office system units.

Each unit weighs 45 pounds and includes a digital camera, portable PC, printer, scanner and secure telephone. The items come mounted in a portable case.

Through five different orders, the services have bought $6 million in products through the Counter-Intelligent Human-Intelligent Analyst Tool Set (CHATS) contract held by Engineering Systems Solutions Inc., said Dennis Buley, who works in the Army's Intelligence Fusion Product Management Office of the program executive officer for command, control and communications. Most orders have come from Army organizations, he said.

The Army Communications'Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J., awarded the five-year contract to the Frederick, Md., company last July, Buley said. The Army Materiel Command resolved a protest from an unsuccessful bidder in late August, clearing the way for the company to launch the governmentwide acquisition contract in the fall, he said.

Well supplied

ESS is supplying 266-MHz Pentium portable PCs with removable hard drives from Keydata International Inc. of South Plainfield, N.J., as well as Canon USA Inc. laser printers, Eastman Kodak Co. DC-120 digital cameras, scanners from Storm Technologies Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., and secure telephones from Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J.

Each mobile office bundle is $12,882. ESS ships the units to a depot at Fort Hood, Texas, said John C. Tabler, program manager at ESS.

But CHATS had an early snafu: One of the suppliers went out of business in November.

Storm Technologies filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in November 1998. It had been supplying its Easy Photo Pro scanner, with a detachable head that lets users scan large documents such as maps, as well as bound material, Buley said.

The company's questionable financial standing forced CECOM and ESS to buy the scanners from the company's bankruptcy trustees, said Buley.

We had to meet our production needs and [have] spares for three years,' Buley said, because the service plans its systems buys around three-year lifecycles. 'The scanner market is going to flatbed scanners, so they were the only company that made a detachable head scanner that we could find.'

Take your pick

Agencies can mix and match the mobile office components, said Jay Nathan, president and chief executive officer at ESS. Users can remove all the components from the case with thumbscrews, he said. The mobile office is small enough to fit into the overhead compartment of an airplane.

All the components can be powered by one 12 volt power source and are linked to a single power button, Nathan said. Users can also stack the mobile office components on top of each other, he said.

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