Intercepts

Autodin May Be Antiquated, But...

It works, and the Defense Message System, which was scheduled to replace

Autodin last year, does not. That's the message the Navy's commander in

chief of the Pacific Fleet sent March 6 to the chief of naval operations.

"After five years of development, DMS has not demonstrated the capability

of replacing Autodin," the message stated, recommending that the Defense

Department retain the legacy messaging system.

My listening posts are reporting widespread problems with DMS. Included

on the list are shortcomings that include information warfare vulnerabilities,

lack of dedicated bandwidth for tactical DMS users, an inability to work

with standard cryptographic devices and an inability to handle emergency

action messages quickly enough for the nuclear command and control community.

Who Wants to Be a DISA Director?

Sources familiar with the witness list at last week's hearing on information

assurance before the House Armed Services Committee's Military Readiness

Subcommittee and Research and Development Subcommittee, said the place looked

and sounded like a lineup of the likely contenders for the top post at the

Defense Information Systems Agency. Army Lt. Gen. Dave Kelley is poised

to descend from the DISA throne this summer.

* First, there's Marine Brig. Gen. Robert Shea, the Corps' assistant deputy

commandant for command, control, communications and intelligence. He arrived

with his "left brain" and trouble-scout Debra Filippi. Although Shea brings

that famous Marine Corps "can-do" attitude, he has two things working against

him: He needs two more stars, and Marines don't come issued with pocket

protectors.

* Next is Air Force Lt. Gen. John Woodward, recently nominated to take over

as the Air Force director of communications and currently serving as the

Joint Staff's J-6. But when I passed his name by my E-ring sources, they

responded with what they called the old C4I joke: "If you want a system

to fail, just put a "J" in front of it and call it "joint.' " Sorry, John.

The "J" should wear off soon.

* Then, of course, there is Army Lt. Gen. William Campbell, director for

information systems for command, control, communications and computers.

Unfortunately, my mobile listening posts are picking up signals that Campbell's

desire to pull the plug on the Army's Internet links might be too radical

for DISA.

* Next is Rear Adm. Richard Mayo, the Navy's director for space, information

warfare, command and control. Unfortunately for Mayo, I think the Navy/Marine

Corps Intranet fiasco has caused more indigestion on Capitol Hill than the

DISA-run Defense Information Systems Network can handle. Sorry, admiral.

* Finally, there is Lt. Gen. William Donahue, the Air Force's director

of communications and information. You have to like the Air Force in this

race. It know what it's doing on the communications front. Although some

would lead you to believe the Space Command has a leg up on the DISA job,

I wouldn't count Donahue out of the running just yet. After all, in a game

where Washington connections count, being here is half the battle. Congratulations,

general.

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