The Paige exit. My E-ring sniffer has picked up heavy message traffic that Emmett Paige Jr. ASD/C3I will leave his post May 23 - with no viable replacement in sight. This leaves Paige's deputy Tony "The Enforcer" Valletta in charge during the interregnum. All of us here at Intercept Central will miss Paige and his ALL CAPS communiques.

* The MS/Navy summit. Last October almost enough Navy stars to equip a planetarium descended on Microsoft's HQ in Redmond Wash. to spend some time discussing "Web-centric and network-centric" computing. The Navy team headed by Marv Langston deputy assistant SecNav for gizmos included Adm. Archie Clemins CINCPACFLT Vice Adms. George Sterner commander of Navsea and John Lockard Navair and Rear Adm. Stephen Johnson. Bill Gates also attended I - who through some egregious error was left off the invitation list - have confirmed but he made only a brief appearance. Probably just wanted to check that everyone had enough latte to keep them going.

Navy officials insist the confab focused on broad issues and not the specifics of the Navy's IT-21 architecture whose interim standards have a strong MS-centric tinge. But competing vendors have expressed concern that the meeting played some role in Microsoft's dominance in the IT-21 standards.

* Widgets westward to CINCPAC. Companies anxious for a place at the IT-21 standards table have started a mad scramble for face time to plead their case to Clemins. "It's either see Clemins or start sending out my resume " said one worried gadget peddler. Clemins according to his spokesman is willing to explore all technologies.

My Makalapa Hawaii antenna site picked up strong signals that Mike McLaughlin director of the Novell Government Systems Division made the CINCPACFLT pilgrimage last week. My McLean Va. remote listening post reports that Sun Federal plans to hold a meeting with Clemins in San Diego next week where the company plans to offer him an invitation to visit Scott McNealy up north.

All this to- and fro-ing across the Pacific adds another factor to airplane seat choices: aisle or IT-21 whine-free?

* The AT&T solution. Langston wants to use IT-21 as the basis for a pilot outsourcing project on the island of Oahu but I understand that Dick Lombardi and his troops at AT&T Government Markets have a hassle-free solution. AT&T believes the HITS contract - currently under protest by GTE - has a broad enough scope to cover every part of an enterprisewide outsourcing solution from PCs and network cards to an island-spanning WAN.

* The Puget Sound MAN. According to Rear Adm. John Gauss DISA and the Navy have started to explore ways to jointly develop a MAN in the Seattle area to serve the growing number of Navy customers in the region. Look for an RFP on this one within a matter of months. The first IT-21 battle group - the Abraham Lincoln and its 12 to 15 support ships - call Everett Wash. home.


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