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6/9/2011
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U.S. Marines Say Yes Sir to Tablets

The military branch intends to buy more than 400,000 PCs and 15,000 tablet devices during the next five years.

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The U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to spend $880 million on a major hardware buy for hundreds of thousands of PCs over the next five years, a planned purchase that also includes the acquisition of 15,000 tablet devices.

The military arm plans to buy more than 400,000 laptop and desktop computers from multiple vendors, mainly through indefinite delivery-indefinite quality contracts with a one-year base and four one-year options, according to a request for proposal (RFP) posted on FedBizOpps.gov. The guaranteed minimum amount each firm awarded a contract will receive is $3,000, according to the RFP.

Specifically, the Marines aim to buy 131,965 general-purpose laptops and 141,838 general-purpose workstations, as well as 16,256 high-performance workstations. The RFP also allows for the purchase of 15,860 netbooks, 15,860 lightweight laptops, and other hardware, including thousands of servers.

The new hardware will provide "standardized computing equipment and worldwide integrated logistics support" for both the Marine Corps and the Department of Navy, according to the RFP. The military arm also is seeking lifecycle logistical support and specific cybersecurity and configuration requirements for the products.

Of the tablets the Marines seek to buy, 7,220 are commercial devices, while the other 7,880 are ruggedized tablets, which are typically more expensive because they are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and significant wear and tear.

The Marines seem to be embracing a trend in the federal government to explore the use of tablet devices and their effect on personnel productivity.

The military in particular seems keen to use mobile devices and tablets as part of their technology arsenal. The Army currently has several programs exploring the effect of giving soldiers--both in the battlefield and the classroom--a range of mobile and table devices on their performance.

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