Beaming up the White House

The Defense Information Systems Agency's White House Communications Agency (WHCA) assigned Northrop Grumman some exotic tasks under the DISA Encore I contract. The company must assess future communications technologies to support a mobile and global presidency. This includes evaluating the feasibility of incorporating artificial intelligence networking technology into the WHCA architecture.

In the mobile area, WHCA asked Northrop Grumman to concentrate on technologies able to provide highly reliable voice communications at rates of 128 kilobits/sec or better on a mobile platform. WHCA also wants a wireless infrastructure that can operate at data rates of 1.5 megabits/sec and asked the company to explore a range of technologies, including Wi-Fi (still a no-no in most of the Defense Department), Ka-band and ultra-wideband.

WHCA is also eyeing portable cell site technology, which will hopefully eliminate dropped cellular calls. We bet the WHCA really gets peeved when a call from the president is dropped.

How do you say 'task order' in Romanian?

You never know where a task order contract is going to take you, as proved by Encore I, which has supported Romania's Ministry of National Defence, Macedonia's Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.

Unisys — evidently a multilingual outfit — handled all those Encore I jobs. In Romania, Unisys landed about $3.5 million in work for an automated, integrated logistics system, and in Macedonia, the company picked up a task order valued at about $1 million for a geographic information system. Unisys also had an Encore I task order for about $2 million for the Czech armed forces' staff information system.

All three tasks were performed under the aegis of the Theater Systems Integration Office-Europe of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Alabama, which supports information technology projects in Eastern European countries.

An In-Q-Tel for Navy?

Capt. Chris Christopher, a project director in the Navy's Program Executive Office for IT, said the Navy wants better access to emerging technologies and might set up its own venture capital firm, modeled after the CIA-backed In-Q-Tel. We hope to find out more at the PEO-IT conference this week in New Orleans.

SRA's big signing

The Pittsburgh Penguins and SRA International landed two of the most-coveted individuals for their businesses last week.

The Penguins drafted Sidney Crosby, an 18-year-old center touted as the next Mario Lemieux. SRA signed John Gilligan, the former Air Force chief information officer whom all the Beltway IT bandits wanted.

Crosby and Gilligan should have relatively easy transitions into their new jobs. Crosby will work under Lemieux, a hockey hall-of-famer, and Gilligan with Tony Valletta, who held the military's top IT post in the late 1990s.

Gilligan will serve as vice president and deputy director of the company's Defense Sector business unit. Gilligan said he chose SRA over a dozen other companies because of its culture of "going after work that was more challenging where it could make a difference" and because "its customer satisfaction has been very positive."

Meyerrose slotted for DNI CIO job?

We're picking up signals that Air Force Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, director of architectures and integration at U.S. Northern Command (Northcom) and director of command and control systems at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), could be tapped to be CIO of the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Navy Rear Adm. Nancy Brown was nominated this spring to take over Meyerrose's dual-hatted IT job at Northcom and NORAD, but the Air Force has yet to announce where Meyerrose will park his braided hat.

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