- By Dan Verton
- Mar 19, 2000
Happy Are Thou Who Have Been...
...Called to be outsourced. There are no signs of the mega-moral problems
being reported at the Army logistics megacenters in Chambersburg, Pa., and
St. Louis, according to Lt. Gen. William Campbell, the Army's director of
information systems for command, control, communications and computers,
and other officials attending the Army's Directors of Information Management
2000 Conference in Houston.
Campbell and officials from his office said that the 500 workers at
the two facilities who recently lost the "competition" for the Army's Wholesale
Logistics Modernization Program to Computer Sciences Corp. believe they
have been treated fairly and given "new opportunities" that they otherwise
would not have had.
"To the best of my knowledge, the Army took great strides to take care
of the people," Campbell said.
Although my listening post perched atop the Houston Astrodome has picked
up signals that Campbell's staff is passing the word that the 500 outsourced
workers are "very pleased" with their CSC benefits package, there also are
indications that for some strange reason, the Army "couldn't show [the package]
to them until after the contract was selected."
An operative deep within the National Federation of Federal Employees
union tells the Interceptor that Campbell was right when he said, "People
on the ground have a totally different perspective." The Interceptor is
still trying to find out how NFFE members feel about Campbell's remark that
outsourcing in Chambersburg and St. Louis shouldn't be an issue because
the workers at those facilities have been busy maintaining more than 30
million lines of legacy code.
(D)o as (I) (SA)y
At least one of the Army's information managers is outraged at the way
the Defense Department's premier "rice supplier" dictates to DOD's "rice
bowl owners" where they are allowed to purchase communications services.
After crunching through several more "rice bowl" analogies, my cadre
of Astrodome code talkers managed to decipher the message.
It seems that the "rice supplier" is the Defense Information Systems
Agency, which, according to certain Army "rice bowl owners," is limiting
flexibility when it comes to purchasing communications services. The problem
is serious enough that some say they are simply not getting the services
Campbell, a self-admitted former DISA basher, said the problem is a
question of Army policy and not the result of DISA's dictatorial tendencies.
Unfortunately for a lot of managers who are trying to upgrade IT and
communications equipment at camps, posts and stations around the country,
infrastructure has become a four-letter word as far as the Beltway bandits
are concerned. That was the message delivered to attendees at DOIM 2000
by Air Force Maj. Gen. (select) Howard Mitchell, director of the Pentagon's
National Security Space Architect office.
But the Army's Campbell, whose service is in the midst of a major infrastructure
revitalization and modernization program, said he found it "terribly unfortunate"
that the military has "such a disconnect with words [used] inside the Beltway
[in ways] that Noah Webster never intended."
Campbell, ever the realist, added that despite the word's bad rap, infrastructure
is absolutely necessary and responsible for the revolution in business and
military affairs that the Pentagon now enjoys.
However, "we may have to come up with a better word that sells inside
the Beltway," he said. How about "renovation" — as in a Pentagon renovation