IT coronation

Last week Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege passed the scepter as the military's top systems official and cyberwarrior to the service's newest three-star general, Charles Croom.

The Interceptors did not receive an invitation because the command-change ceremony at the brown pagoda in Arlington, Va., was closed to the media. But we're told the event was going to commemorate Raduege's retirement as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander of the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) and Croom's ascent to the posts. The ceremony was going to be two hours of pomp.

We've had some fun with Raduege since he took over DISA in 2000. His 500-day plans are legendary, and we believe he implemented three during his five-year reign.

We wish him all the best in retirement. DISA has never been a big fan of the press, but perhaps that will change with a new leader. After all, we always found our conversations with Raduege very interesting. The two-hour chat we had at the Federal 100 awards event this year was insightful.

As for Croom, we look forward to working with him. He said he wants to start a dialogue and help us get stories right.

DIRSNA nominee

Air Force blue continues to shine at the top of DISA and JTF-GNO but not at the National Security Agency.

President Bush nominated Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander for director of NSA, the ultra-secretive intelligence agency located at Fort Meade, Md. He would replace Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, who is also the deputy for John Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence.

We hear the codemakers, codebreakers and white hackers at NSA refer to the agency's director as the DIRSNA (pronounced DIR-sna). They obviously take a little liberty with the spelling.

We're a little surprised by Bush's choice of Alexander. We heard the Army's top intelligence official suggest last year at the Network Centric Operations 2004 conference in Atlantic City, N.J., that the United States may not be winning the global war on terrorism. Alexander currently serves as the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence.

Bush's nominee to replace Alexander is Maj. Gen. John Kimmons, commanding general of the Army's Intelligence and Security Command. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker's choice to replace Kimmons is Maj. Gen. John DeFreitas, deputy chief of staff for intelligence for Multinational Force-Iraq.

Chinese IT dragon

We got a lot of e-mail on a Web story we wrote last month on the military looking for ideas about how to better operate and defend the Global Information Grid, its web of communications systems.

We finally got a copy of the document "Net Force Maneuver: A NetOps Construct," which appeared in a publication produced for the IEEE Computer Society's Systems, Man and Cybernetics workshop held in last month at West Point from a faithful reader and JTF-GNO. (We were a little long-winded in that sentence, but it satisfies copyright obligations.)

A comment in the abstract piqued our interest: "When it comes to our sensitive but unclassified military computer networks, our adversaries are able to inflict a substantial amount of harassment and a measurable amount of damage at practically no cost to themselves. It's probably only a slight exaggeration to say we are fighting an attrition battle where we are the only ones being attrited."

When is the military finally going to admit that the adversary it refers to is China? Or are we afraid to upset the Chinese because we need their help in getting rid of nuclear weapons in North Korea and bankrolling the U.S. debt?

Sim in the sun

We ran into a well-tanned Wells Barlow at Army IT Day last month. He is working in Orlando, Fla., as chief architect for training and simulation solutions at Science Applications International Corp.

Barlow is former deputy program executive officer in the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems. He retired as a colonel with almost 30 years of service in March. He said he wanted to live in Florida and obviously got his wish. n

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