INTERCEPTS

DISA rumor du jour. The crystal-ball gazers now have DISA director Lt. Gen. Al Edmonds retiring this fall to take over as ASD/C3I from Emmett Paige Jr., who has made very clear his intention to retire after the elections. Hard to figure this one out because the last time the Interceptor encountered Edmonds, he looked quite content with his current job - not to mention that other folks say he really wants the Space Command job.

* * *

Hot ISC turf fight. Paige has weighed in on the side of the Fort Huachuca, Ariz.-based Army Information Systems Command - which he commanded - in its turf fight with Forscom and Cecom. Internal Army studies call for making ISC subordinate to Forscom, with some acquisition and engineering functions transferred to Cecom. Paige, in an interview with Bill Hess in Arizona's Sierra-Vista Herald, said he would prefer to see ISC remain as a separate Army organization, with ISC outfits such as Fifth Signal becoming part of regional commands rather than ending up under Forscom.

* * *

Discount...what discount? A little-noticed footnote in a recent GAO report on federal telecommunications costs pointed out that DISA currently receives a 9.5 percent discount from AT&T for switched-voice services on the DCTN transition contract. But evidently DISA's support for the warfighters does not extend to passing on this discount to all those warfighters in the three services. Instead, according to GAO, DISA has retained this discount to offset "future network-transition costs."

DOD's switched-voice rates also come with a 3 percent overhead fee and a 2 percent "stabilization" fee. Add these to the 9.5 percent, and the overhead on DOD switched-voice service comes within half a percent of the 15 percent GSA used to charge on FTS 2000. It looks like DISA has eaten up a big chunk of whatever "deal" AT&T's Harry Carr made on the DCTN extension.

* * *

Boffo, bothered and bewildered. The Interceptor has received a series of e-mails from the Army ISMA activity at Fort Monmouth, N.J., questioning his use of the word "boffo" to describe an appearance Paige made at AFCEA Germany. My faithful ISMA correspondent thought the word was a pejorative, as did 14 of his friends. I bounced back an e-mail, noting that my dictionary had only one definition of boffo that was hardly pejorative, instead reading "very popular or successful."

Back came another ISMAgram, whose author admitted he did know the dictionary definition but still decided to consider the word pejorative. No wonder these folks have such a hard time settling on standards: They have to argue the meaning of every word first.

* * *

The GPS Y2K problem. According to our friends in GPSland (who have no doubts about where they're at), the GPS Year 2000 problem is even more complicated than the relatively straightforward computer Y2K issue. The GPS week count started at midnight on Jan. 5-6, 1980, and the clocks will roll over on Aug. 21, 1999, not January 2000. This means that on Aug. 22, 1999, GPS receivers will show the date as Jan. 7, 1980 - a problem that could drive the White Rabbit into a real dither.

Fixing the Y2K problem in GPS receivers is even more complex than a fix in PCs because timing is in the firmware and could require a wholesale replacement of PROMs.

* * *

Space is the place. Col. Marlin Forbes, DISA's DISN PM, is following the lead of Sun Ra, picking up responsibility for space-based systems within the global DISN, according to Maj. Gen. David Kelley, DISA's deputy director. As soon as Forbes finishes trooping to the Hill to explain the DISN acquisition strategy to every member of Congress, look for him and Kelley to take a European swing to get ready to launch DISN there.

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