Briefs

Army to get instant messaging

The U.S. Army will use Bantu Inc.'s Instant Messaging for its Army Knowledge Online Web portal, which is expected to draw 3 million users by 2003.

Soldiers worldwide use Army Knowledge Online (www.us.army.mil) to access Army information, news, education and training opportunities, and e-mail.

Through Bantu's Presence Platform, icons will show portal members which colleagues are online and available to communicate. The Army and Bantu announced the deal July 30 but declined to disclose the value. Bantu's contract includes installation of instant messaging and the Presence Platform in the Army's secure environment, to be accessed by both classified and unclassified personnel. Bantu will provide the same instant messaging services within the Army White Pages, a worldwide locator service.

"IM provides Army soldiers and chain-of-command discussion groups with the ability to securely communicate online and document conversations for historical reference," said Lt. Col. Roderick Wade, who heads the Army Knowledge Online effort.

FBI pick pledges IT upgrade

Robert Mueller, President Bush's nominee for FBI director, promised July 30 to fix the bureau's antiquated technology in his effort to restore confidence in the organization.

"I believe there is a need to rebuild infrastructure, to upgrade the information systems and to upgrade the systems and procedures to integrate modern technology," Mueller said July 30 during confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Every FBI manager — indeed, every agent — needs to be computer-literate. Not a computer programmer, but aware of what computers can and cannot do to assist them with their jobs," the nominee said.

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