- By Bob Brewin
- Jun 21, 1998
FIRST, BUILD AN INFRASTRUCTURE. That seems to be the motto of all the folks involved in the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) game. The nascent federal CIP effort already has spawned a highly complex bureaucracy and a new alphabet soup of acronyms, reaching from the National Security Council, where Richard Clarke oversees the effort with the grand title of national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counter-terrorism (NCSIPCT), down to the folks who do the grunt work at the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), which is headed by Michael Vatis.
There is even more, folks. The Commerce Department has set up the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO), which the group's director describes "as the engine that will drive the train of the interagency process." And what an interagency process. Compared to the drug war (remember that?) and limited to the Defense Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the law enforcement agencies, everyone gets to play in the CIP game, according to Jeffrey Hunker, director of CIAO.
The Cabinet departments will set up CIP partnerships with relevant industries. For example, the Energy Department will work with the power industries, and the Transportation Department will work with rail, air and trucking companies— leading, naturally, to even more bureaucracy. The infrastructure-protection infrastructure has the potential to grow into a light industry, spinning off enough PowerPoint briefings to conduct a war. The whole CIP program probably also will require a lot of off-site meetings— a boon for the airline and lodging industries.
JUST CALL NSA. The folks up at Fort Meade, Md., plan to grab a big hunk of the CIP business— and not just within the government. John Hamre, the deputy secretary of Defense, said the National Security Agency has set up a Network Incident Analysis Cell to perform "forensic-style" analyses of cyberattacks. I have picked up strong signals that the agency believes its charter for NIAC extends far beyond government networks. One well-informed industry source told me that NSA already has started to "peddle" its capabilities to private-sector companies. "We've seen them active in the financial sector," said this source, who pointed out that the agency was in essence competing with his company for work.
A LESSONS-LEARNED OPPORTUNITY. Army Brig. Gen. Robert Nabors, the commanding officer of the Germany-based 5th Signal Command, will take over command of the Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, N.J., later this year. This will provide Nabors with the opportunity to apply a lot of "lessons learned" by 5th Sig in Bosnia during the past two years in the acquisition of Army battlefield command and control systems. Nabors knows, probably more than anyone else in the Army, that the service cannot perform its rapid deployment mission with military-unique, outdated communications systems housed in five-ton trucks. Look for a real commercial off-the-shelf push when Nabors takes over.
Brig. Gen. John Cavanaugh, J-6 for the Atlantic Command, will relieve Nabors as 5th Sig's commanding officer.
NO LOG-ROLLING. The Army logistics centers that are targeted for outsourcing through the Army's now congressionally stalled Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program beat industry standards in their hourly rates, according to a message received by my Chambersburg, Pa., antenna site at the Industrial Logistics Systems Center. J.D. Stone, a computer specialist at ILSC, said Chambersburg charges customers in the Army Materiel Command $65 an hour, while "the industry standard is over $100."
Looking at this bottom line, Stone said the purpose of WLMP— which has been subject to much congressional heat— "is not much about being efficient; it's about getting bodies off government rolls."