Intercepts

The Gray Lady renames DISA. DOD RFID delays? The NMCI GCCS problem. The satellite genie.

The Gray Lady renames DISA

The Global Information Grid (GIG) has gone mainstream, thanks to an extensive article in The New York Times Nov. 13 that refers to DISA as the Defense Information Security Agency, not the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Since the Times is so authoritative, we wondered if we had missed the name change and called DISA spokeswoman Betsy Flood for a reality check. Flood assured us that we had missed nothing and said DISA will keep "systems" rather than "security" in its name, no matter what the Times published.

The article also confused readers by lumping a bunch of programs into the GIG, including the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System. It also incorrectly referred to the Milstar satellite system as a predecessor of the GIG.

In the interest of full disclosure of mistakes, we ran a photo in the Nov. 8 issue of the DISA building in Falls Church when the text referred to DISA headquarters on Courthouse Road in Arlington, a goof brought to our attention by more than one reader.

DOD RFID delays?

Defense Logistics Agency officials have equipped two massive depots in California and Pennsylvania with radio frequency identification (RFID) readers. They are ready to start processing RFID-tagged shipments of field rations, clothing, and repair parts or weapon system components on Jan. 1, 2005.

Suppliers, we are told, are ready and willing to start using the tags on that date, kicking off a massive project in which all 43,000 DOD suppliers will use the whiz-bang technology by Jan. 1, 2007. But the DOD RFID train appears stalled at the Office of Management and Budget.

Ed Coyle, chief of the Automatic Identification Technology Office for DOD Logistics, told us in September that he expected the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation clauses requiring the use of RFID tags to be published by the end of October. But, with the end of November rapidly approaching, OMB officials are still working on the contract language.

A spokeswoman for the office of DOD Logistics could not give us a clear indication of when those contract clauses would make it out of OMB — where officials, we imagine, are busy working on next year's federal budget.

She sent us a statement that reads, "The effective date for suppliers to implement RFID will be the date a supplier's contract contains language regarding the requirement. That could be any date in January 2005 or beyond." This seems a loose and strange approach to what DOD Logistics officials have been seeking for more than a year: a mandate on suppliers, who presumably have spent a lot of effort and money on RFID gizmos and processes.

Maybe this will be cleared up during the DOD RFID Summit for Industry in Washington, D.C., Feb. 9-10, 2005.

The NMCI GCCS problem

Some top brass out at Pacific Command are less than pleased with the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network that was installed at the new Nimitz-MacArthur Pacific Command Center at Camp Smith, Honolulu.

They are frustrated with NMCI, the brass told us in a frank, but off-the-record conversation, because it cannot run or support DOD's Common Operating Environment and therefore cannot support the Joint Global Command and Control Systems (GCCS) — a handy tool to have if you're a warfighting command.

Command officials had to install a separate network and computers to support GCCS — an awkward workaround in a building dubbed the cubicle farm shortly after it opened this spring.

Because Pacific Command is a joint command, officials must be able to run Army and Air Force applications on NMCI. But getting them on the intranet is a tortuous exercise that requires blessings with Navy holy water.

We're told Rear Adm. James Godwin, NMCI director, became aware of these problems after he visited the command earlier this month. Godwin told us customer satisfaction is his priority and views NMCI as a warfighting network.

The satellite genie

Some Web sites, including www.cryptome.org, www.fas.org and www.globalsecurity.org, ran 1-year-old, unclassified commercial satellite images of the city of Fallujah last week in response to an attempt by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency officials to have another site, gallery.colofinder.net, take the image down.

NGA officials said they could limit distribution of unclassified, commercial satellite images based on a statute enacted in 2000, which allows DOD officials to withhold satellite imagery independent of classification.

But as the photographs spread across the Net prove, it's hard to limit distribution of anything once it hits the Web. Do 1-year-old satellite photographs have any resemblance to what Fallujah looks like anyway?

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

NEXT STORY: Lockheed wins $525M SSA deal

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