Rumsfeld Rules

New Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has more life rules than Forrest Gump has chocolates in a box. Rumsfeld apparently is trying to muzzle his subordinates in the Pentagon and restrict their conversing with anyone outside the building. Art Money, the DOD chief information officer, recently issued a memo to his staff, the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and others on Rumsfeld's behalf stating that anyone making contact with the White House, Congress or the press — now known as national security threats one, two and three — will pre-report that contact with Money, and he will report daily to Rumsfeld. Anyone taking bets on whether Money was pre- notified before the memo was leaked to the press?

Death by DII

Should the Defense Information Systems Agency decide to re-compete the contract for developing Defense Information Infrastructure (DII) software, Logicon Inc. deserves to win just for explaining fairly succinctly what DII is. Logicon is currently working on the second of three three-year options on a contract to build the DII software. Although most DII briefings suffocate listeners to death with cliched buzzwords, incomprehensible acronyms and technical jargon, Logicon executive Jackie Lawrence ably explained during a Jan. 30 press conference that DII is the architecture on which new command and control systems are being built. Because the new systems use the same software, they — in theory at least — will seamlessly share data, thereby repairing a situation where seemingly each branch of the most technically sophisticated military in the world now communicates with another branch using hand signals and tin cans on a string. The Logicon solution sounds clear to us.

Dueling Unders

The idea of creating an undersecretary of Defense for command and control is catching on, but the devil is in the details. Some officials are floating the idea of having the position of the assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence — Art Money's other title — elevated to the undersecretary level, with control of up to 10 percent of the Pentagon IT budget. Then in January, another report on space recommended restructuring the same office and creating an undersecretary of Defense for space, intelligence and information.

Both proposals give the position much more clout, but Ronald Fogleman, former Air Force chief of staff who helped write the space report, said that he believes the new undersecretary should not oversee the IT budget but instead leave it with the individual services. Because Rumsfeld chaired the commission that produced the space report, Fogleman's vision of the undersecretary may have the upper hand.

PC Paperweight

Rudy de Leon, former President Clinton's deputy Defense secretary, issued a memo in early January requiring that all computers' hard drives be destroyed before the computers are donated to schools or disposed of — whether or not they were used for processing classified information. Historically, the Pentagon has destroyed only the hard drives of classified computers. De Leon's reasoning is this: "The proliferation of networked unclassified desktop computers, with their ability to retain vast amounts of information, and the resultant possibility of increased sensitivity of the aggregated data, dictated that we properly sanitize unclassified computer equipment before it is turned in for disposal or reutilization."

Although nobody wants Little Johnny discovering computer files with step-by-step instructions for building a nuclear bomb, destroying hard drives seems a tad excessive. It's about as useful as calling a Ford Pinto on blocks yard art.

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