Intercepts

The Interceptor has folded his antennas for the month to take some much-needed R&R overseas. In the interim, the FCW staff has erected new dishes to intercept the latest talk on the street at the Defense Department and civilian agencies.

SETTING A NEW COURSE. Rear Adm. J.J. Dantone has held positions ranging from naval aviation to nuclear technology to commanding ships to heading one of the federal government's most secretive agencies. His next assignment seems a bit, well, less glamorous: the insurance business.

Dantone, former director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, officially retired from the federal government last month. He packed his bags and headed to Texas, where he'll endure about 15 weeks of training ( boot camp?) to be a senior manager with the USAA insurance company. USAA primarily serves the military community.

Dantone said the idea to retire and pursue a second career was entirely his— despite buzz in recent months from the mapping and imagery community that DOD leaders were aiming to do a little NIMA housecleaning or perhaps seek to dismantle the agency.

The buzz may be the result of a Defense Science Board panel, which in recent months has turned its microscope on NIMA in an effort to figure out how the agency can do its job better.

DOD has replaced Dantone with an acting director, Army Maj. Gen. James C. King. King served as director for intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff before coming to NIMA.

NEW IRS IT CHIEF? Our civilian antenna has picked up signals that IT consultant Paul Cosgrave is the top candidate to be the new IRS chief information officer, replacing the departed Arthur Gross, who spearheaded the IRS' tax modernization program.

Cosgrave, who runs the New York consulting firm Strategies4Success and who has done some work for the IRS, apparently has not decided whether he wants to move to Washington, D.C., to modernize systems for the nation's most-bashed institution. Cosgrave's credentials include years at Andersen Consulting, and he was chairman and chief executive officer of The Claremont Group, Beaverton, Ore., from which he resigned earlier this year.

An announcement is expected soon after the IRS reform bill is squared away. It awaits final Senate approval.

TOUGH STUFF. Heavy hitters Deputy SecDef John Hamre; Jack Brock, GAO's director of governmentwide and defense information systems; and Lt. Gen. William Campbell, the Army's CIO and director of information systems for C4, were scheduled to speak at the Year 2000 National Security and the Global Economy— Issues and Fixes Conference, which was held last week at the National Press Club.

But none of three showed up. Instead, their deputies or other designated spokesmen gave presentations. Seems that the tough issues roll downhill.

GAO A GO-GO. As reported previously in Federal Computer Week, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) has written to GAO directing the agency to determine whether it would make sense to merge the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service and Federal Technology Service into a single quasi-governmental corporation.

Although the letter does include Davis' signature, insiders tell us that GAO officials actually wrote the letter themselves at Davis' request and then sent it to Davis to send back to them. If all of this sounds backward and confusing, our source tells us to rest assured that this back-and-forth approach is pretty standard procedure for correspondence between GAO and Congress.

If only congressional folk would do that with agencies, we'd have a friendly atmosphere here.

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