Inherently Outsourced

The Navy issued new guidance July 25 on how to identify information

technology jobs that are "inherently governmental" and others that are open

to being outsourced [see story, Page 54]. The Navy's chief information officer,

Dan Porter, acknowledges in the cover letter that programs such as the Navy/Marine

Corps Intranet are changing the government IT landscape by introducing more

cost- efficient business practices that require greater industry participation.

But one other thing seems clear from the list of job titles included in

the document: As long as your government job is located on the right end

of the so-called N/MCI umbilical cord — like aboard a ship or at an overseas

facility — it's safe.

Carnivore and Echelon

Barely a day goes by that a newspaper doesn't feel the need to run a

story on how Europeans are up in arms about the National Security Agency's

global electronic surveillance system known as Echelon or on how Americans

are ready to protest the FBI's Carnivore e-mail sniffer.

However, my mobile receive station near Bad Aibling, Germany (a major

node in the Echelon network), reports that senior U.S. officials are confident

that NSA's activities are legal. A senior State Department official who

was involved in Echelon operations at Bad Aibling said the debate is little

more than a symptom of the European backlash against what they see as U.S.

hegemony. The furor has made no mention of when Echelon was responsible

for "providing the German government incontrovertible evidence that German

firms were involved in the construction of a poison gas facility near Rapta,

Libya," he said. "Enough already."

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court ruled last week that the FBI must meet

the highest legal standards to examine packet data — such as e-mail — transmitted

via commercial Internet providers. This may make the FBI's Carnivore illegal,

according to sources.

My IRS receive station summed up the issue for me in an e-mail: "Thomas

Jefferson once said: "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain

security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.' It seems that

while technology has advanced, principles of civilization are unchanging."

Lessons for DISA

While we're fresh from the Carnivore debate, somebody may want to ensure

that the Defense Information Systems Agency touches all bases when it rolls

out an intrusion-detection pilot project this summer at the Global Network

Operations Center. My Courthouse Road listening post has picked up signals

that DISA is testing an analysis system that will paint a picture of all

"questionable" activities on both the secure and nonsecure versions of the

Pentagon's Internet Protocol Routing Network.

Gold Nuggets

This year's Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration, held last

month at the Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Va., ended with several "Gold

Nugget" demonstrations that proved themselves worthy of further refinement

at next year's demo. One included the use of a smart card that allowed officers

to move from desktop to desktop while retaining their personalized online

work environment. Another nugget was a space-based system that enabled commanders

to predict exactly when commercial satellites used by the enemy are in position

to track friendly forces.

DOD has come a long way since the Interceptor took part in JWID-95.

I can remember when the Intelligence Analysis System and the Global Command

and Control System were installed on two identical laptops but couldn't

talk to each other.

Intercept something? Send it to [email protected]


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