State Department discovers the Internet

FORT MONMOUTH - N.J. - In a case of technology transfer within the federal government, the State Department will pay the U.S. Army`s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) as much as $25,000 for the first year to use CECOM`s Internet-based on-line buying system to handle procurements from the department`s contractors.

Aug 1st, 1998

By John Rhea

FORT MONMOUTH - N.J. - In a case of technology transfer within the federal government, the State Department will pay the U.S. Army`s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) as much as $25,000 for the first year to use CECOM`s Internet-based on-line buying system to handle procurements from the department`s contractors.

Under an agreement signed between the two organizations in May, State Department officials will reimburse CECOM for the first year`s server maintenance and operations. Then they will decide whether they want to stay with the Army system, develop one of their own, or return to the old manual ways.

State Department officials plan to test the system initially at embassies in Europe and eventually extend it to all its overseas offices.

CECOM officials set up their business opportunity page on the Internet in June 1997 at a cost of about $70,000, says Matt Meinert, the program manager at the command`s Acquisition Center.

The page, which covers about $4.2 billion a year in the command`s electronics procurement, enables users to search for contracts by the name of the contracting officer, the Commerce Business Daily category, or type of solicitation.

The system now handles all procurements of more than $100,000, but Meinert says he wants to push that down to $2,500, essentially to all but the incidental procurements.

The system uses standard software and has a sufficiently open architecture that CECOM officials are planning upgrades, including ways to notify vendors of upcoming contract meetings.

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