DMS Online?

Statements from on high that say that the Defense Message System officially

came online Sept. 15 don't necessarily make it so.

The $1.6 billion DMS is intended to provide secure mult-imedia messaging

and directory service desktop-to- desktop throughout the military. It is

also meant to modernize command and control messaging by allowing multimedia


Pentagon officials had issued guidance that by Sept. 15 all general

service messages classified top secret and below would be transmitted via

DMS. When the date arrived, the Pentagon declared DMS to be officially online

as the replacement for the aging Automatic Digital Network System. However,

the Interceptor has heard from several would-be DMS users who were a little

surprised and very miffed to hear that DMS had officially replaced Autodin.

The general response? "Not in my workplace."

Republicans = Security

Want your military networks secure? Vote Republican. That was the message,

intentional or not, from a high-ranking Defense Department information technology

official. During the E-Gov Information Assurance Conference last week in

Alexandria, Va., Margaret Myers, described by a Pentagon staffer as a deputy

to the Pentagon's deputy chief information officer, discussed the dismal

grades recently handed out by Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.). Myers said Rep.

Jim Turner (D-Texas) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), the two leading candidates

to replace Horn as chairman of the Government Management, Information and

Technology Subcommittee, have both sponsored legislation to establish a

federal chief information officer. She stressed the need for government

leaders aware of information assurance issues, adding, "I think I can guarantee

you all that if the Republicans retain control of the House and if we have

a Republican administration...the grades will go up."

N/MCI Winner Awash in Red Ink

According to an encrypted message that was passed through the Interceptor's

Batman decoder ring, the winning N/MCI contractor might have to go a few

dollars in debt before taking advantage of its $16 billion windfall.

The message indicates that the winner will face "a sea of red ink for

at least the first two years of the program and have stringent service-level

agreements to live up to." A service-level agreement is a contracting tool

keyed to a client's service performance expectations. The buyer and seller

determine upfront which services and performance levels will be provided,

as well as the metrics by which those capabilities will be measured. Meeting

or beating those expectations earns providers a financial reward; failing

to meet expectations results in earning less money for that performance

period. And that's a good thing?

Spectrum Never Dies

Following the demise of Iridium, the Defense Department is looking for

a new provider of satellite telephone services.

Service could potentially be provided by Globalstar LLP, but some fear

that could pose a spectrum interference problem. Globalstar broadcasts its

communications signals too close for comfort to the military's Global Positioning

System signal, which it uses to guide missiles and aircraft as well as find

troops in the field.

When the satellite phone is turned on, signal power increases as the

receiver tries to get a satellite fix. Ones it locks on, the power goes

down. The problem is minimal if precautions are taken, said one science

and technology policy analyst, but DOD doesn't want to shoot itself in the


Besides, the Pentagon still owns a useless Iridium gateway, and Globalstar

won't solve that problem.

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