Spawar ahoy. My Crystal City Va. antenna site has picked up solid signals that Rear Adm. John Gauss will depart the N6 shop in March to replace Rear Adm. George Wagner as commander of Spawar the key Navy command charged with the nuts-and-bolts work on IT-21. This job sounds as exciting as serving as director of DISA - a job Gauss once had a shot at - but comes with a far better house which features a drop-dead view of the San Diego harbor from atop Point Loma.

* Techno-scout. My very busy Crystal City receiver unit also has picked up info that Vice Adm. Walt Cebrowski has tapped Cmdr. Mike Loescher author of the Navy's "Copernicus" as the N6 technology scout. Loescher who also will hold a newly established IT chair at the Naval Institute will travel around the country looking for new and emerging technologies to integrate into Navy systems. I hope he likes Radio Shacks and science fairs.

* The Xylan connection. The Navy wants to install a global ATM network to support IT-21 and it looks like Xylan Corp. has just about captured the afloat portion with its line of OmniSwitch ATM and LAN gizmos. According to Brett Michaels Xylan federal honcho the company won a $6.2 million order off the Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s PC LAN+ contract for ATM gadgets to be installed in six ships in the USS Kitty Hawk battlegroup - slated for forward deployment with the 7th Fleet in Japan - and another six ships in the USS Enterprise battlegroup based in Norfolk Va. as well as two command ships. This award to Xylan has resulted in much ululating by competitors such as Cisco Systems Inc.

* Grunting along. Col. Jan Hicks the new commander of the Army's Fort Shafter Hawaii-based 516th Signal Brigade has spent most of her 22-year career in the infantry. So when her troops take off on their thrice-weekly run Hicks always joins them although she does admit that she no longer leads the pack. Other new COs in the 516th include Lt. Col. Mark Barnette who took over the 30th Signal Battalion from Lt. Col. John Hightower and Lt. Col. David Lopez who replaced Lt. Col. Michael Mokrycki as commander of the 58th Signal Battalion. At Fort Richardson Alaska Lt. Col. William Higgins took over at the 516th's 59th Signal Battalion succeeding Lt. Col. Frederick Lehman.

* The NSA/Gore connection. Close reading of the Defense Reform Initiative shows that the intelligence community has wrested control of information warfare from the operators - viewed by many insiders as a counter-reformation. I hear this move was a direct result of the NSA (shhhh) lobbying Vice President Al Gore.

* Feeding frenzy. There's a wholesale scramble for the Army's Wholesale Logistics management contract. Potential key players and bidders include Pete Hedges at Computer Sciences Corp. Rick Rosenberg at EDS Kathy Hassie at Lockheed Martin's Owego N.Y. site and the famed Bob Steele at Boeing Information Services.


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