Marine Corps buys 62,000 Dell computers

The Marine Corps has signed a blanket purchasing agreement with Dell Computer Corp. to lease 62,000 OptiPlex desktop and Latitude notebook computers as part of the agency's Enterprise Sustainment Initiative.

The Corps is replacing its aging, outdated IT infrastructure with new Dell computers only months before the agency makes the transition to the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet. ESI is the Marine Corps' contingency plan in the wake of delays that pushed the Corps' rollout of NMCI back from April 2002 to February 2003.

In May, the Corps bought 10,000 Dell notebook PCs for $17.8 million and began replacing some of its systems. This latest BPA, awarded late last month, comes close to covering the remaining Marine Corps computer seats, Marine officials said.

Under the agreement, Dell will help the Marines migrate data from the old systems to the new computers and will remove the old systems, said Lt. Col. Matthew Ochs, deputy program manager for the Corps' NMCI IT infrastructure.

'Dell is actually going to come on-site and do the data migration,' Ochs said.

Dell will also service the desktop systems and will repair or replace notebook systems if they are accidentally damaged.

The three-year lease will cost the Marine Corps $45 million a year, Ochs said. When the Corps transitions to NMCI starting in February 2003, the NMCI lead contractor, Electronic Data Systems Corp., will assume the lease. Dell is a subcontractor under EDS.

'This enhances our transition to NMCI,' Ochs said. 'This is the same platform that the end user will have when we go to NMCI. This is a win-win for not only the Marine Corps, but EDS and Dell.'

Specific for use

The Dell OptiPlex desktop and Latitude notebook PCs actually exceed standards for NMCI, Ochs said. The computers will run under Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional but will have varied NMCI-compatible configurations depending on their use.

The NMCI contract specifies Dell OptiPlex GX240 and GX150 systems for desktop computers and Latitude C600 notebook systems for portable computing, said Jim Glaze, Dell's strategic agency manager for the Navy and Marine Corps.

NMCI will provide a unified voice, video and data network across 400,000 Navy and Marine Corps computers.

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