Harvey a hard charger

Francis Harvey, the leading candidate to replace the retiring Defense Department chief information officer John Stenbit, is known more for his business aptitude than his information technology know-how.

This suggests Harvey, a former Westinghouse Electronic Corp. executive, could be more focused on carrying out the defense IT transformation efforts that have been started in the last few years, rather than crafting policy and vision statements.

"He's an executioner, not a visionary," an industry official said. Harvey, who has ties to the Carlyle Group LLC, a powerful Washington, D.C., investment firm, declined comment about his pending nomination.

Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va., think tank, offered two pieces of advice to Harvey (who likes to be called Fran):

n Start programs and buy IT that stops the imaginative ways that enemies will use to exploit U.S. military warfighting networks.

n Continue the multibillion-dollar Transformational Communications System program, which by 2010 will combine new technologies so warfighters and analysts can receive intelligence on demand.

Harvey will likely be getting a lot of advice.

Investigating NMCI

The Navy is conducting an investigation into why the Welchia worm so drastically affected the Navy Marine Corps Intranet last month. Much of the enterprisewide network lost connectivity to e-mail, the Internet and shared drives for a week or more because of the virus.

The Interceptor has learned that the investigation is being led by Rear Adm. John Harvey Jr., commanding officer of Cruiser Destroyer Group Eight, based out of Norfolk, Va.

The investigation is looking into why NMCI was so drastically affected and the rest of the Navy emerged largely unscathed, said an anonymous source familiar with the investigation.

Although its results won't be available for a few weeks, word is the patch Microsoft Corp. advertised that could have prevented the rampant spread of the bug was not implemented in time.

Navy bigwigs allegedly assigned the investigation to the battle group commander — one with little direct contact with NMCI — to ensure it remains impartial.

Tradoc divorce

The creation of the Futures Center at the Army's Training and Doctrine Command is the first of several changes coming to Fort Monroe, Va.

The new center, which will open Oct. 1, will establish an organization to write doctrine for the Army's lighter, rapid-deployable Objective Force, then test it in computer- assisted wargames, according to a Tradoc statement. The creation of the center "postures [Tradoc] for future branch consolidation," the statement read, hinting at potentially big changes.

Gen. Kevin Byrnes, Tradoc commanding general, has determined that his decreasing workforce and his increasing job load are stressing current training and doctrine work, said a two-star general, who heads one of Tradoc's five warfighting schools.

Could TRA and DOC be divorcing?

Autodin on, ceremony off

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has postponed the Automated Digital Network's (Autodin) Sept. 30 retirement ceremony, according to a Sept. 4 statement from a company that helped design the 40-year-old system.

Autodin distributes classified voice, video and data messages to defense users, contractors and other agencies. It will stay on until the new Defense Messaging System is ready.

DMS is a multibillion dollar effort to secure defense communications worldwide, but its program schedule has slipped twice.

DMS was supposed to be operational on Sept. 30, and then on Dec. 30, but it is now slated for early 2004.

Any predictions about when DISA may schedule a DMS opening ceremony?

Air Force base at Microsoft

The Air Force might one day have a base at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

The new arrangement between Air Force and Microsoft will allow the service to get greater input on the maturation of the company's software, especially its security features. It could lead to an Air Force liaison officer working on site with Microsoft developers, said John Gilligan, the service's chief information officer.

"Because we've got 500,000 desktop PCs, Microsoft is willing to dedicate some significant resources to us," Gilligan said. "We think that will dramatically improve our ability to respond quickly in getting patches and fixes, getting them tested in our environment and pushing them out."

The Air Force deserves Microsoft's commitment to security, standards and licensing because it is the company's largest customer, said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer, at the Air Force IT Conference in Montgomery, Ala. last month.

This is one base that likely won't close to Congress's next Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act, coming in 2005.

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