Intercepts

IT-21 IN THE GULF. Last week, less than two years after Adm. Archie Clemins unveiled the commercially based Information Technology for the 21st Century as the smarter, faster way to equip Navy ships with advanced communications and computer systems, the USS Enterprise battle group steamed into the Arabian Gulf with what Spawar commander Adm. John Gauss described as a fully equipped suite of IT-21 gear and gadgets. I don't know if this sets a DOD record for moving from concept to execution, but I do know there are some outfits in Washington, D.C., that spend the same amount of time noodling along versions of an RFP, and the only product is a growing mound of three-ring binders.

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THE NSA/IRIDIUM CONNECTION. Although everyone involved expresses ignorance, I have a very good hunch that the DOD Iridium gateway in Hawaii, which is managed by DISA, really owes its existence to the tight-lipped folks up at Fort Meade, Md. Who else would want to put the control room for a commercial satellite facility inside an EMI-shielded building?

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SOLAR EVENT? That's how Army vice DISC4 Dave Borland described my report that, at a recent AFCEA Bethesda, Md., chapter meeting, he all but dismissed seat management— a concept I'm still grappling with— as a viable IT acquisition vehicle for the Army. Borland, in an e-mail, wrote, "There must be some solar event going on that caused some interference in your remote transmitter. I did express strong skepticism over the notion of seat management being applied throughout the Army because I had yet to hear a sound financial case in its support at any level.''

But, Borland added, he said in his speech that "the Army was a big place and that probably somewhere, sometime, a set of circumstances would arise where seat management would be a good fit.'' I'm glad to set the record straight with this, and I bet Borland will not give any speeches during the Leonid meteor shower this week.

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TO THE MOTHERSHIP. Army Lt. Col. John Ylinen, who masterminded the fielding of Microsoft Exchange throughout Bosnia a few years back, plans to retire in January and will soon be pounding the pavement with Microsoft Consulting Federal in the D.C. area. Maybe he'd like to take on the mission of selling the seat management idea to Borland.

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Y2K AT A GLANCE. Navy Capt. Julie Keesling and the folks at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific in Hawaii have devised a low-tech, low-cost scheme to easily discern the Year 2000 status of the gadgets and gizmos installed at that facility. Each piece of equipment bears a little red or green sticker and, for the color-blind, a note that says "Y2K-compliant'' on the green dots and "Y2K noncompliant'' on the red dots. Just think: If a consultant had come up with this idea, it probably would have cost a million bucks and would be called a "solution.''

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HAWAIIAN SHIRT CONTEST, ROUND II. Jim O'Neill and his Lucent government ohana won once again the second annual FCW Hawaiian shirt competition at the AFCEA Hawaii conference this month, fielding a platoon of folks in a dazzling array of wild blue shirts with equally wild floral patterns.

But Hawaiian residents working the show suggested that O'Neill and his fashion consultants tone it down a bit next year. Sharon Auerbach, a native who works for Platinum Technology, described the Lucent shirts as "over the top'' and a sign that Lucent is "stylishly handicapped." The Interceptor suggests Lucent check out "Newt at the Royal'' next year for some truly understated shirts that sell for the overstated price of $50 each.

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