Intercepts

FEEDING FRENZY. An industry briefing that will kick off the acquisition process for the Naval Intranet (NI) this Wednesday should attract a huge crowd of systems integrators, telecom providers and PC vendors. The Navy has booked the commodious (despite its name) Little Hall at the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps Base to host the kind of crowd a $2 billion business opportunity attracts.

This is an all-day clambake (with a lunch break) that starts off with a series of briefs at 10 a.m. by armed forces honchos, including Joe Cipriano, the new Navy PEO IT, followed by Vice Adm. Rob Natter, Navy N6, and Brig. Gen. Robert Shea, Marine C4I chief, who will provide a general overview and the Navy and Marine perspectives, respectively. Following the perspectives, presentations will outline the scope and procurement strategy of NI. The afternoon session, which starts at 1:30 p.m., will include a panel discussion, and a written and oral Q-and-A - which means everyone will need to stay awake or else miss out on vital info.

As a public service (and to stop the flow of e-mail asking me for the time of and directions to the NI session), I'm pointing all NI wannabes to a World Wide Web site that has all the info you'll want, including a list of dining spots in the Quantico area, which is not known for its cuisine. If you want to go to the NI Industry Day, visit c4iweb.spawar.navy.mil/ni/ni_industryday.htm.

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LEFT OUT? My San Diego mobile unit has started to pick up signals that the folks at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's IT Umbrella Contracts Division, headed by Nikki Isfahani, view the NI strategy as a direct threat to their operation. After all, if the NI procurement strategy extends to the desktop - including the PC and its software - what will the IT Umbrella Division have left to do?

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DATABASES AND DOUGHNUTS? Logicon Inc., a Northrop Grumman subsidiary one usually associates with heavy C4I programs, recently won an Army support services contract at Fort Eustis, Va., under which it will provide maintenance for helicopters and vehicles as well as handle food services. Greg Donley, president of Logicon's operation and services unit, said that under the contract the company will "provide 8,000 meals a day." That's diversification. What next - a Lockheed Martin Corp. contract to operate Burger Kings in Kosovo?

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ESCALATING SECURITY. Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre - who already has kicked off a project to move all the Pentagon E-ring staffers from their prized walnut-paneled offices that have great Potomac River views to the more secure but less scenically pleasing A-ring - has now set his sights on the escalators that connect the Pentagon to the Metro, I'm told.

Hamre, afraid that the Metro escalators could serve as a funnel for a gas attack, wants them turned around so that any gas would go away from the building, not into it. This may be harder to accomplish than the E-to-A ring move because Metro has a hard time just keeping its escalators in operation. Of course, it might be a bad idea to confuse Metro personnel further by turning those stagnant escalators inside out.

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