Kick 'em to the Curb

Although the Navy has the option to kick Electronic Data Systems Corp. to the curb should the company not perform well on the $6.9 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet, the service decided not to name a backup contractor. EDS officials have argued that naming a backup would serve only as an incentive for the second stringer to criticize EDS' every move. Still, Al Edmonds, the retired Air Force lieutenant general who heads EDS' federal information solutions business, has a reputation for speaking the truth, no matter how painful. He did just that at the Air Force's recent Information Technology Partnership Day conference in Montgomery, Ala. Commercial technology should work regardless of who provides it, Edmonds said, with the only difference being which contractor performs best. "You build a contract that's flexible enough to allow you to exercise options, and when you exercise options if one doesn't perform, the other one can pick up the next day. You don't miss a beat."

Giving Credit

Information dominance is just as important for Air Force business processes as it is on the battlefield, according to Brig. Gen. Darryl Scott, deputy assistant secretary for contracting. Over the past five years, government credit cards have become the dominant means of purchasing equipment in the Air Force — for example, $1.3 billion in business was done via purchase cards in 2000, with 2.7 million credit card buys by more than 80,000 card holders. But are those buyers getting the best deal?

"We don't have the business intelligence we need to decide whether we're making smart decisions for those 2.7 million purchases," Scott said.

In other words, more than 80,000 Air Force members need someone to tell them if they're spending wisely. Solution: Make 'em all get married.

Cheese Whiz

Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has required his senior staff to read a few management books, including "Who Moved My Cheese?" And early indications are that the agency could be shifting a lot of cheddar.

"We've been busily writing things on paper and doing diagrams and charts and putting things in blocks and stuff like that. I think it's pretty safe to say the D-1 through D-8 structure at DISA is going to be changed, and there are going to be four or five principal business units, one of which will be computer services," said John Garing, DISA's Western Hemisphere commander, who also cautioned that no changes are carved in stone.

Garing may be the first DISA employee to publicly voice some good-natured criticism of Raduege's leadership. "We had to read that book, "Who Moved My Cheese?' I've had more cheese in the last six months than I ever care [to have]. Everything is cheese now. Everybody talks in cheese. I'd like to have it gone and out of my life."

What's the Threat?

The scenario for the recent war game experiment called Unified Vision was "based on a real-world military threat for which we have robust, realistic databases," according to background information provided to journalists. But officials at Joint Forces Command won't say what that threat is.

David Ozolek, deputy director of the Joint Futures Laboratory at Joint Forces command, would only say: "It does require global protection. It does require dealing with a threat that has significantly advanced anti-accessing capabilities that limits our basing, limits our ability to deploy a large number of forces into the theater of operations. He's got theater missiles. He's got weapons of mass destruction." We all get one guess.

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