Intercepts

NSIPS, DIMHRS Delays

The Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) contract was to be awarded in June. But it was pushed to late July. Then officials in the service's Program Executive Office for Information Technology said it would be awarded in August.

Now that deadline has passed.

Bidders hope the contract award will come by the end of fiscal 2003, which is Sept. 30. Industry officials said NSIPS' lengthy approval process and the difficulty in convening various approval boards in the summer slowed it down.

The system will consolidate numerous older human resource systems to a Web-based architecture before the service switches to the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System. DIMHRS will be the HR system for all military personnel, but one of its contracts is delayed, too.

DIMHRS' integration contract was to be awarded this summer. PeopleSoft Inc. received its system software contract two years ago.

NSA's Hiring Spree

The National Security Agency is not only hiring its third senior acquisition executive in three years. The ultra-secretive intelligence agency wants to hire 1,600 people in 2004, said NSA's director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden.

NSA has received 87,500 resumes since Sept. 11, 2001, Hayden said. The agency hired 600 new people in 2001, 800 in 2002 and should hire 1,150 this year, he said.

The new employees re-invigorated the 53-year-old intelligence agency, which makes and breaks codes for the government. NSA workers' average age in 1999, when Hayden started working there, was 43.5. Today, 50 percent of the agency's workforce has less than three years' experience.

Three-Star Reviews

IT and communications systems' improvements were among the capabilities Air Force three-star generals discussed when they met Aug. 27 to determine what the service needs to make it a more responsive, warfighting organization.

The Capability Review and Risk Assessment process examines everything in the Air Force. Reviewers then will recommend what management changes or systems are needed to better perform the service's mission, said Col. Mike Basla, the Air Mobility Command's chief information officer.

Hughes Helps Morale

Hughes Network Systems Inc. has sold its equipment and services just above cost to the U.S. military so troops in Iraq can talk or receive e-mail using the Internet, industry officials said.

The Germantown, Md., company, which lets users access data and voice networks via satellite technology, reached a deal with the Defense Department in late April and has provided more than 500 units to date, company officials said.

"There are some morale issues," said Michael Pollack, Hughes' marketing director. "We are in an era of the Internet and cell phones. We wanted to offer our services at a very low price so tens of thousands of troops can be connected in Iraq."

ABCs of ABCS

The Army Battle Command System (ABCS) saved lives during the major combat phase in Iraq. Ground friendly fire deaths totaled 55 in Operation Desert Storm but only two in Operation Iraqi Freedom because of coalition forces' ability to digitally track themselves using computers on the battlefield.

But that does not mean ABCS was easy to use or rugged enough for Iraq. Troops reported "user-friendliness and durability issues," an Army official said.

Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. touted their ABCS products the week of July 15 in Washington, D.C. Raytheon's Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and Northrop Grumman's Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below (FBCB2) system had many successes, but there were shortcomings, too.

The systems' lessons-learned documents offered 103 recommendations for improving field artillery and blue force — tracking systems — 88 for FBCB2 and 15 for AFATDS.

ABCS is a nine-year, $20 billion initiative to integrate 11 Army command and control systems, enabling troops to access warfighting information so they know where they are, where their buddies are and where their enemies are on the battlefield.

Iraq Crossing Globally

When President Bush signed a free trade agreement between the United States and Singapore Sept. 3, he paved the way for Singapore Technologies Pte. Ltd. to finally acquire Global Crossing, industry officials said.

The Asian defense manufacturer likely will buy the troubled telecommunications provider by the end of the month. It also may be in time for Global Crossing to receive one of three contracts for Iraq's new telecom infrastructure, officials said.

Three regional contracts also will be awarded by the end of the month to ensure that the entire country gets coverage, Linton Lewis II, principal deputy to DOD chief information officer John Stenbit, said Aug. 1.

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