Ol' Boys Network

Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, National Security Agency director, and Harry Gatanas, the agency's senior acquisition executive, are changing the culture and improving the technology at the once ultra- secret spy agency.

Among other projects, NSA is leading a governmentwide effort to modernize U.S. cryptologic capabilities, a project expected to cost billions of dollars during the next 15 years and likely to gain more focus in the aftermath of the attacks. Gatanas reported earlier this year that the agency has responded to criticisms in Congress and elsewhere by dramatically broadening its list of contractors and reducing the number of sole-source contracts. Still, one cryptography vendor alleges that the agency will not consider buying its products because NSA deals only with existing contractors. The more things change...

InfoTech Goodwill

Offers of free assistance continue to pour into the Pentagon from information technology vendors. "As the aftershock of the events that took place this week really started to sink in, I was overwhelmed by the generosity being displayed by the IT community in the D.C. area that supports the Department of Defense," said Ron Turner, Navy deputy chief information officer. "The DOD IT vendor community wanted to donate hardware, software, servers, rehosting capabilities, technical support and operational support...anything they could do to help DOD through the horrific events in the Pentagon."

Turner added, "To each and every company that made those offers, on behalf of the Department of the Navy, I would like to say 'Thank you.' Your dedication to support our mission, no matter what the cost to you, is indicative how much you are a part to the Navy/Marine Corps team."

Spectrum Spat

The kamikaze attacks will dramatically alter the landscape for debate on a range of DOD issues, including wireless spectrum, Pentagon CIO John Stenbit said Sept. 14. The federal government has been trying to decide how to allocate spectrum necessary for commercial third-generation wireless communications, and the commercial world has its eyes on the 1755-1850 MHz range, which the military uses for useful things such as satellite telemetry; tracking and commanding satellite systems such as the Global Positioning System; precision guided munitions; tactical radio systems; air combat training systems; targeting and intelligence; and transmission of voice, video and data to warfighting commanders.

Before the attack, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Army Gen. Henry Shelton, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appealed directly to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). Rumsfeld and Shelton wrote Daschle in late August, contending that sharing the frequency band is impractical, relinquishing some or all of the band cannot be done for another decade, and moving to other bands would take some major moolah. "DOD must not be forced to relocate to other spectrum prematurely. Forced relocation will have serious consequences on our national security and increase the risk to military personnel," they said.

Now that's an argument the Pentagon might win handily these days.

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