Intercepts

No Time for Golf?

Let the deck shuffling begin. Art Money, the Pentagon's chief information officer, leaves next month, and his deputy, Paul Brubaker, is already gone. Now the Interceptor's dust-particle-size info-gathering robots in the Pentagon are picking up rumors that Rear Adm. John Gauss, who will retire soon as commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, may snag a high-ranking Pentagon position. Pentagon rumormongers say Gauss is being considered for a yet-to-be-revealed deputy assistant secretary of Defense position. The Pentagon CIO is also the assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence (ASDC3I) and has five deputy assistants.

Linton Wells, principal deputy to the ASDC3I, will temporarily fill Money's shoes, and Margaret Myers, a deputy to Brubaker, will step into Wells' position for now. Officials in the ASDC3I office still hope the job will be made an undersecretary position.

Gauss said earlier this year, however, that his first choice for a new career would be to invest in the stock market each morning and play golf each afternoon. He also would consider helping run a start-up company. But with the stock market tanking and start-ups going bankrupt in record numbers, a start-up deputy undersecretary of Defense position might start looking more attractive.

Making a Splash

Officials at U.S. Space Command apparently are worried about the looming crash of Russia's Mir space station, which is expected to plummet into the Pacific Ocean March 22. The 15-year-old outpost has outlived its usefulness, and the Russians intend to bring it down in a controlled descent somewhere between New Zealand and South America. Spacecom is tracking the behemoth and providing data to the Russians.

Mir is just one of 8,300 orbiting objects Spacecom tracks as part of its nuclear missile warning mission, but as Mir's re-entry date draws near, the command is picking up the pace at which it updates Russia, with hourly updates expected in the final days.

Mir weighs a mere 140 tons. What harm could it do?

Out of Date

The recent recommendation that the Defense Department conduct a massive information warfare vulnerability test on its secret networks continues to raise eyebrows inside and outside the Pentagon. The proposed test was included in the recent report to Congress by the office of the director of operational test and evaluation. The feeling inside the Pentagon is that the secret network security is tried-and-true, making such a test unnecessary. In addition, industry sources say a test would be too time-consuming, expensive and downright difficult.

Anthony Valletta, a former acting ASDC3I and now a vice president of SRA International Inc., said the recommendation shows that the Pentagon is still conducting vulnerability testing too late in a program's development, a problem he worked on while in the Pentagon and one that the military has yet to solve. This proves yet again that DOD moves at 386 speed in a Pentium 4 age.

Look Who's Talking

Litton TASC Inc. recently won a $57 million contract to modernize the foreign signals intelligence capabilities for a "U.S. intelligence agency." The program, known as Trailblazer, is so hush-hush that Litton can't say which agency it's working for.

Anyone interested in finding out, though, can read a National Security Agency press release from November about the agency's acquisition reform efforts and proudly mentions Trailblazer as "one of NSA's major SIGINT modernization programs" on its Web site. Don't you love open-source intelligence?

Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

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