SPECTRUM WARS. Vice President Al Gore announced with great fanfare this year the administration's financial and policy backing for two new civilian frequencies on Global Positioning System satellites scheduled for launch early in the next century.

But according to reports I picked up last week at the Coast Guard's Civil GPS Service Interface Committee meeting, the administration has not taken the required regulatory steps to protect these new civilian frequencies from encroachment by global, satellite-based mobile telephone systems. The United States has mounted a strong effort in planning to protect existing GPS civilian frequencies at the World Radio Conference in Turkey in December 2000, but it has "done nothing" to protect the new frequencies, according to Larry Chesto, a spectrum consultant who does work for several federal agencies. At the 1997 WRC, the United States almost lost numerous frequencies essential to protect GPS, and Chesto predicted continued assaults on that spectrum because "1 to 3 Hz is choice spectrum for the mobile satellite service people.''

* * *

DOD/DOT SPECTRUM CLASH? The new civilian frequencies proposed by Gore also lie in the same band used by the Pentagon for tactical data links used by strike aircraft. Mike Shaw, the GPS pooh-bah in the ASD/C3I shop, said he has "confidence" that DOD can work out a way to share that spectrum. But if DOD has to move some of its tactical data links to another band, then DOT "will have to share the costs equally with us,'' Shaw said. He declined to detail the size of this potential bill, but one industry source called it a considerable piece of change - potentially in the "million-dollar but not nine-digit range."

* * *

DEVELOP THAT BIZ. Those are the new marching orders for Sara DeCarlo, who has donned the business development hat at Bell Atlantic Federal while still wearing her marketing honcho hat. DeCarlo definitely has the right background for the job, including long experience on the DOD side of the business, and she's a world-class schmooze. I hope DeCarlo understands that BizDev is one of those jobs that can have the life span of a mayfly.

* * *

SUN TZU LIVES. The Defense Systems Management College added a bit of sly humor to its FOSE show booth last week in Washington, D.C. The booth featured an authentically dressed, sword-bearing Chinese actor playing the author of the legendary Art of War. But "Sun Tzu" said he has taken on a gig as a lawyer with the U.S. government because of "fewer global conflicts.''

* * *

HAPPY CAMPERS. That was the mission of Smith Johnston, working in the Rejuvenator Plus booth at FOSE. The $199 R-Plus is a high-powered back and foot massager that she said a number of federal agencies have purchased for stress-reduction programs. Johnston figures this is a good investment because it helps develop happier federal workers, "and a happier government makes for a happier country."

It should not come as a surprise that R-Plus is based in California.


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