Don’t they know there’s a war going on?; Army out-politics the politicians; GIG goes EU By Light; Where’s DATS?; Bye-bye, AHLTA. Hello, FDA?

Don’t they know there’s a war going on?
That’s a question the military has asked the public lately. But this month, that question more narrowly targets 535 people on Capitol Hill.

As Federal Computer Week reported in its news pages last week, Congress recently took a couple of weeks off without passing an emergency supplemental appropriations bill. That forced the Defense Department to sharply cut spending on operations and maintenance. Those cuts are hitting the Army and Marines particularly hard.

The folks on the Hill did not seem in any particular rush to rectify this problem when they returned last week, preferring to spend much of their time dithering about with a constitutional amendment focused on who can marry whom in this country. Meanwhile, funding for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, which addresses the single greatest cause of combat wounds in Iraq, languished in a conference committee on the emergency supplemental bill as members dickered over the amount of pork in the bill.

The Interceptor is sure they all were wearing their flag pins and, if asked, would mouth ardent support for the troops.

Thomas Paine had a few choice words for folks like that.

Army out-politics the politicians
The Army did not risk letting Congress skip town without anyone noticing how dilatory legislators were on passing the supplemental bill.

The service leaked a memo from Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody that details the sharp cuts the service would have to endure to a wide range of contractors, associations and every publication we know of short of Garden Living.

This well-managed, sub rosa public relations campaign shows that, at least inside the Pentagon, the Army is a nimble, lightweight force that — in this bit of combat — ran rings around the Marines.

GIG goes EU By Light
The Interceptor is picking up strong signals that the Defense Information Systems Network Global Information Grid (GIG) now has seven fiber-optic Post Office Protocol (POP) e-mail servers in Europe, with the majority set up by By Light Professional IT Services, a company retired Army three-star Lt. Gen. Bob Donahue leads. It is operating under a task order on the DISN Global Services contract that Science Applications International Corp. holds.

I also hear that in the past year Donahue has been working on a plan to set up fiber-optic e-mail servers in the Middle East for the Central Command, and he is now dusting off that plan because the Centcom J6, Brig. Gen. Susan Lawrence, and the Defense Information Systems Agency are close to cementing plans for wideband fiber-optic networks for Centcom.

I hope DISA Director Lt. Gen. Charles Croom has some time to spare at the AFCEA TechNet International conference later this month to detail the GIG expansion for me.

Maybe we’ll also have time for the bonding the Interceptor missed at the DISA customer conference.

Where’s DATS?

That’s the take from a couple of telecommunications insiders on the status of DISA’s DISN Access Transport Services (DATS) procurement of as many as 5,000 circuits to hook bases and other DOD facilities to the GIG.

DISA kicked off DATS a year ago, but no award is on the horizon. At one time, DATS had an estimated award ceiling of $3 billion.

I’m told DISA has been dragging this out for at least the past three months because the agency awarded AT&T a follow-on contract in March to its DISN contracts, and that vehicle will sufficiently handle any GIG extension circuit buys DISA needs to make in the near future.

The latest AT&T/DISA deal should be enshrined as the Harry Carr Memorial Lifetime DOD Contract. If this doesn’t make sense, your hair has not turned gray yet.

I hope Tony Montemarano, DISA’s director of information assurance/network operations, can shed some light on the status of DATS at AFCEA TechNet once I get done with his boss.

Bye-bye, AHLTA. Hello, FDA?
I’m picking up medium-strength signals that Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs — the man who did away with CHCS-II as the acronym for the DOD electronic health records system and replaced it with AHLTA, which sounds like the name of a Korean subcompact car — has his eyes on a new job: commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Because this is a rumor, don’t ask me what will become of Dr. Mark McClellan, the current FDA commissioner. Maybe he will take over at DOD.

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