INTERCEPTS

Cuts uncut. The House Appropriations Committee passed the 1998 Defense Department's spending bill with $325 million in cuts for civilian personnel deductions still intact. The bill also whacks another $245 million out of the DOD budget for what the committee called "civilian personnel overbudgeting." But Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and his pals on the Appropriations Committee had good news for DOD civilian personnel who do manage to survive those cuts they will get a 2.8 percent pay increase. The House authorization bill called for similar cuts which probably means it's a good time for civilian DOD workers to start contacting their senators.

* Network roundup. DISA has started rounding up stray independent networks currently not on the all-encompassing DISN. Peter Paulson DISA's chief of network operations said the agency has identified about 40 strays including the Air Force's Information Network the Army's ARCnet and a Navy critter called Navnet. Don't look for this to happen overnight Paulson said it would take up to two years to finish the roundup.

* What's the cost? That's the question senior service officials have for DISA about the ongoing transition to DISN. These officials - who spoke to the Interceptor under a vow of secrecy - expressed concern that DISA might not meet its November cutover date to a new-fangled and lower-cost AT&T Sonet network from the 12-year-old AT&T DCTN contract. One high-level service official made one point very clear: If DISA cannot perform the cut-over in time the agency or AT&T should be prepared to eat the cost differential.

* Desktop V deals. Reflecting the drop in commercial prices Hughes Data Systems has proposed adding five new Compaq Computer Corp. desktop PCs to the Air Force contract with some very low prices. Hughes sales veep Tom Walters said the contract will feature a Compaq 200 MHz Pentium MMX loaded with Windows 95 and Office 97 a 2.1G hard drive and a 16X CD-ROM drive for $1 835 with a monitor "adding a couple of hundred bucks more."

* Desktop V delays. Meanwhile International Data Products Corp. continues its epic legal battle to hold on to the 8(a) or small business Desktop V contract it won last November. Dynamic Decisions Inc. another small computer firm took the issue to federal court and this month a federal judge told the Air Force to recompete the 8(a) job based on the assumption that non-8(a) vendor Win Labs and not IDP would manufacture the PCs.

George Fuster IDP president said the Air Force - represented by the Justice Department - and IDP have asked the court to reconsider its ruling based in part on an arcane and close-to-theological piece of law dealing with "substantial transformation." Fuster also pointed out that the court did not strip IDP of its 8(a) status as has been reported. The Interceptor would love to explain the doctrine of "substantial transformation " but space does not permit so I suggest you consult a nearby Jesuit.

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