Intercepts

DISA's Google service; The DISA DMZ; AHLTA not quite there yet; COAST into hurricane season?; Coins honor disabled vets

DISA’s Google service
It should surprise no one — but is still worth reporting — that DISA is testing Google software for a Defense Department-specific search engine, according to a brief last month by Cmdr. Rex Cobb, leader of an agency customer outreach team.

Cobb added that DISA is testing Akamai for content delivery and has started testing service-oriented architecture at its Columbus, Ohio, enterprise data center.

I don’t know why, other than obvious reasons, DISA decided to test Google for search functions, but I hope they used my China rule.

I don’t use Yahoo for anything because it fingers Chinese dissidents and exposes them to some really unpleasant authorities, while Google merely kowtows by helping to censor Chinese Web content.

Earlier this year, company officials set up a Web site, www.google.cn, to censor itself to satisfy Chinese authorities.

The DISA DMZ
The Defense Information Systems Agency did not invite the Interceptor to its customer conference earlier this month — definitely a lost bonding opportunity — but I still managed to pick up some information from that clambake, including some good info about the agency’s efforts to build a demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the Internet and the Non-secure IP Router Network.

According to a copy of the presentation by Cmdr. Laura Boehm of the DISA Information Assurance Support Environment network security shop that made its way to Intercepts Central, DISA plans to set up buffers — the agency calls them special-purpose gateways — between the Internet and NIPRNET.

Those gateways would facilitate a deeper inspection of inbound NIPRNET traffic by category, such as Web site requests or e-mail messages, Boehm told the conference. The gateways would also inspect corresponding outbound traffic.

DISA is developing a DMZ program as part of what Boehm said is an aggressive computer network defense project.

The agency also plans to create a federal DMZ as a way to connect other agencies — such as the mob folded under the Homeland Security Department umbrella — to NIPRNET, Boehm told conference attendees.

This federal DMZ would also serve as a secure enclave for traffic from state and local entities, with DHS’ OneNet functioning as a bridge between state and local agencies and NIPRNET. All of that, of course, is based on DISA’s brave assumption that anything hatched by DHS will ever work.

AHLTA not quite there yet
DOD’s Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) electronic health records system is a work in progress, said Air Force Col. Anthony O’Koren, program manager for the Military Health System’s Clinical Information Technology Program Office.

A recent DOD inspector general report rated AHLTA as a high-risk endeavor because it requires integrating a variety of commercial software products into a global system. O’Koren acknowledged the risk and said, “My job is to look at and mitigate risk.”

That job includes the ability to forecast the future as the Military Health System tries to decide what commercial lab and radiology software will work best for a system designed to serve more than 9 million beneficiaries.

O’Koren said he has enlisted the help of Gartner in this crystal ball exercise.

COAST into hurricane season?
The Naval Postgraduate School, one of my favorite outfits, kicked off this year’s version of the Coalition Operating Area Surveillance and Targeting System (COAST) experiment last week in Thailand. NPS used commercial wireless technology, such as WiMax and Wi-Fi gear, for the networks.

Fortress Technologies will supply gadgets and gizmos to help NPS secure those networks. An NPS COAST system was pressed into service last year to support tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Another was deployed in U.S. Gulf Coast states for Hurricane Katrina relief operations.

The Interceptor thinks the U.S. Northern Command should tap NPS to supply a bunch of COAST systems for the upcoming hurricane season.

Coins honor disabled vets
The Senate passed a bill last week calling on the Treasury Department to mint a $1 coin to commemorate veterans with disabilities.

If House lawmakers agree — and why wouldn’t they? — Treasury will design and then mint a half-million commemorative coins that are 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.

It’s hard to tell how well this coin will sell, but if it succeeds like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial coin, I suggest you buy a bunch now.

Those silver dollars sell for $80 to $200, depending on their condition.

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

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