Intercepts

Y2K DEFENSE. The Pentagon's Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense, headed by Air Force Maj. Gen. John Campbell, and the FBI's National Information Protection Center plan to hold a top-level conference called "Preparing for Cyberwar" in early October. I don't know if this means the two outfits expect a cyberwar anytime soon, but I find it interesting that Year 2000 operations plans and contingency operations are highlighted in the conference schedule.

JTF-CND has classified the two-day conference at the "secret" level, which means the Interceptor cannot attend, but I will be grateful for any unclassified tidbits anyone cares to send my way.

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OVERSEAS Y2K CONCERNS. DOD is still assessing its vulnerabilities to the Year 2000 computer problem at overseas bases, according to a recent message from the Joint Staff Y2K Task Force headed by Rear Adm. Robert Willard.

U.S. Central Command, the joint command responsible for the Middle East, "still needs help with commercial ports/airfields for which little information is readily available," according to the message, which added that "main problem areas seem to be power, water and communications.'' The message said that the European Command still "needs help gaining better insight into the Y2K posture of host nations' commercial ports/airfields, telecommunications infrastructures, medical support and financial institutions."

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MONEY ALL LOCKED UP. That's Art Money, the senior civilian official acting as the ASD/C3I whose nomination and confirmation remain in limbo. The "Inside the Pentagon" newsletter reported that the latest impediment to Money's confirmation is senatorial ire directed at DOD for not acting quickly enough to equip its safes with a new type of lock.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) has put a hold on Money's nomination over the lock issue, according to the newsletter, which points out that the locks are made by Mas-Hamilton Group, a company - surprise, surprise - located in the fine state of Kentucky.

Money ended up in this lock hassle because ASD/C3I, besides having oversight of all kinds of electronic widgets, gadgets and gizmos, also is in charge of the DOD industrial security office that is in charge of locks. Besides Bunning, who has economic interests at heart, other senators pressing the lock issue include Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.). The only problem is that retrofitting all of DOD and contractors' safes will cost millions, which the Pentagon does not have in its budget.Looks like Money may ride out the rest of the Clinton administration as an SCO.

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FORTEZZA LIVES. Don't write off the Fortezza card as a security solution. Spawar just signed a deal with Rainbow Technologies Inc. for up to 150,000 of the devices once intended for use in every DOD computer. John Linden, head of business development for the intelligence and information warfare department at Spawar said hardware tokens such as Fortezza cards would complement PKI software encryption programs and projects.

Of course, because the Navy, along with the rest of the military services, has stopped buying PCs that have PC Card slots for Fortezza cards, Spawar will have to buy 150,000 outboard readers to use the cards.

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HELLO FROM MONTGOMERY. The Interceptor and his colleague, the Infiltrator (FCW reporter Daniel Verton), will spend this week in beautiful Montgomery, Ala., for the annual Air Force Information Technology Conference. If the heat and humidity do not totally sap our strength, look for frequent reports on the FCW World Wide Web site, www.fcw.com.

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