Intercepts

THE KOSOVO COMM BATTLE. Now that the air campaign in Yugoslavia has ended, I anticipate a fierce ground war in Kosovo, with the combatants this time being the three major U.S. comm companies (and possibly European carriers) looking for a piece of the substantial network that will support a very long-term NATO deployment.

The Interceptor has picked up low-level rumblings that Sprint has started jockeying to extend to Kosovo its commercial network that serves U.S. forces in Bosnia. That would be easy to do because it is satellite-based, and the ground infrastructure consists of routers and hubs stuffed in transportable shelters. Mike Munson, the comm gun-for-hire who directed the installation of the Sprint Bosnia network, has now joined the company's Government Systems Division work force, and I'm sure he has started polishing his flak gear.

MCI WorldCom had an opportunity for a lot of face time last week with key Eucom communicators. Diana Gowen, the company's quite competitive DOD pooh-bah, was in Germany giving a speech to an AFCEA conference. Nothing like getting on the ground early.

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MORE LOGMOD SPEED BUMPS. The saga of the definitely slow-tracked Army Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program continues. The latest twist: an appeal of the Army's waiver of A-76 procedures by the National Federation of Federal Employees. John Morris, president of the union's St. Louis-based Local 1763, said that if the appeal does not work, then the union plans further action, including "the courts or the DOD IG."

But Morris believes the union can win its case on merits, as the Army waiver "did not speak of any costs savings." He also said the union can prove it produces high-quality software at the Army Materiel Command software center in St. Louis. "They can't beat us on cost or quality," Morris told the Interceptor, adding that the waiver was based in his view on rather vague business process re-engineering rationales.

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SIMULATED PROCUREMENTS? Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) attached an amendment to the fiscal 2000 DOD spending bill that adds $5 million to the Defense Acquisition University budget to use "state-of-the-art technology that would train the acquisition work force on a simulated government procurement environment." You would think that DOD, with a budget of $288 billion next fiscal year, would have no need to simulate how to spend money.

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PATCHES GALORE. I'm gratified by the response to our Power Point Ranger Patch contest, with this week's entries capturing fine graphical representations of the DOD power briefer. Pete Thibodeau, a chief future technologist down at Fort Lee, came up with a patch that delighted everyone in the office. Keep them patches coming, and don't forget to check out the PP Ranger Creed on our World Wide Web site at www.fcw.com/extra.

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