Cisco or Bust?

Shortly after the Air Force published its intent to use products and services from Cisco—and no one but Cisco—for a servicewide network, Cisco Systems Inc.'s competitors decided they smelled a rat. First, the service published the announcement under the "special notices" section in the July 31 Commerce Business Daily, where it flew under some vendors' radar screens.

Second, the announcement said the new approach might occur in August, which seemed a little rushed to some. In addition, the announcement justified the move in part by saying 95 percent of Air Force bases "have an installed Cisco Systems baseline," but it's actually about 84 percent, according to Joe Mardo, Global Grid's product area director at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

To top it all off, one Air Force official reportedly told vendors in July the service has no intention of going to an all-Cisco infrastructure. That official shall remain nameless, but there are those who believe the person has, shall we say, a credibility issue. Do or DII

The Defense Information Systems Agency initially helped vendors pay for certifying that operating systems—such as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT—complied with the department's overarching infrastructure, known as the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment (DII COE). (Warning: Don't pronounce it "die ko," lest you be scoffed at.)

Now that the infrastructure is more mature, however, officials are encouraging companies to foot the bill. Glenn Hecton, Log.icon Inc.'s DII COE solutions manager, said the unofficial policy has been in place for some time, but has been conducted so quietly that few people know of it. DISA's new motto: There are no freebies anymore. Blowing Horns

It used to be that military commanders would pray before battle and send a bugler onto the field to sound the charge. Now officials pray for any old $6.9 billion defense information technology program that comes along. This was the case, at least, at the come-see-it show for the Aug. 6 opening of the second of six regional centers for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, this one in San Diego County, Calif.

The chaplain's opening prayer praised the glories of NMCI, saying that this new network "will increase communication that will help us make better decisions." County supervisors even approved Aug. 6 as NMCI Day.

NMCI Day? What's next, Groundbreaker Day?

Information Shutdown

Despite the critics, Defense Department officials insist they were right to twice shut off public access to hundreds of Web sites to quell the spread of the Code Red and Code Red Jr. computer worms. The Interceptor will not quibble with decisions made in the interest of national security, but offers this piece of advice: Please ensure your Webmasters know whom to call in order to plead that their sites remain linked to the Internet. Reporters are not part of the military chain of command.

ThreatCon Gone

Defense Department officials will erase the phrase "Threat Condition" from the memory banks, choosing to measure the terrorist threat by "Force Protection Condition," or FPCon. The change—made to avoid confusion with "Threat Level"—was recommended following the terrorist attack on USS Cole last Oct. 12 in Adan, Yemen. The FPCon levels will remain the same—normal, alpha, bravo, charlie, delta. However, the Pentagon in coming months will release updated protective measures, according to Maj. Melvin Allen, from Air Force Security Forces at the Pentagon, who was quoted in a recent service press release.

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