Intercepts

Hawaii stars

Although many people on the mainland think people stationed in Honolulu spend more time on the beach than in the office, a tour with the Pacific Command looks like a career-enhancing move based on the promotions announced at AFCEA International’s annual TechNet Asia-Pacific conference.

Jennifer Napper, the command’s director of command, control, communications and computer systems, pinned on her Army brigadier general star Nov. 6, the first day of the conference. On the second day, attendees were told that her predecessor, Army Brig. Gen. Randy Strong, had made the Army two-star list.

Strong is commander of the Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Ga., but he managed to wangle his way to Hawaii as a guest speaker on the TechNet interoperability panel. That’s not a bad gig, especially because the panelists — not the attendees — had a great view of Diamond Head.

Integrator indigestion

As the Interceptor has reported on FCW.com, retired Army Maj. Gen. Dave Bryan, who once served as Pacom’s Joint Staff director for command, control, communications and computers and is now a defense veep at Northrop Grumman, used his turn on the TechNet panel to grouse about the difficulty of finding much profit in the Defense Information Systems Agency’s new approach to acquiring everything — from computing center hardware to command-and-control systems — as a fee-based service.

He was not alone. The Interceptor had lunch with an executive from another major integrator who complained that the company was struggling to make a business case for service-based work, in which fees are based on the number of users.

Another integrator executive mused that if DISA continues down the services path, TechNet Asia-Pacific can hold its annual meeting in a couple of booths at a Denny’s because few vendors will be able to afford the airfare to Hawaii.

Aloha, FBI

Charles Goodwin, special agent in charge at the FBI’s Honolulu office, was one of the speakers at the TechNet Post-9/11 Intelligence Reform session led by Rear Adm. Andrew Singer, Pacom’s director of intelligence. He joined a bunch of other folks in uniform on the panel, which is a surprise because FBI agents usually keep to themselves.

As the panel discussed whether intelligence- and information-sharing among agencies had improved since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Goodwin said his mere presence on the panel spoke volumes. If an intelligence-sharing panel had been held in November 2000, “I would not have been here,” he said.

As most of us learned in elementary school, actions speak louder than words.

Here comes HF IP

The Interceptor spent his youth carrying an AN/PRC-47 HF SSB radio on his back in the Marine Corps, an activity that required a strong back and weak mind. He has always hoped that this free form of long-haul communications would see a revival. The alternative is to launch expensive satellites.

Bob Stephenson, chief technology officer for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence operations at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, renewed those hopes by telling the TechNet interoperability panel that Spawar recently successfully tested sending IP traffic via high-frequency radio links, including a test with a Navy E-2C early warning aircraft.

Stephenson said the data rate for HF IP was about 19.2 kilobits/sec — the speed of a mid-1980s modem — and therefore could not move imagery. But it would be well-suited for chat sessions, which he said the Navy uses in its operations.

Spawar tested HF IP only using ground wave, which has a range of about 30 miles. But Stephenson said he thinks IP could be used with HF sky wave, which has a range of about 1,800 miles.

HF IP could help the Navy communicate with ships that are too small to carry a satellite dish, such as minesweepers. The technology could also assist ships from countries that cannot afford satellite communications.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Frank Kisner, Pacom’s deputy director for strategic planning and policy and a former C-130 pilot, said the Air Force might want to investigate the use of HF IP for communicating with its fleet of airlifters, which rely heavily on a global HF network for voice communications.

Urgently needed: Suggestions for an outrageously expensive restaurant

Months ago, the Interceptor bet Anne Armstrong, FCW’s publisher, that Jim Webb would ultimately win Virginia’s Senate race. The loser of the bet would be hosting the winner at an outrageously expensive restaurant somewhere in metropolitan Washington, D.C.

Now that I’ve won, I would appreciate suggestions of a few superb, budget-busting restaurants. Anne, never bet against a Marine.

And belated 231st birthday greetings to all my fellow Marines.

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

The 2014 Federal 100

FCW is very pleased to profile the women and men who make up this year's Fed 100. 

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