It usually takes years of legal maneuvering for the Defense Department to settle a contract dispute. But the Defense Information Systems Agency's about-face on Global Crossing Government Markets' $400 million Defense Researchand Engineering Network contract took only a friendly phone call from the General Accounting Office to Richard Race, DISA's inspector general.

All the competitors — incumbent AT&T, WorldCom Inc., Sprint and Qwest Communications International Inc. — protested the award to GAO aftera briefing from the DISA contracting office at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

GAO's courtesy call to DISA officials reportedly was enough to straighten out the issue. In a letter to GAO, DISA officials said they would cancel the contract with Global Crossing.

Sources say the amended solicitation will be coming out of DISA headquarters in Arlington, Va.

AIX: Trendsetter

Just when you thought it was safe for DOD to use IBM Corp.'s AIX operating system, think again. IBM announced in July that it is partnering with Logicon Inc. to bring AIX and IBM servers into compliance with DOD's information technology infrastructure. Bob Sudalnik, IBM's Unix project manager for the certification process, explained that the deal should help Big Blue gain a greater market share within DOD.

But now the folks at All, a Web site devoted to network security issues, report that AIX is gaining favor with cyber vandals. Only 47 sites defaced within the past 18 months were running AIX, but 32 of those defacements occurred within a recent three-day period.

All Clear?

Apparently, the memo recently signed by Gen. Eric Shinseki, Army chief of staff, and Thomas White, Army secretary, created some confusion in the ranks about IT spending. The memo stated that Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello,the Army's chief information officer, will manage all IT dollars not already allocated to a major program.

Some officials reportedly understood that to mean they cannot spend fiscal year-end dollars, sending shock waves through the vendor community.

The Army released a clarification message July 21 on the Army Knowledge Online Web site. Miriam Browning, principal director of enterprise integration, said the latest message clarifies that Oct. 1 — the beginning of fiscal 2002 — is the start date for the mandatory review of major information technology initiatives and states that prior approval for fiscal 2001 expenditures is needed only for new programs.

The clarifying message also advises commanders to review the first message and "follow the intent of the memorandum to the best of their ability."

That ought to clear things up.

No Virtual Chaplains

Chaplain Maj. Mark Nordstrom, who manages the program to develop a language-translation device for Army chaplains serving in foreign lands, recently denied that the Army is seeking to develop a holographic chaplain. Rumor had it that the service wanted 3-D holograms to supplement its force of carbon-based spiritual advisers.

But Nordstrom said such a concept goes against the chaplain code. "Army chaplains have always been assigned to units, as opposed to a base, post or camp," he said.

"When soldiers deploy, we deploy," he added. "We don't remain behind, so there is no pressing reason to extend ministry through holographic images."

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