- By Bob Brewin
- Aug 30, 1998
BIG DMS BUCKS. Throwing money at a problem does not always guarantee a cure. Take DISA's much-delayed Defense Message System which is under development by Lockheed Martin. According to a GAO report released earlier this summer, DISA has spent skads of money but still may fall short of its stated goal of completely replacing Autodin by Dec. 31, 1999. According to GAO, DISA already has spent $226 million, which sure buys a lot of "flexible architecture'' but not much in the way of visible results. Where, oh where, did it all go? Pete Hayes, the general manager of Microsoft Federal— a key DMS supplier— said not all that much of the $226 million has come his way. Oh well, everyone knows that program management costs a lot.
WHITHER NUKE C2? Navy Capt. Jim Day, the DISA DMS program manager, has acknowledged that DMS cannot handle the kind of "ruthless pre-emption'' required by the nuclear command and control community until well after the turn of the century. But he does believe DISA will fund a commercial solution— a message that has only slowly filtered its way down to the DMS developers.
Although the nuke C2 problem has been known within the Pentagon and DISA for months, Microsoft, which along with Lotus provides the client/server messaging software, only recently became aware of the problem. Pete Waxman, the Microsoft DMS program manager, told a federal press briefing at the company's intergalactic headquarters in Redmond, Wash., last week that he only recently became aware of the nuke C2 issue. "It's not been an issue that has come down to the vendor level. We're looking forward to Lockheed Martin sending us detailed information,'' he said.
THE DMS HORSE RACE. The Microsoft/Lotus battle for DMS seats has ended up in quite a lopsided victory, according to Dave Malcolm, the Microsoft group product manager for Exchange, which is the company's DMS client/server messaging product. "We have 85 percent of the seats out there,'' said Malcolm, who then artfully dodged explaining exactly what was license potential vs. what was actually sold. He did say Microsoft already has "deployed'' 225,000 DMS seats, but he declined to provide total DMS sales figures. But, Malcolm added, the company already has sold 200,000 Exchange seats each to the Army and the Navy and another 107,000 to the Air Force. If everybody uses the full license potential for DMS, a total of 507,000 units might not be a bad snapshot of Microsoft's penetration of DMS.
BOOMING BUSINESS. Col. Mike Harvey, the DISA-Pacific commander in Hawaii, does not have much experience with downsizing. In fact, he says DISA-Pacific has become "a growth industry." His command keeps taking on new, high-tech missions, including the construction and then operation of the DOD Earth station for the Iridium mobile satellite system. While the military usually tacks on extra jobs without adding extra bodies, Harvey did pick up another 16 slots to handle the Iridium task. What's the next radical move— raises?
DISA-PACIFIC CAT RETIRES. Skinny Bones Jones, the DISA-Pacific cat who used to greet visitors at the front door of the command's headquarters, Building 107, Wheeler Army Airfield on Oahu, really lucked out. Carol Warden, a DISA-Pacific computer specialist, adopted the orange tabby and recently retired, taking Skinny Bones with her to enjoy the good life on Kauai. Col. Harvey misses Skinny Bones, but Hawaii readers should not take this as an invitation to drop off cardboard boxes filled with kittens at DISA-Pacific. Harvey prefers to wait for an appropriate and deserving stray to take up residence on his stoop.