Intercepts

Spooky Virus

Sophos, a British anti-virus firm, reported in mid-May that it had discovered a variant of the "love bug" worm aimed at the National Security Agency's Echelon project. Echelon is an intelligence-gathering effort in the United Kingdom that has been accused — and recently absolved — of interfering with the privacy of citizens.

Given NSA's refusal to publicly acknowledge Echelon, we may never know whether the bug had bite. "NSA does not confirm or deny details recounted in the public domain," an agency spokes.woman said. "Additionally, we do not provide a comment on the operation of our internal computer systems, as any information would go into mission capabilities." Regarding Echelon, "NSA does not comment on actual or alleged intelligence activities," the spokeswoman added, but assured everyone that the agency breaks no laws and maintains the highest ethical standards. You gotta love a spy agency whose answers are so spookily predictable.

Wheelchair Warriors?

One innovative Navy SEAL has an idea so sensible that even the Interceptor — smart aleck extraordinaire — cannot poke fun. A point paper written by Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gus.entine and forwarded by a supporter states that with the establishment of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, the emergence of information warfare and other technology-related factors, the Navy needs new ways to recruit and retain skilled IT workers. Gusentine's solution: Establish a five-year pilot program, in concert with leading academic institutions, to recruit, train and assign physically disabled folks with advanced IT skills to uniformed reserve duty and assign them to NMCI, to specialized Naval Reserve hacker teams and to active-duty commands on a case-by-case basis.

Virtual Meeting

The Air Force used Web-based collaborative software in early May to conduct a "virtual industry day" on the business opportunities and requirements for the Global Command and Control System integrated framework. The experiment received a mixed review from John Gilligan, the service's deputy chief information officer. Although the format allowed for little give-and-take, the service will likely try again, in part because of the time and travel costs saved.

"We were able in a period of about five hours to go through an awful lot of material," Gilligan said. "I sat at my desk, I logged in, I gave my presentation, I got my questions from industry, I evaluated them right there online. So I thought it was very efficient," Gilligan said. Sounds like a virtual success.

JSIMS Rapture

Ever notice how some military officials can be a little too reverent of IT? The Joint Simulation System, for example, is a distributed war game simulation designed to create a single synthetic battle space. Speaking at the 10th Annual Executive Forum on Modeling & Simulation.

Delores Etter, deputy undersecretary of Defense for science and technology, said she initially had doubts about JSIMS but has now decided it is nothing short of miraculous. Then, Lt. Gen. Lance Lord, the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff, discussed his degree of faith in JSIMS. That led James Skurka, JSIMS program manager, to quip, "I didn't know JSIMS was a religious experience."

Master Revisions

Speaking of simulation, the Defense Department is on track to publish a revised mod.eling and simulation master plan in December, according to Army Col. Forrest Crain, director of the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office. Assuming President Bush keeps his campaign promise to skip a generation of weapon systems, an up-to-date plan is needed to develop those weapons. But a wise Army first sergeant once said, "To assume makes an ass of u and me." n Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

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