- By Bob Brewin
- Sep 27, 1999
RAISING THE CYBERWAR ANTE. Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre has repeatedlyforecast that DOD and the United States' critical infrastructure will sooneror later face "an electronic Pearl Harbor" unless the nation can figureout a better way to protect its information systems against unabated andincreasingly sophisticated cyber- attacks.
This month, Marv Langston, the Pentagon's deputy chief information officer,advanced that analogy. "Information warfare is today's equivalent of [thethreat of] nuclear war" during the Cold War era, Langston told a group attendinga breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club.
Langston said information warfare attacks pose "a serious threat tothe U.S.," not only to DOD but also to the nascent World Wide Web-basedelectronic- commerce industry, which he described as working with a "fragilesecurity structure." The true potential of e-commerce, he added, "will nothappen without a strong security infrastructure."
That's why the Interceptor prefers cash — except when purchasing airlinetickets, where e-commerce is the way to go. Humorless airport securitytypes view a frugal person making a ticket purchase in cash as tantamountto being a security threat.
GNIE BACK IN THE BOTTLE. The Pentagon has changed the name of its new networkand enterprise information management structure from the Global NetworkInformation Enterprise (GNIE, pronunced "genie") to the Global InformationGrid (GIG), favored by the Joint Staff. A report is due out soon.
Thanks to this change in acronyms, those wanting to know the progressof the new policy can feel free to ask Langston, "When's the GIG up?"
N/MCI APPROVED. That's the take of Adm. Archie Clemins, the outgoing CINCPACFLT,who said in a Pentagon "end of tour" interview this month that Art Money,the ASD/C3I SCO (senior civilian official — not a brand of Unix), Langstonand Hamre have all signed off on the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet concept.
Does this mean the Navy is gaining ground in its battle with DISA overcontrol of its own network destiny?
I guess we'll have to wait until the GIG is out to really find knowthe answer to that question, but Clemins said the Navy and Marines havegained enough high-level backing to release the RFP as scheduled on or beforeSept. 30.
GAUSS TO DISA? Although DISA's director, Army Lt. Gen. Dave Kelley, will not complete his tour until next July, the succession speculation already has started, with Spawar director Rear Adm. John Gauss (former director of JIEO at DISA) touted as the best candidate. Though I'm told that some high-level staffers in the ASD/C3I shop, who view Gauss as an "enemy" of DISA, would rather appoint a member of the Russian General Staff to the job than Gauss, others believe he is the right man to turn the organization around. Besides, admirals know what to do with GIGs.
NT MERCED PROBLEMS? That's what one of my Air Force engineering moles tells me, asserting that the folks in Redmond, Wash., are having a difficult time scaling up Windows NT to work in a 64-bit Merced architecture. Now, before everyone at Microsoft Federal gets overly excited about this item, please remember that this is - sometimes - a gossip and rumor column.