Aiming High on NMCI

Although most of the military is taking a wait-and-see approach on the

Navy Marine Corps Intranet, the $6.9 billion information technology outsourcing

program may soon grow wings.

The Interceptor's fleet of micro air vehicles, disguised as flies on

the office walls of military chief information officers, is picking up strong

signals that Lawrence Delaney, the Air Force CIO, has recently shown increased

interest in seat management in general — and NMCI in particular. Delaney's

inquiries come in the wake of the Air Education and Training Command's

failed effort to raise enough funds for a seat management effort across

the command.

Big Seat, Little Seat

Army Research Laboratory officials in Aberdeen, Md., are eyeing seat

management for their 4,000 users, which would make the laboratory the largest

Army organization to implement seat management. Army Simulation, Training

and Instrumentation Command (Stricom) officials rolled out seat management

for more than 1,000 users in Orlando, Fla., with Litton/PRC Inc. earlier

this year. The Army Research Laboratory and Stricom are both part of the

Army Materiel Command. James Buckner, CIO for the Army Materiel Command,

has urged all the CIOs within materiel command subcommands to do their own

studies on seat management. Note to Army: 4,000 seats? Not quite like NMCI,

but you're getting there.

Florida InfoBug

The disease infecting the state of Florida — and rendering impossible

the smooth flow of election information — has apparently spread to the U.S.

Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The command

has been slow informing contractors about its enterprise IT effort, according

to a recent Commerce Business Daily announcement.

Short and to the point, the announcement states, "Some highly interested

industry partners with DOD have questioned the delay in getting information

regarding the Special Operations Enterprise Information Technology contract

effort." The effort has resulted in IT support functions involving 16,000

workstations being reviewed for possible contract consolidation. The statement

ends sounding much like Vice President Al Gore, president-elect-wannabe,

with the statement, "We appreciate your patience."

Program manager Jessica Spencer said, "Up to now, we have been very

careful releasing specifics about the contract, as we want to ensure all

contractors get the same information as well as accurate information. To

that end, we have been slow on the release of specific information in favor

of accuracy and fairness."

Note to Spencer: Are you sure you're not channeling Gore? Spencer took

about two weeks to answer questions, saying she had to go through her boss,

the command's lawyers, the public affairs office and others, all of whom

apparently have begun their Christmas leave a little early. That's at least

four offices. Next time, the Interceptor will vote for a recount.


Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki is leading the way in using a

public-key infrastructure digital signature for e-mail, but he may have

to conduct a little PKI basic training to get his staff to do the same.

According to sources close to Shinseki, the good general recently told

his staff during a meeting in the Pentagon that he will stop sending e-mail

messages "in the clear," and will instead use a digital signature to ensure

that his messages reach their intended destination without tampering. One

attendee, however, said many officials were left scratching their heads,

with no idea what the boss was talking about.

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