JTRS blues

The Interceptor has picked up strong signals that a top Air Force widgeteer has ordered a review of the Joint Tactical Radio System program after Linton Wells, the Defense Department's chief information officer, eliminated fiscal 2006 funding for JTRS Cluster One. We hear the officials expect to complete this review in May.

Air Force leaders evidently were unaware of the problems with the $25 billion JTRS program, managed by Boeing, until Wells chopped funding and reorganized program management. That's scary because several Air Force projects, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, need to use JTRS' wideband network waveform (WNW).

We have also picked up reports from our San Diego listening post that Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center officials have also started to question JTRS, and they are looking for alternatives to WNW.

Future Combat Systems JTRS woes

JTRS will also cause problems for the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS), a Boeing program that is worth more than $100 billion, said Paul Francis, the Government Accountability Office's director of acquisition and sourcing management.

JTRS is supposed to provide the essential wireless conduits to connect FCS platforms on a battlefield. But Francis told the House Armed Services Committee's Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee last month that delays in developing JTRS Cluster One radios designed for use on vehicles and helicopters mean Army officials may have to field a different radio system to support FCS' initial deployment in 2008.

Francis added that delays in developing JTRS Cluster Five radios, which will be part of warfighters' gear on the battlefield, may force Army officials to find a non-JTRS alternative for those radios, too.

DOD officials just don't get the speedy service on a $25 billion contract that they used to get.

Centcom to commercialize Iraq nets?

Reports from one of our remote units in Florida indicate that Central Command officials want to commercialize the voice, video and data networks operating in Iraq, and they have started a study to determine how to accomplish that.

Sources say officials need to commercialize and centralize U.S. networks in Iraq. Most DOD communications in the theater occur via satellite at a cost of about $20,000 per month per megabyte — and we hear Iraq has almost as many satellite dishes as West Virginia.

Hayden's many hats

Ever wonder where the doughnut-popping employees in the military who fry enemy computer networks for a living disappeared to when the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Operations became the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations last June?

We did. So we asked someone who knew about it at FCW Media Group's Federal 100 awards banquet last month.

We're told Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, leads a group of computer network attack specialists called the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare. Strategic Command officials manage the group and oversee the military's computer network defense and attack operations.

Hayden, a good ol' Pittsburgh boy whom we like, wears a lot of hats these days — a Steelers tassel hat as director of the National Security Agency, a Pirates baseball cap as deputy director for national intelligence and a Penguins do-rag as leader of the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare.

Hagee's honesty

Some folks in the Marine Corps don't like it when we write about the technologies to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the roadside bombs and booby traps that account for almost one-third of the casualties in Iraq.

However, the word apparently hasn't gotten to the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Michael Hagee. He told a packed crowd at AFCEA International's Naval IT day last week that Iraqi insurgents adapt their tactics to our countermeasures to IEDs in seven to 10 days.

"It is a thinking, adaptable, smart enemy," Hagee said. "That is what we're facing today."

Hagee's candor and speech received a standing ovation from members of the Northern Virginia chapter of AFCEA. Sometimes, it pays to speak the truth instead of asking the Interceptors to suppress it.

Contribute to a good cause

Edward Meagher, deputy chief information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, was a big hit at the annual Federal 100 awards banquet last month. Meagher received the Eagle award for his work with service- disabled veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. To learn how to support his efforts, go to Download at and click on

Intercept something? Send it to [email protected] or [email protected].


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