Rating Rudy

New-and-improved Interceptor antennae recently installed atop the Capitol

dome are picking up faint signals that certain lawmakers interested in Pen-tagon

information technology issues may not be as happy with Deputy Defense Secretary

Rudy DeLeon as they were with John Hamre.

DeLeon a while back took over as the new second-in-command when Hamre left

to head up the Center for Strategic and International Studies. DeLeon is

no slouch in the IT arena, but he's not quite filling Hamre's shoes, according

to one lawmaker. The lawmaker says he knew John Hamre and was a friend.

"Rudy is a good guy. He understands what's going on, but he's no John Hamre,"

he concluded.

Note to DeLeon: Add to your vocabulary some worn-out, sensationalistic

terms such as "cyberwar," "weapons of mass disruption" and last, but never

least, "electronic Pearl Harbor." Lawmakers eat that stuff up.

Middleware Mystery

The Air Force's much-ballyhooed Web portal, which so far has been dubbed

My.Air Force, could be in trouble before it ever gets off the ground because

of the proliferation of non-open-source middleware.

Trying to Web-enable myriad applications requires a solid middleware

plan based on open standards. But the Air Force and many other government

organizations are "having a large, epic struggle" keeping up with e-commerce

while trying to justify the "incredible sums of taxpayer money spent on

non-open software [that's] nonstandards-based," according to one Interceptor


"In other words, Air Force senior leadership has the right strategic

vision. Most of their troops and contractors, on the other hand, are not

very open-system, e-commerce-middleware savvy," the informant said, adding

that it will be challenging for the service to realize the benefits of

current Web software before it becomes obsolete.

Let's see, whose software is spread throughout government com-puters

and is not open source? Who could the culprit be?

N/MCI Hot Seats

Seat management might become the next hot issue for the lucrative $16

billion Navy/ Marine Corps Intranet program. According to one good source,

the price of seats at Naval Air Systems Command — the first site for N/MCI

implementation following the contract award — will double to $5,000, and

the servicewide-level cost is expected to be negligibly higher. The price

is creating heartache with some because it means purchasing only half the

computer systems they now have.

The cost revelation might partially explain why the N/MCI transition

team recently asked all Navair organizations to inventory every computing

device throughout the command. The purpose of the inventory is to ensure

that all users retain the same computing capabilities under N/MCI that they

currently require. But some have questioned the timing of the inventory

because it sheds doubt on the accuracy of the Navy's business-case analysis.

Experimental Plague

Chances are that when Air Force officials begin briefing senior military

leadership and reporters on the lessons learned from the Joint Expeditionary

Force Experiment (JEFX 2000), they'll include all the good stuff and leave

out the fires, floods and tropical storms.

JEFX 2000 took place Aug. 28 to Sept. 15 from three main sites: Hurlburt

Field, Fla.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Those sites were linked to various sites nationwide and to airborne and

ground-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems considered

critical to employing expeditionary aerospace power.

The exercise was plagued by a series of mishaps, including a menacing

tropical storm, floods in the men's room and a fire in the Combined Air

Operations Center. The fire flared up in a power distribution box and tripped

electrical surge protectors throughout the operations center, causing minor

damage and halting the experiment for about 24 hours while computer systems

were put back online. What's on tap next year — frogs and locusts?

Intercept something? Send it to [email protected]


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