Intercepts

IT show cancellations

The Interceptors are getting worried about their ability to collect their frequent-flier miles because another military information technology conference has bit the dust.

Army IT officials canceled the Army Signal Symposium, which had been scheduled for December, because of the service's budget concerns and the war on terrorism. Their decision coincides with cancellation of two of the Air Force's IT shows later this year.

We hear Lt. Gen. Joe Yakovac, the Army's top procurement officer, also put a moratorium on service exhibits at the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Leaders' Conference in August for the same reasons. The Army's program executive offices typically show off their widgets and gadgets at that conference.

We applaud the belt-tightening measures by the Army and Air Force. But executives on association row in Arlington, Va., must be getting nervous.

DOIM hurricane warning

One show that has not been canceled is the Directorate of Information Management/ Army Knowledge Management Conference in August in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

But given the military's cost-cutting measures and weather forecasters' prediction of a 70 percent chance that we will have an above-normal hurricane season this year, maybe service IT leaders should reconsider.

Hurricane Frances cut short last year's conference in the city known for Kathy Willets. The Interceptors bummed a ride out of town just in the nick of time with Gordon Van Vleet and Eric Horton, two public affairs officers at the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command, in hopes of catching a flight out of Atlanta.

But after it took seven hours to reach the outskirts of Orlando, Fla. — a trip that usually takes 90 minutes from Fort Lauderdale — we realized that we would never make it to Hotlanta and that we should head west to Tampa.

Luckily, we caught a flight out of Tampa a day before Frances hit. We hope this year's conference is less eventful.

Showstopping speech

Lt. Gen. Dennis Moran, director of information, operations, networks and space in the Army's Office of the Chief Information Officer, stole the show with his speech at the Army IT Conference last week in Las Vegas.

First, Moran charmed Army IT workers by announcing that he didn't have a slide show — no small admission for a presentation by a Defense Department official.

Then Moran further endeared himself to the crowd by admitting that service IT leaders failed by not providing more clear and timely guidance to help workers implement major enterprise initiatives, adding that they would do a better job in the future.

They must have heard the whispers from the IT rank-and-file on the implementation of the Microsoft enterprise license agreements awarded last year. Army IT workers are still talking about the deals a year later.

No bull bill

Leave it to Rep. Curt Weldon, the blunt Pennsylvania Republican, to act like a bull in a china shop when cutting through DOD's fiscal 2006 budget request.

He took exception to the Pentagon and military services misusing DOD buzzwords.

"Proposed legislation seeks to redress several unfavorable trends in the Department of Defense, such as programs being called joint with only one service participating in the program," said Weldon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, before lawmakers marked up the bill last month.

We think Weldon was talking about the Joint Transport Rotorcraft, a new cargo plan to transport the Army's Future Combat Systems.

Weldon also doesn't care much for systems that don't work. He cited "programs being allowed to enter systems development and demonstration with immature technologies and ill-defined or unrealistic requirements."

We're sure we know which program Weldon was talking about there: the Joint Tactical Radio System.

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

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