Letter to the editor
Regarding your article "DOD rapped on switch policy," you may want to take a second look at the
General Accounting Office report (GAO-02-681).
First, let me compliment Federal Computer Week on providing a proper
definition of a telecommunications switch, because the GAO report did not.
The GAO report certainly lacks clarity on exactly what a switch is designed
to do in a circuit-switched network.
I must, however, take issue with FCW reporting "20 percent of vendors
interviewed said they had stopped doing business" with the Defense Department
"because the costs associated with testing and certification were too high."
The GAO report indicates "one of five vendors we interviewed stated that
it has stopped doing business with DOD for economic reasons."
Clearly, one vendor leaving the "playing field" isn't exactly a mass
exodus as implied by reporting that 20 percent have turned their backs on
DOD business for telecommunications switches.
GAO says it interviewed five companies: AG Commercial Systems, Avaya
Inc., Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks and Siemens AG. I believe they
meant "AG Communication Systems." Note that AG Communication Systems is
a joint venture of Lucent and Verizon. Lucent owns 90 percent of the company,
and Verizon owns the remaining 10 percent. By 2004, Lucent plans to acquire
full ownership of the company.
There are many other errors of omission and fact. Too many are of a
technical nature to fully describe them here. However, if GAO can't properly
define what it is they're looking at and doesn't know whom they interviewed,
can we believe the rest of the report?
Name withheld by request