Intercepts

Big Qwest/NSA deal? That's what my sources tell me is behind a press release issued by Qwest, a start-up fiber network company headed by former AT&T super-exec Joseph Nacchio. Qwest said last week it won a $430 million virtual private network deal from the U.S. government. Dean Wandry, head of new business at Qwest, described the deal as the company's "first major government contract,'' but he declined to identify the agency. My sources tell me the deal covers "dark fiber'' for the National Security Agency and possibly for other users in the intell community, including the National Reconnaissance Office. NSA opted for Qwest, I'm told, because it was the only bidder that offered the agency its own fiber path that would not have to be shared with commercial users.

***

"Walk, don't run.'' That's what I should have done last week when I ran an item that identified Gen. Walter Kross as head of the Air Force Materiel Command— information that was relayed to me by the Air Force press desk in the Pentagon. In fact, Kross serves as the commander of the Air Mobility Command. Gen. George Babbitt, as my numerous e-mail pals— and my boss— told me, commands AFMC. Babbitt knows the inherent wisdom in the phrase "Walk, don't run'' because in 1959, at the age of 16, he was the original drummer in the Ventures, the legendary rock group that recorded that song. Too young to play with the band in clubs and bars, Babbitt dropped out of the group and joined the Air Force, but he has recently sat in with the band.

***

Air Force embraces BPAs. Does the Air Force policy decision to let commands cut BPAs mean the end of IDIQs? My antenna site in Montgomery, Ala., has started to pick up signals that the high command at the Standard Systems Group, which includes Bob Frye, Ken Heitkamp and the rest of the gang, has given up on Desktop VI.

***

Pushing back at push tech. The Navy has incorporated push technology into its newest release of JMCIS 98/GCC-M, which is called "Fleetcast,'' but it has imposed strict technical and policy controls to ensure that users do not throttle bandwidth by pushing unneeded information to unoccupied terminals. Rear Adm. John Gauss, commander of Spawar, which developed Fleetcast, said the Navy will manage the bandwidth through technology such as proxy servers and a policy that could have words such as "keel'' and "haul'' in it for users who abuse Fleetcast.

I wish we could institute the same policy here at Intercept Central, where push technology runs amok.

***

The DISA virus. Col. Dean Ertwine, commander of the Army's Communications-Electronics Command's Systems Management Center, alerted attendees at the Army Small Computer Program conference earlier this month about a new and potentially deadly Defense Information Systems Agency computer virus. "It corrupts all your files while simultaneously absorbing all your resources,'' he warned.

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