- By Dan Verton
- Mar 12, 2000
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
* 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
* 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,