Intercepts

DISA HQ loves its AC
The folks at the Defense Information Systems Agency’s headquarters on Courthouse Road in Arlington, Va., faced the prospect of sweltering through the summer months without air conditioning because of language in the fiscal 2007 Defense Authorization bill passed last month.

That language threatened to cut operations and maintenance funding for DISA HQ until the Defense Department submitted a report to Congress on its strategy for acquiring commercial satellite communications, as required in the fiscal 2006 authorization bill. Faced with the prospect of sweating through the months of July and August in the dark, DISA and the Office of the Secretary of Defense managed to produce the report — detailed below — before it got any hotter.

Big bucks for the little guys
DOD’s satcom report, which made its way to Intercepts Central, shows that DOD spent slightly more than $300 million on commercial bandwidth in 2005. About 80 percent of that bandwidth supported operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The report also states that $183 million, or 61 percent, of that commercial satcom business came through DISA’s Defense Information System Network Satellite Transmission Service-Global (DSTS-G) contract. Three companies hold that contract: Artel and Arrowhead Space and Telecommunications are small, disadvantaged businesses, and Spacelink International is a small business.

Despite their classification as small — one wonders how three companies that split $183 million in revenue in one year can continue to wear the small moniker — those companies delivered big savings, the satcom report states.

Transponder equivalent (TPE) orders made under the contract averaged $1.8 million in 2005, while the cost of TPE orders placed outside DISA’s contract averaged $2.06 million, resulting in a savings of $68 million for TPEs bought under the DISA contract, according to the report.

The report states that DOD does not need a new satcom contract “because the DSTS-G contract vehicle clearly leverages DOD purchasing power.”

I imagine many folks in commercial satcom land will be less than thrilled. Feel free to e-mail or call me for counseling.

Big bucks for the big guys
The Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS) might issue its $10 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Hardware procurement for servers, storage devices and networking gear this week, according to a conversation one of my colleagues had with Kevin Carroll, the Army’s IT acquisition kahuna, at Army IT Day last week.

That contract will send every company that peddles their gadgets and gizmos to DOD into a bid-preparation frenzy. It will be interesting to see how many of them submit bids below the cost of the hardware.

Marine smarts finally recognized
Those of us of have had the privilege to wear the eagle, globe and anchor — earned, not awarded — know we’re really smart, despite what folks in the other services have to say about the intelligence of Marines.

So it was gratifying to see that Congress has enshrined an acknowledgment of Marine smarts in the fiscal 2007 Defense Authorization bill. That legislation includes a statement that an active-duty or retired Marine officer — colonel or above — can now serve as president of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. That institution has produced some of the best and brightest in IT and in command, control and communications, including retired admirals Jerry Tuttle and the legendary Arthur Cebrowski.

That could be a good slot for Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, who will soon retire as director of command, control, communications and computer systems for the Joint Staff. But he may have to wait because retired Vice Adm. Pat Tracey is slated to take the reins at NPS this summer from Rear Adm. Richard Wells, who finished his second stint as NPS president earlier this month.

Tracey retired in 2004 as the senior ranking woman in the Navy after serving as director of the Navy staff and as a senior consultant to DOD on the Quadrennial Defense Review. She is a native of the Bronx and an NPS grad, proving that people from the Bronx are smart, too. Like Marines, folks from the Bronx have a rough time.

Wells will return to the University of North Texas at Denton, where he is Mayborn Professor of Journalism. Maybe he would like to invite the Interceptor to teach a class.

Electronic DD214s?
Lawmakers think veterans should receive electronic copies of their military service and medical records, so the fiscal 2007 Defense Authorization bill directs DOD to conduct a feasibility study.

Congress said DOD should consider giving vets copies of their records on a computer disk or similar medium, which sounds like a good idea, especially for folks like the Interceptor, who keeps losing his DD214 discharge papers.

But in light of how much personal data on vets and active-duty military personnel has been lost or stolen in the past couple of months, this might be an idea that’s ahead of its time, even though Congress stressed that DOD must include record privacy as an essential part of its study.

I think I’ll stick with paper records for a while longer.

Intercept something? Send it to bbrewin@fcw.com.

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