Defense broadens hardware buying program

HERSHEY, PA. ' The Defense Department's Enterprise Software Initiative has begun a hardware pilot with the Air Force Information Technology Commodity Council to open up discounted, enterprisewide hardware purchases to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

In February, the ESI Working Group, with members from each of the major Defense agencies, decided to run the hardware pilot using the AFITCC vehicle.

The Air Force just completed its second commodity buy this week and James Claussen, co-chair of the department's ESI, said the Working Group wanted other Defense agencies to be involved in the next quarterly buy so they can take part in the bundled savings. The next buy is expected sometime in September.

The hardware pilot is voluntary and only desktop and laptop computers can be purchased when the quarterly buy opens, said Claussen, who spoke on Tuesday at the Army Small Computer Program's annual IT conference.

The Air Force IT Commodity Council keeps 1.3 percent of all Air Force buys. With the hardware pilot, Claussen said officials with AFITCC would keep 1 percent of the total savings and would give the individual services back the 0.3 percent for each purchase that they make.

"We're pushing ESI to see if the components will do it," Claussen said. "We want to evaluate and see how this next quarter goes."

The AFITCC began last June with a mission to develop enterprise strategies for buying and managing IT products and services. The Air Force Standard Systems Group heads the council, which has representatives from all the major Air Force commands.
During the council's first bulk buy last summer, thousands of computers were purchased at a 30 percent discount.


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