Intercepts

CIO overhaul?

Remember C4I? The former Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence morphed when its intelligence duties were removed. But the Interceptor has heard that Defense Department officials may bring C4I back.

DOD officials mulled the decision during the holiday break shortly after President Bush signed into law a much-debated intelligence bill. That legislation created a new intelligence director, and now officials think they can combine the offices of the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, led by Stephen Cambone, and assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration and chief information officer. Linton Wells II is acting assistant secretary.

Former DOD chief information officer John Stenbit, a satellite communications expert, must be seething about the turn of events. He apparently retired last year because he was stripped of his intelligence duties. Maybe he'll be back. The post has been vacant for months.

JNN fill up

Rumors that the Joint Network Node (JNN), the Army's new mobile battlefield communications systems, has major bugs are untrue, said Lt. Col. Francis Huber, CIO in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. The division's soldiers will use the system when they return to Iraq early this year.

The most serious issue soldiers uncovered during five months of training with JNN involved the design of a gas tank in the generator that powers the Ku-band satellite trailer for the system, Huber said. The tank has since been redesigned so that it is easier for soldiers to fill the generator using the five-gallon gas cans they use in combat.

Huber lauded officials at General Dynamics, JNN's developer, and the Army Signal Center, which oversees the system's training, for getting soldiers comfortable with the Promina broadband services delivery platforms and Cisco Systems' voice-over-IP telephones and routers.

"They have not denied me anything," Huber said, adding that Brig. Gen. Jan Hicks, commanding general of the Army Signal Center, "has been here a lot."

NSPS guinea pigs

Navy Secretary Gordon England said DOD civilian employees will start using the new National Security Personnel System in three phases during the next 18 months, beginning in July.

Phase 1 includes 60,000 people. Phase 2 includes the remaining workforce after DOD officials assess and certify the new performance management system. Phase 3 involves employees at the department's labs.

The system "provides an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of the department through a simplified personnel management system that will improve the way it hires and assigns, as well as compensate and rewards its employees," England wrote in a Dec. 15, 2004, DOD statement. He will oversee the implementation of the system.

We're sure officials at the American Federation of Government Employees must be counting down the days until it gets implemented.

Data heaven

Metadata firms got an early holiday gift when DOD Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz signed a new policy that requires personnel to make data more visible, accessible and understandable.

The Dec. 2, 2004, directive, "Data Sharing in a Net-Centric Department of Defense," leans heavily on the tagging of information. The nine-page document states that "DOD metadata standards shall comply with applicable national and international consensus standards for metadata exchange whenever possible. All metadata shall be discoverable, searchable and retrievable using DOD-wide capabilities."

To get up to speed on the new policy, we advise DOD information technology workers to use their holiday gift cards to buy the book "The Semantic Web: A Guide to the Future of XML, Web Services, and Knowledge Management."

Budget trial balloon

Warfighting IT programs could get almost $500 million more in funding from 2006 to 2011, according to a budget document that Wolfowitz signed Dec. 23, 2004.

Pentagon officials want to add $825 million to the Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite and $592 million to the service's Space-Based Radar programs. Then they want to subtract $476 million from the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance, $400 million from the Transformational Satellite program and $50 million from the Joint Warfare Simulation initiatives. The figures were reported in a Jan. 2 story on InsideDefense.com.

However, officials at defense IT companies should not start licking their chops. Wolfowitz and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld skillfully use such documents and stories to gauge debate in industry circles and on Capitol Hill.

Intercept something? Send it to bbrewin@fcw.com or ftiboni@fcw.com.

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