- By Bob Brewin
- Oct 31, 1999
LONDON—KOSOVO CLEAN SWEEP. Spacelink International, a small, privately held company based in Washington, D.C., but focused on Europe, has captured most of the military commercial satellite Earth terminal business in Kosovo, according to strong signals my mobile unit picked up here at TechNet Europe '99, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's annual symposium.
Spacelink, owned by Otto Horning, recently won a NATO contract, which has yet to be announced by the alliance, to install eight commercial satellite terminals in Kosovo in addition to the three terminals the company has installed in Kosovo for the U.S. Army 5th Signal Command. Spacelink also furnished and installed the commercial terminals used by the Defense Information Systems Agency in Bosnia, making the company the provider of choice for forces in the Balkans.
QUICK COMMERCIALIZATION. All the NATO nations operating in Kosovo intend to commercialize their communications as quickly as possible, according to Lt. Col. Bernie Hewitt of the British Army. Vendors here said they expect the United Kingdom to issue a solicitation for commercial satellite communications to serve its section of Kosovo soon. Brig. Gen. David Lynam of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, said that even though each of the countries in Kosovo—as well as NATO—operate their own communications systems, exchanging information should be easy because of the fact that they all operate in a "KFOR [Kosovo Force] secret" mode that eliminates the problems caused by various levels and types of classification encountered during the bombing campaign.
IN BOSNIA FOREVER? The Army has just kicked off a recompetition for the Tactical Commercial Communications Contract held by Sprint to serve U.S. Army camps in Bosnia and Hungary. The contract has two base years and three option years, a period of time that, if not forever, certainly is a lot longer than the politicians ever said the United States would have forces in Bosnia.
Sprint, under the direction of Mike Mooney, developed an extremely sophisticated commercial communications package consisting of phone switches and routers housed in shelters with satellite terminals. That made Sprint the Army's phone company and Internet service provider in Bosnia.
I understand Sprint did almost $40 million in business under the first three years of the contract, with the five-year extension valued at $50 million or more. Sprint intends to compete for the contract.
LOOK EAST. That's the motto of Frank Creaser, director of program development at Unisys Federal Systems, which has formed a partnership with Macroni Communications, United Kingdom, and Sterling Software Inc., Dallas, to market what he called a "total command, control and communications solution" to former Soviet bloc countries. Creaser said the partnership already has "negotiations going on with several countries" but declined to identify them.
This sure shows that Unisys knows how to adapt its C3 savvy to the changing world. For years, the company sold C3 systems to the United States to help it manage forces arrayed against the Soviet Union, and now it's selling "solutions" to those former foes. Now that's marketing.
CHANGING TELCO DANCE PARTNERS. The exposition floor here was abuzz with a couple of high-level personnel changes in the federal units of Sprint and Qwest. I have picked up strong signals that Tony D'Gata, a government markets pooh-bah at Bell Atlantic, will take over as VP and general manager of Sprint Government Systems Nov. 1, replacing Don Teague, who left the company to "pursue other interests." Gus Gloe, who used to handle NASA and Asynchronous Transfer Mode marketing for Sprint, has left to join former Sprint-ite Jim Payne at Qwest.