Intercepts

IT-21 LAN UPDATE. Look for Scott Randall and the Global Information and Network System team at the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Command to award the Information Technology for the 21st Century shipboard local-area network contract this week, not quite meeting its schedule, which called for an award last week. Vendors bidding on the $100 million-plus job -- Electronic Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp., GTE, Lucent Technologies and Science Applications International Corp. -- view the contract as an absolutely essential piece of business, an opinion that could lead to a lot of whining by the losers.

One apparent loser -- even before Spawar makes its selection -- is Cabletron Systems. My Tysons Corner, Va., antenna site has picked up strong signals that none of the IT-21 shipboard bidders included any Cabletron products in their proposed solutions -- a situation that some say has driven Cabletron federal boss John Riddle to become a chain smoker.

HOW ABOUT AN NSA DISCOUNT? I'm told Fore Systems won the National Security Agency's network architecture contract with a bid so low that it might be a good idea for Spawar's Randall to figure out how to transfer as much of his IT-21 funding to that contract to get the best deal possible. How low? Even lower than the discount rates submitted by Jim "Circuit City" Massa on the previous, and overturned, NSA contract. Richard "Crazy Eddie" Bibb, head of the Fore Systems federal operation, declined to comment on the pricing, citing NSA security concerns and classification. One wonders if NSA classifies pricing on paper towel contracts.

TEXAS-BOUND. My southern Idaho antenna site has picked up strong signals that Felice Liston, who once ran Micron's Government Division, has decided to leave the company and move to Texas, where she will work at her mother's travel agency -- a business that sports much better margins than selling PCs to the Air Force.

THE SCO SHOW. The AFCEA Washington chapter will serve up Art Money, the senior civilian official who runs the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence, as its luncheon speaker on Sept. 22. Money should attract a large crowd of suburban Virginia-based widget vendors and peddlers to a place they rarely visit -- Washington D.C., still the home of the federal government. Some of these IT companies are located so far from the district that I understand they are flying their executives in for lunch in choppers.

THE NEW PENTAGON BUZZWORD? I keep running into the word "overarching" in various Pentagon statements, speeches and comments, with everyone following in the footsteps of Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre, who not only gave the word currency but also created an entire "Overarching Integrated Product Team."

Last week I received a scintillating CD-ROM from the Army Pentagon Public Affairs shop: "The Army Modernization Story," which Col. John Smith assured me "highlights the overarching principles...as we transform today's force [into] the 'Army After Next.' " If anyone encounters any more overarching memos (or CD-ROMS), please send them my way, as I like to keep track of new paradigms.

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