Intercepts

The hawk and dove.

That about sums up the leading candidates to replace Emmett Paige as ASD/C3I. Owen Wormser a retired Air Force fighter pilot and head of a small Alexandria Va.-based company called Command and Consulting Inc. has mounted an all-out campaign for the job.

Wormser who said "I have made it known I'm interested" in the job says he has already built up support on the Hill. Industry sources said this includes letters of endorsement from Sen. John Warner and Rep. Tom Davis both Republicans from Virginia.

Bruce McConnell the IT policy czar for OMB for the past four years has emerged as the other strong contender for the slot. McConnell has a better policy background than Wormser sources say and already enjoys a good working relationship with incoming DOD Secretary William Cohen who helped push through policy reform legislation before leaving the Senate last year. McConnell enjoys widespread respect in the IT community and with his background and expertise looks like a shoo-in - except for one complication.

McConnell whose father was chief of staff of the Air Force during a portion of the Vietnam War received Conscientious Objector status from his draft board and performed alternative service. Asked if he thought his CO status during Vietnam would have any effect on his winning the ASD/C3I slot McConnell said "I am honored to be under consideration for the job so I can continue serving my country [just as] I did with alternative service during Vietnam."

Sources familiar with the nomination and confirmation process say McConnell's CO status could generate a lot of heat and publicity. Others suggest that Cohen who also did not serve in Vietnam may not believe military service is a prerequisite to success in the premier DOD IT slot. But memories die hard. One source said "He could have a hard time selling his policies to people [in] uniforms."

* The revolving door. Strong signals from my Pentagon North Parking mobile unit indicate that Lt. Gen. Al Edmonds has already started to put out feelers to industry and could leave Courthouse Road by this spring. Hmmm. How many three-stars can SAIC afford?

* Speaking of three-stars. Lt. Gen. Robert Gray an Army Signal Command general currently serving as deputy command for U.S. Army Europe (a rare honor for a communicator) plans to retire this June.

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