Intercepts

* Bye-bye base comm. The Navy plans to outsource the operation of 100 base communications offices as part of an overall plan to slash $2.5 billion from its budget by turning over nonessential functions to outside providers. Chuck Trigger, assistant chief of staff for the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command (NCTC), said his command runs 65 of those offices, which account for a sizable number of NCTC's 1,600 billets. He said because 56 of those offices have fewer than 10 civilian employees, it will be relatively easy to outsource as they can avoid the lengthy A-76 process.

* A Vivid opportunity. Tom Early, Lucent's program manager for the Navy's Voice, Video and Data program, views the contract as a natural vehicle to take over base comm operations. "Vivid is the [Navy's] planned tool for telecommunications outsourcing," Early said, adding that "25 percent of the [Vivid] evaluation dollars were based on outsourcing."

NCTC's Trigger, speaking at last week's Telestrategies conference in McLean, Va., said, "Outsourcing goes hand in hand with Vivid.'' Early and Trigger said large-scale Navy comm functions on Guam are near the top of the outsourcing list because that command is well along with its A-76 studies.

* De-greening Army SCP. My Fort Monmouth, N.J., antenna site has picked up strong signals that the Army plans to convert the command of its Small Computer Program shop from a military to a civilian position when Lt. Col. Mary Fuller finishes her tour as SCP commander this summer. I'm told the move reflects downsizing trends and the Army's desire to move green-suiters out of acquisition jobs.

* Withering VINES. The Marines, who operate one of the largest Banyan Systems Inc. VINES networks in the world, have finally jumped on the Microsoft Exchange Defense Message System bandwagon, with about 10,000 software packages shipped late last year to support a limited-rate deployment. A message from the Marine command, control and communications shop, headed by Maj. Gen. Joe Anderson, stated the reason for the switch: "Selection of the Microsoft Exchange user agent would provide the maximum interoperability for the Marine Corps in a CINC-centric, Joint environment.''

* Copyrighting Hamre? When the latest hacker story broke last week, the Pentagon press office could not provide a transcript of the comments made to the Defense Writers Group by John Hamre, the deputy secretary of Defense, because those remarks were proprietary property of the Fund for Peace, which for some inexplicable reason runs the Defense Writers Group. After disgruntled reporters almost started a firefight in the corridor over this Byzantine bit, Kenneth Bacon, the assistant secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, persuaded Hamre to hold a mini press conference outside his office, and Bacon had the conference transcribed for distribution. One can only wonder how the Fund for Peace became DOD's public affairs gatekeeper— and how long the situation will continue.

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