Born joint?

AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute recently held their annual conference in San Diego to discuss the progress of the armed forces' transformation. This year, the theme of the West 2004 conference was "Born Joint."

Joint concepts have become all the rage since interservice operations in Iraq and Afghanistan proved so effective in combat.

However, for a conference that was supposed to be about jointness, the lack of Army green and Air Force blue was apparent throughout the week. Of all of the panel discussions held on the value of joint operations and technologies, only one Air Force brigadier general, Gregory Power of the 8th Air Force, represented the warriors of the wild blue, and no Army personnel were present to speak for the ground pounders and tread heads.

To be fair, Army Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, former commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, was expected to participate but was detained at the last minute and could not attend.

Jointness is easier said than done.

NMCI 1, Airlines 0

Praise for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet can be hard to come by, as many in the waterborne services grumble about losing their favorite desktop settings when

they are brought onto the servicewide


But despite its perceived downsides, NMCI does what it was designed to do, according to Navy Capt. Kevin Uhrich, director of the Naval Networks Division of the Navy Network Warfare Command.

Speaking on a panel about NMCI at the West 2004 conference, Uhrich praised the network for fulfilling its promises.

"Thanks to NMCI for delivering my e-mail to San Diego this morning," he quipped. "As opposed to the airline, which delivered my luggage to Seattle last night."

When considered in that context, maybe NMCI's $8.8 billion price tag, and its drag on lead contractor EDS' earnings, is worth it.

Alive and kicking

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army's new chief of staff, may be wondering why

he came out of retirement to head the service.

At a hearing this month, senators peppered him with questions about how he intends to pay for adding 30,000 people to the active military and why troops continue to die and lose limbs in Iraq because of unarmored Humvees.

But Defense Department officials at one time did not know the former special forces operative was back on active duty. In fact, DOD apparently thought he was dead.

Schoomaker's premature obituary on Feb. 11 made "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." The MSNBC show reported that DOD sent a notice to his Tampa, Fla., home that read, "You're Gen. Schoomaker. You are dead."

One would have to wonder why DOD would ever send a note to a dead person.

Flexing Senate muscles

We were curious about what's up with the new DOD chief information officer, Francis Harvey, who has been chosen succeed John Stenbit.

President Bush nominated Harvey in November. Bush selected Harvey last November, and Harvey appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.

The committee has given its stamp of approval, but his confirmation has yet to progress. Four months and counting.

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