* Disappearing data centers. After enough studies to sink a ship the Pentagon has finally decided to slash the number of DISA data centers from 16 down to five according to Tony Valletta the acting ASD/C3I. Valletta who spoke at a Crystal City Va. IT confab sponsored by the American Defense Preparedness Association said the folks over at Courthouse Road have started to put together a consolidation plan but I've already picked up signals that this will degenerate into a political fight with localities and their congressmen fighting for selection among the final five.

* Desperate for digit dollars. The Army could use an extra $260 million in fiscal 1999 (Couldn't we all?) for its digitization program and it has started to schmooze Valletta to find the funds said Dave Borland the Army's deputy DISC4. "[1999] is our tough year and we've asked for Tony's help.... I think he's beginning to see things our way " Borland said.

* High-tech radio honcho. The Pentagon has tapped the Army as the acquisition lead for a tri-service effort to develop a Programmable Modular Communications System (PMCS) a joint tactical radio system to handle wideband data. Col. Lalit Piplani project manager for tactical radio systems at Fort Monmouth N.J. will run the joint acquisition shop while the services will rotate as program managers on a three-year basis. The Air Force has been tapped to provide the first O-7. Noel Longuemare acting Pentagon acquisition chief said the joint PMCS program and structure "represents a model for future DOD technology-intensive acquisitions." No word on the total value of the PMCS program but industry expects it to be in the billions. After all no self-respecting one-star would run a program worth less than that.

* IT-21 update. It looks like the CINCPAC J6 Marine Col. Robert Shea has signed on to the IT-21 program espoused by CINCPACFLT Adm. Archie Clemins. Look for a lot of IT-21 action at Camp Smith N.Y. and Makalapa Hawaii with network and switch consolidations coming soon.

Cmdr. Steve Vetter IT-21 maestro in the Navy CIO shop said the Navy planning focus will now shift to LANTFLT and Tidewater Va. There are still industry rumblings about IT-21 standards especially the "certified" products on Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s Navy PC LAN+ contract.

* On the ramparts. EDS took out a pricey editorial page ad in The Washington Post on Sept. 22 to remind all the high-rollers who read the Post about a bit of legal boilerplate that seemingly is ignored in this high-tech age - the Fourth Amendment. The ad took aim at the latest encryption-key scheme hatched by Reps. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and Thomas Manton (D-N.Y.) pointing out that "these keys would allow any official to browse through your private information without your knowledge or consent." This is the kind of legislation one would expect even President Clinton to decry - but in one of those '90s ironies that defense fell to a conservative Texas company.


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