Intercepts

Air Force vs. ASD/C3I? I have been picking up strong signals that there is fallout from a newly released Air Force study, "New World Vistas," which lays out the technologies the service believes it needs and does not need over the next 25 years.

The study puts some pet projects of ASD/C3I Emmett Paige Jr. into the "don't need" category, including the Ada programming language, which the study called "irrelevant" and "arcane."

Paige, who was not even briefed by the Air Force before the study was released, did not react well to either the snub or its contents, I hear.

The report also skewers other areas near and dear to Paige. The service, the New World Vistas study says, should stop buying bandwidth to the theater, stop developing software tools and "rethink Milstar."

The Air Force should also "defocus" investments in high-capacity backbones, global telephone networks, a worldwide wireless infrastructure, the Internet and ATM. Commercial products and applications should handle most, if not all, of the above, the study says.

Paige, I hear, has commissioned a counter-study on Ada and is still strongly advocating the need for military satellite systems.

When Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall announced the study at a Pentagon press conference, she promised that it would not "sit on the shelf and gather dust." But did she think it would stir up so much dust so quickly?

* * *

Arrivederci, Carr. Harry Carr, longtime head of the AT&T Government Markets' Defense communications unit, has officially pulled the pin, bidding farewell to his troops—including platoons of AT&T Hill lobbyists—at a party at the Sheraton Washington last week. Carr is moving to New Jersey, where he'll be veep in charge of the AT&T Local Service Organization in the Bell Atlantic region.

This means Carr will attempt to win local traffic from the same company, Bell Atlantic, he partnered with on the DISN bid. What hath the telecom bill wrought?

Dick Lombardi, head of the AT&T Government Markets Group, still has not tapped a replacement for Carr, though signals indicate he's interviewed practically everyone but the Interceptor. This includes, I understand, DOD acquisition reform point woman Colleen Preston and former ASD/C3I Duane Andrews, now at SAIC. Longtime AT&T vet John Rausch will run the Defense unit until a replacement is found.

* * *

SSG nixes Desktop IV extension. That's the word from my Montgomery, Ala., listening post, which indicates Ken Heitkamp, AF SSG deputy director, has, for now, issued a flat "no" to any Desktop IV extension. The final official SSG DT IV box score, for those who like to keep track, was Zenith for 216,614 PCs and GTSI for 150,458, making a total of 367,072.

GTSI sold 122,664 office automation packages, while Zenith sold 36,601. Sounds like good news for GTSI, right? Wrong. This means GTSI has to provide free copies of Office for Win95 to all those folks—or at least to those diligent enough to send back their registration cards.

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