Keep 'em Hungry

Who doesn't want and need more money?

The answer to the question seemed obvious when Paul Brubaker, president of Aquilent Inc., put it to a panel of Defense Department officials at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's TechNet International 2002 conference held last week in Washington, D.C. One answer came with an interesting twist.

Air Force Major Gen. Charles Croom Jr., vice director for the command, control, communications and computer systems directorate on the Joint Staff, noted that "the power of zeros and ones" is helping create an amazing fighting force.

But Croom also said that although network administrators would always like to get more money, they should not get too much. Organizations tend to do more when they have less, he suggested. And while DOD needs enough to carry out its mission, there are real concerns that it could waste money if it has too much.

"I'm looking for an increase, but don't give me too much of an increase," he said.

So, show me the money, but don't show me too much.

Changes at JROC?

Program managers may soon find themselves thinking about joint services requirements a little earlier in the development process.

Speaking at the TechNet conference, Navy Adm. William Fallon, vice chief of naval operations and a member of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), said council members were wondering whether they could save time and money by assessing a project's joint viability before development is under way.

Under the current system, the council grants approvals to programs that have already been launched after the program office tweaks any problems that inhibit interoperability.

For example, the Navy is DOD's lead developer for a deployable joint command and control system, and officials must decide whether to focus on the service's own needs and then make the system usable for the other services, or focus on joint capabilities from the start, Fallon said.

"Just about every system that comes across before our eyes has alleged attributes of 'jointness,' but [most] need to be adjusted for true jointness," he said. "To be truly interoperable, [the proposals] need to be tweaked, and those tweaks are expensive."

Oh, Never Mind

There's yet another turn in the seemingly never-ending story of DOD's Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) contract.

Sprint and AT&T withdrew their protests late last month against the $450 million award to WorldCom Inc. to provide high-speed network services for researchers and scientists.

One protestor remains — Global Crossing Ltd., which won the DREN contract last year before the Defense Information Systems Agency withdrew the award after losing bidders protested.

Sprint spokesman John Polivka said that when company officials reviewed the documents they had requested from the government, they surmised that the agency would not change the award.

Although Polivka said his company continued to have concerns about "irregularities," he declined to detail them.

AT&T, the incumbent DREN contractor, provided even fewer details about why the company withdrew its protests.

Officials from the General Accounting Office have said that a decision on the protest is due July 22.

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About the Authors

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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