- By George I. Seffers
- Sep 18, 2000
Passing the Torch
Dan Verton, Interceptor extraordinaire and die-hard former Marine, has
decided to storm the beaches of another reporting beat. Dan inherited the
Interceptor column from its creator and quickly made it his own. Following
in Dan's wake, I encourage you to keep the intercepts coming fast and furious
Democrat and Republican
With the Air Force having just held two major trade shows virtually
back-to-back, the Interceptor's circuits are nearly on overload with Air
At the Sept. 11-13 Aerospace Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C.,
for example, representatives for both presidential candidates laid out their
visions for the U.S. military. Vice President Al Gore's national security
adviser, Leon Fuerth, never mentioned information technology and its vital
role in national defense, choosing instead to focus his remarks in defense
of the administration's policy on force deployments. Fuerth did draw applause,
however, for his quick-witted, deadpan response to one would-be questioner,
who chose instead to make a speech from the floor decrying partisanship
and announcing that the only things that matter are the American flag and
the fact that we are all Americans. "That is the vice president's view,"
Texas Gov. George W. Bush's representative, Steph-en Hadley, did mention
the "tremendous opportunity presented by the technology revolution," but
his speech could almost have been lifted from the pages of the various joint
and service visions published in recent years. If elected, according to
Hadley, Bush would order the secretary of Defense to conduct an immediate
and comprehensive review to see how the Pentagon can best balance the modernization
of existing systems while also researching and developing revolutionary
Note to the Bush camp: The next Quadrennial Defense Review, which already
does that, has been unofficially under way for about a year.
Can We Talk?
And the race for president isn't the only hot competition taking place.
The Interceptor outpost in the southern United States has picked up signals
indicating that the Air Force Information Warfare Center in Texas and the
Air Force Fusion Center in Alabama are vying for some of the same network
security functions. The Fusion Center, a high-tech facility built to deal
with the Year 2000 problem, needs a new mission. Although the official Air
Force stance is that the two facilities complement one another, one service
infowarrior recently said the two organizations rarely speak to each other.
"We're basically two organizations that perform the same functions," the
person said. And at the cost of how many millions of dollars?
And speaking of competition between Air Force organizations, Col. Neal
Fox, recently appointed director of the Air Force Standard Systems Group's
Commercial Information Technology- Product Area Directorate (CIT-PAD) said
recently that he would work to eliminate competition between his organization
and ACCWAY, the Air Combat Command's acquisition division. Fox pointed out
that roughly 90 percent of the products supplied by ACCWAY first come through
CIT-PAD anyway. Sounds like there's cooperation aplenty already.
What happens when you paint the floor of an Air Force building with
red and white stripes and a block of blue? You get nasty e-mail messages
complaining that Air Force personnel are trampling the American flag. Not
so, say officials at Standard Systems Group, who consulted various experts
on flag history and protocol. Without the stars painted in the blue field,
the colors are nothing more than "a striking design."