INTERCEPTS

The ASD/C3I vacuum. Speculation about a replacement for Emmett Paige Jr. as ASD/C3I when he departs at the end of this month has taken a back burner to concerns about whether the office itself will survive. SecDef William Cohen kicked off an examination of the structure of OSD last week.

Folks in the know - and who inside the Beltway would admit he didn't know? - bet that the ASD/C3I post will remain vacant until Nov. 30 when the Task Force on Defense Reform is due to deliver its report.

Cohen made a strong commitment to "eliminate unneeded organizations functions and personnel" within OSD but he also conceded the difficulty of changing anything in the Pentagon in months let alone years. Cohen observed that Clark Clifford proposed "essentially the same" reforms in 1947 during his tour as SecDef.

* Honest John. Hamre that is who is charged with managing the Task Force on Defense Reform. Hamre referred to himself in a press briefing on the subject as a "comptroller geek." Hamre can afford to laugh at himself he said the newly created reform panel has determined that DOD comptroller is the only essential position in the Pentagon.

* Still campaigning. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the ASD/C3I job Owen Wormser the former fighter jock and widgeteer continues to press his candidacy. I encountered Wormser in downtown D.C. last week as Wormser was about to enter a strategy session at Red Sage. Politics is hell.

* The Cohen gatekeeper. Anyone looking for an OSD job better first run it through Robert Tyrer Cohen's administrative assistant on Capitol Hill and now his chief of staff. In a memo Cohen made it clear that Tyrer has absolute power over appointments. "Tyrer's written approval will be required to initiate efforts to fill non-career positions to forward as recommendation for a presidential appointment to me and to effect selections of all other noncareer positions in DOD including consultancies fellowships and promotions." The good news in all this I'm told is that potential Pentagon pooh-bahs are not required to kiss his ring.

* The EDS/IT-21 connection. Electronic Data Systems still may be waiting on deck for one of the Navy BPAs designed to serve as the building blocks for IT-21 but it already holds a key slot in helping determine the architecture for the afloat portion of the project. EDS set up an IT-21 lab for CINCPACFLT NRAD and Spawar in San Diego earlier this month to test IT-21 gizmos and already the company has its array of advanced Bunsen burners running full blast.

Peter Buck EDS' program manager for the PC LAN+ contract said the lab features about 20 Digital and Micronics PCs as well as Digital and Compaq servers all lashed together to test networking components from companies such as Cabletron Fore Systems and Xylan for the afloat portion of IT-21. I guess this means vendor IT-21 wannabes have to first visit Adm. Archie Clemins in Hawaii and then drop their gear off in San Diego for testing.

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