Nomination delays

So much for writing John Stenbit's obituary and conducting an exit interview with him soon. The Defense Department chief information officer's calendar remains booked through February, said a military official.

The Interceptor reported in September that Stenbit wants to retire and that the Bush administration would nominate Francis Harvey to replace him. But almost two months later, the Bush administration still has not submitted the former Westinghouse Electronic Corp. executive and Carlyle Group LLC insider's name to the Senate for confirmation.

Another person still awaiting the OK from the Hill is James Roche. White House officials nominated the boisterous Air Force secretary in July to replace fired Army Secretary Thomas White.

Ah, the maze of the nomination process.

Old dogs, new tricks

The new "joint" warfighting mantra is getting more than just lip service from the military's upper echelons.

The Army has established its first joint land force component commander course, said Gen. Kevin Byrnes, commanding general at the service's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va.

The first pilot course, scheduled for February, will be taught at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., said Byrnes, speaking to attendees of the Military Communications Conference 2003 in Boston. "We'll do three or four courses a year, and we'll send 12 to 14 general officers to every course to train them how to fight as a joint force land component commander."

Let's see if these old dogs can learn new joint warfighting tricks.

Lesson still being learned

The military's top joint officer believes the $48 billion spent on airlift and sealift since 1991 was money well spent. But the services combined probably spent less than $48 million developing, automating and integrating the process side of the joint deployment piece.

"We bought a lot of metal, a lot of fire, a lot of reliable stuff," said Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, commander of Joint Forces Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, who spoke last week at Milcom. "But what we didn't do was work on how we bring this all together. [This was] one of the things that did not come out well in Operation Iraqi Freedom."

The unified command, located in Suffolk, Va., is looking for "transparent databases, information down at the database level — the generation level — that we can reach down into, that's tagged properly and usable," Giambastiani said.

We hope DOD officials learn this lesson before the next big deployment.

Serious about IPv6

If you think Stenbit is kidding about moving to IP version 6, think again.

Anything companies sell to DOD today and in the future should be IPv6-enabled — whether they are in the transport, application or data business, said Stenbit, who also spoke at Milcom.

"We're having a fight right now in the Pentagon about whether we should add 36 more voice-switch voice channels to the Teleport program, and we [in the CIO's office] are saying, 'No way, Jose, that's IP,'" Stenbit said. "It's great and wonderful that you have all these voice systems, but you ain't going to use that kind of money anymore."

"I'm serious, we're going to IPv6," Stenbit emphasized. He's really serious.

AGS slap-in-the-face

One could not help but notice the tank-like vehicle at the Association of the U.S. Army's 2003 Annual Meeting held earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

The updated M8 Armored Gun System (AGS) with a new 120mm cannon almost immediately greeted conference attendees as they stepped onto the AUSA exhibit floor. That was United Defense Inc.'s point, industry officials said.

UDI believes the 105mm Stryker Mobile Gun System, built by General Dynamics Corp., based in Falls Church, Va., will not be ready by 2005. By displaying the AGS at AUSA — a vehicle that was cancelled by the Army in the mid-1990s — the company was signaling to the Army it has a stable-firing, bunker-busting vehicle now ready, industry officials said.

The Stryker brigades are the Army's new rapid-reaction force. The six-brigade unit, equipped with the new, wheeled, 19-ton Stryker infantry carrier vehicle, will use the vehicle's 62-mile-per-hour top speed and the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade-and- Below system's information processing to outmaneuver and outsmart heavier enemy forces.

We say let the duels between these platforms begin.

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