* Influencing IT-21. That's what a combined Lotus Oracle and Sun Federal lobbying battalion has tried to do since CINCPACFLT Adm. Archie Clemins issued some rather "Microsoftian" interim standards this March. This lobbying effort including a pitch to Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) finally produced some results. A letter from the Navy competition advocate Rear Adm. Michael P. Sullivan said "Standards must be properly used in the acquisition process. They cannot be used as a justification for less than full and open competition."

I have picked up strong hints that the Lotus Oracle and Sun gang view that sentence as key to their efforts to break the Microsoft barrier. But in his memo Sullivan said "I also encourage use of existing contractual instruments" already competitively awarded to "facilitate the ordering process." Because the Navy can now tap many contracts most of which carry Microsoft products Microsoft Federal troops interpret this sentence to mean the Navy can continue to use the original IT-21 standards.

According to my numerous antenna sites this is only the opening round in a vendor battle for IT-21 which includes enough D.C.-to-Honolulu trips to qualify platoons of federal widgeteers for Premier Executive frequent-flier status on United Airlines.

* The IT-21 network battle. EDS through its PC LAN+ contract has spent the summer evaluating IT-21 networking gizmos at Spawar in San Diego and I have picked up strong signals that Cisco and Xylan earned "preferred provider" status over competitors Cabletron and Fore Systems.

* GCCS and Y2K. DISA plans to field a Year 2000-compliant version of GCCS in January 1998 or "well before the clocks roll over" at the end of 1999 said Frank Perry DISA's technical director. The current versions of GCCS run on non-Y2K-compliant operating systems from Sun and Hewlett-Packard both of which are due for upgrades in the next year Perry said. He added that "one would assume" that both companies have many customers worldwide who want Year 2000 compliance and that both are working toward that goal. "None of this is rocket science " he said.

* AT&T retreat. AT&T Government Markets quietly dropped its bid for the Pentagon renovation job leaving its partners Lockheed Martin and BDM scrambling to reconfigure their bids. An AT&T Government Markets spokeswoman confirmed the move saying the new Government Markets honcho Mary Jane McKeever wants the division to focus on core businesses. Does this mean only long-distance dial tones?

* Go grunts. Marine Lt. Gen. Paul Von Riper CG of the Corps Combat Development Command and Maj. Gen. Robert Scales Army War College commandant took some shots at conventional wisdom that gadgets will give the United States an edge in future wars. In the fall issue of Parameters a military journal the two decry "overconfidence in the microchip " asserting that "mere possession of advanced technology is no guarantee of its utility."


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