The Army, along with the Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency, have access to the newest versions of Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Windows 8, under a $617 million joint enterprise license agreed to in December.
The deal, led by the Army Contracting Command in collaboration with the Army, Air Force, and Defense Information Systems Agency, known as DISA, is the best pricing DOD has received to date for Microsoft desktop and server software licenses, according to David DeVries, the DOD deputy chief Information Officer, or CIO.
Savings could run into tens of millions over the course of several years through lower license and software assurance costs, officials said. Microsoft software assurance benefits also support e-Learning, planning services, TechNet subscription services, training vouchers and the home use program.
“SharePoint Enterprise Client Access Licenses are a key upgrade to the suite of Microsoft products,” said Mike Krieger, Army deputy CIO/G-6. The Enterprise Client Access License, or CAL, includes the already in-use Standard CAL (providing a platform to share work, collaborate, and organize projects) plus more capabilities such as dashboards, chart web parts and advanced sorting.
“SharePoint Enterprise enriches business intelligence opportunities, and through Enterprise Collaboration Services, it will break down information silos to improve sharing and access to information across the Enterprise,” said Krieger.
Office 2013 could be available for Army network use by September, according to Col. Daniel Matchette, the G-5 at the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command. The Army must complete information assurance certification and accreditation, and Office 2013 must go through the standard Army Gold Master build process for use on Army networks.
Windows 8 is being evaluated for future Army enterprise use. Security implications, hardware costs, and functionality must be fully evaluated before an implementation decision and deployment schedule. Upgrades continue for all Army desktops to Windows 7; the Army Gold Master for Windows 7 was released in July 2012.
The new agreement re-instates the Army Microsoft Home Use Program, or HUP. This allows Army military, civilian and contractor personnel to purchase a licensed copy of most Office desktop applications to download on a home computer.
Army users can acquire Office for about $10 via the HUP website at http://hup.microsoft.com/. Access is controlled by official Army email extensions–e.g., mail.mil, us.army.mil, etc. The Army HUP program code is C4FAA257E3.
When Microsoft launches Office 2013, any employee who has purchased earlier versions of Office or Mac through HUP is eligible to upgrade to Office 2013. The HUP system is able to recognize employees eligible for an upgrade. During an upgrade, employees will be allowed to switch platforms.