Intercepts

JNN fielding costs. Where, oh where, has Raduege gone? Pentagon declares war -- on industry?

JNN fielding costs

The Interceptors occasionally obtain military documents that -- well, let's just say that they're not posted on Defense Department Web sites. We've never obtained a "red top"-- the classified ones that we shouldn't ever get. But we get our fair share of "for official use only" documents, the unclassified-but-sensitive kind.

Last week, we got a juicy briefing on the Joint Network Node (JNN) program that staff members gave last month to Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff. JNN is the service's new mobile battlefield communications system used in Iraq.

The 36-page document, "JNN to Warfighter Information Tactical-Network Brief," states that the Army can save $3 billion by fielding JNN instead of upgrading the Mobile Subscriber Equipment-Triservices Tactical terminals. Those are the Cold War-era comm systems the service learned couldn't get the job done in Iraq and Afghanistan. The document states that the Army will spend about $5 billion "to sustain the current network with JNN fielding," compared with more than $8 billion without it.

Now we know why companies, including Northrop Grumman and EDO, want the Army to open the JNN procurement to competition. It is under a sole-source contract to General Dynamics. A new procurement would be worth a lot of dough.

Where, oh where, has Raduege gone?

We recently had a chance to catch up on the phone with Harry Raduege, the newly retired Air Force three-star general whose last service was as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander of the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations.

Raduege said he is doing some consulting on a personal basis and interviewing for jobs with some companies.

"I have lots of energy and lots of ideas," he said.

Raduege and his wife are living in Columbus, Ohio, and he is a big Buckeyes fan. He had been looking forward to watching the Ohio State vs. Penn State game Oct. 8 with family and friends.

Intercepts East is a huge Nittany Lions' supporter because he hails from Pittsburgh. So he and Raduege sparred over the outcome of the big game in Happy Valley.

As it turned out, his Buckeyes lost.

Pentagon declares war -- on industry?

Loren Thompson does not often diss DOD officials. However, the chief operating officer at the think tank Lexington Institute took a verbal swipe at DOD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon's new acquisition head, Ken Krieg, in a brief he wrote last month, "Pentagon Declares War on the Defense Industry."

Thompson took exception to a speech that Krieg gave in September in which Krieg said the government must guard against the influence of the military-industrial complex. "Kenneth Krieg's reference to Eisenhower's speech [in his famous 1961 farewell address] is just the latest reflection of what an amateurish operation Rumsfeld has been running for the last four years," Thompson wrote. "In fact, Krieg is a prime example of what has come to be called the FEMA effect -- a person with few relevant credentials who was put in a critical job because Rumsfeld trusted him to be loyal."

That's harsh. So we called Thompson to find out what inspired him to write those salty words.

Thompson said he believes Rummy and his inner circle are blaming the defense industry for their inability to sell their agenda to Congress. He cited the Space-based Infrared System and the Transformational Communications System as examples of pet programs with little support on Capitol Hill.

"Rumsfeld has done the worst job of any Defense secretary I've seen in terms of not getting along with the Congress," Thompson said. "I know there are a lot of people who share my view. I believe it's the job of a think tank to share this."

That he did.

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

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