Intercepts

Pardon Me?

Former President Clinton might have found it in his heart to pardon John Deutch, the former director of the CIA who was under investigation for storing classified documents on his less-than-secure personal computer, but Deutch's colleagues may not be so forgiving. Deutch's predecessor, George Tenet, was asked during a Feb. 7 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing whether he would reinstate Deutch's security clearance in the wake of the pardon. He responded without elaboration: "No."

Smoke and Mirrors

Tenet remarked during the same hearing that terrorist Osama bin Laden and Cuba's Fidel Castro pose serious cyber-threats to the United States. Because Cuba has so few Internet connections, Tenet's comments have been met with some skepticism. Those willing to give the CIA the benefit of the doubt assume that the defense and intelligence communities are engaging in some scare-mongering to justify a defense buildup; others simply wonder if the CIA's vision is clouded by cigar smoke.

From the Hip

Gen. William Kernan, commander of the Joint Forces Command, is a combat veteran of Vietnam, Grenada and Panama who has earned a Purple Heart. But he barely dodged another bullet during an Association of the United States Army breakfast Feb. 8. Kernan told the audience that the U.S. military has to build technological bridges to our allies because "we're not going to slow down" on technology advances. He also said that when Congress called for a massive exercise in California and Nevada in 2002, it didn't provide any money to pay for the 20,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who would participate.

When asked whether he felt betrayed by President Bush for promising during the campaign to provide the military with immediate budgetary relief and then appearing to rethink that promise once in office, Kernan responded: "I feel like a pop-up target at a live-fire range." He then expressed complete confidence that Dubya will be a strong supporter of the military, proving once again that you survive neither combat in the jungle nor life in Washington by being dumb.

Portal Power

Air Force officials intend in March to unveil their new portal, informally dubbed My.AirForce. The early version will be available to 100,000 select Air Force users and is designed to elicit feedback for improvements that might be incorporated into a later version, set for release in June.

Officials predict that more than a million people will use the portal daily. The idea is to offer instant access to the information people need for their jobs, whether on the battlefield or in the office.

WAAR Zone

You know that the Pentagon's propensity for applying acronyms to every program has gone too far when the contracting organization and the companies competing for the program can't remember what the acronym stands for. For the record, DSTS-G is an acronym that includes another acronym: Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) equals D, and Satellite Transmission Services- Global makes the STS-G.

The $2 billion program will provide a commercial-based, private satellite network to support the department's general-purpose service requirements and is the largest small-business set-aside contract in the Defense Department's history. But those who should know better — you know who you are — often mangle the contorted formal name. Any chance the Pentagon could be declared a Work Area of Acronym Restrictions Zone?

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