J6 on JTRS case

We're picking up medium-strength signals that Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bob Shea, who leads the Joint Staff's J6 office, will join Linton Wells, who leads the Defense Department's chief information officer's shop, in taking a close look at the troubled and delayed — not to mention costly — Joint Tactical Radio System program.

We hear they plan to conduct an assessment of how delays in the fielding of JTRS radios and waveforms will affect other programs, including the Navy-managed Mobile User Objective System satellite program designed to support users in all four military services.

Will the Navy and Lockheed Martin have to wait for the JTRS program office to come up with a software-defined radio for a $3 billion satellite system, and exactly how long will that take?

The Interceptors would like to have a sit-down with the JTRS folks to get some answers to questions like this.

IM for DOD

Marine Col. Medio Monti, J6 for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force who also served as J6 for Operation Unified Assistance in Thailand, wishes he could use software on DOD networks that his children take for granted at their home in Okinawa — either MSN or AOL Instant Messenger.

Monti said his children often have four windows on their PCs open to chat with friends worldwide, and he believes military users need the same capabilities.

Low-bandwidth client needed

The Defense Information Systems Agency is experimenting with commercial WebEx software as a real-time collaboration tool. But Navy Cmdr. Carolyn Westphal, in charge of communication gizmos for Pacific Fleet, told us last week in Honolulu that WebEx just won't work for what she dubbed "bandwidth-disabled" users.

She emphasized this is not just a Navy problem, but one faced by any user at the end of a thin pipe. Bob Stephenson, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's lead systems engineer for Pacific Fleet, said WebEx applets can take up to 45 minutes to load via a low-speed satellite circuit.

SAIC and ... flashlights?

Yep, that's right. Science Applications International Corp., the company that oversees the Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion program and more DOD information technology contracts than we can shake a stick at, just won a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to produce 800 flashlights based on cutting-edge optical technology, said Doug Kirkpatrick, a DARPA program manager.

Maybe SAIC can use one of the prototypes to look for a laptop computer heisted from its San Diego offices last month.

Air Force name game

We anxiously waited three months for Air Force officials to disclose the name for the service's new IT headquarters and all they could come up with is SAF/XC.

SAF/XC — Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for Warfighting Integration and CIO — consolidates the offices of Communications Operations, CIO and Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration.

Brig. Gen. Brad Butler, the Air Force's deputy CIO, blurted out the new name last month at one of the many industry conferences the Interceptors stake out every week. Service IT leaders originally planned to make the formal announcement earlier this month, but they now expect it to happen later this month.

The speculation now moves to who will head the new office. We'll wager our last pen and reporter's notebook that Air Force officials will pick Lt. Gen. Tom Hobbins, the service's current deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration — an obvious choice, like the office's name. n

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