Intercepts

DMS Rejoinder

The Intercept last week regarding the "mean time to restore" operations

for the Defense Message System drew some interest from Jerry Bennis, DMS

program manager at the Defense Information Systems Agency. The Army was

concerned about the contract's 26-hour turnaround time for DMS trouble calls

and requested that the contract be changed to reduce the time to two, four

or eight hours.

However, the Army's a little confused, according to Bennis, who said

even two, four or eight hours is too long for a mission-critical system,

calling that kind of metric "not usable...as far as fault tolerance is concerned."

The goal for the DMS program, which the Navy and Air Force have already

bought into, is to have "N+1 clustered servers" in place so that when one

server goes down, the others pick up the services and the user never sees

a problem, Bennis said. "We never found a single instance where we've had

more than one server fail at a time," he said. "What you need really is

nonstop availability."

LogMod Squad

My St. Louis mobile receive station picked up strong signals last week

that 206 out of 209 former Army Logistics Systems Support Center employees

have completed the transition from government employees to Computer Sciences

Corp. bandits. If my math is correct, then that's about 98.6 percent. Not

bad for an employment package that just a few months ago some reported

was "riddled with errors."

The Door is Always Open

The revolving door between the government and industry has for a long

time been turning in one direction — toward industry. However, the door

received a jarring kick in the opposite direction this month when NSA Director

Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden nominated Science Applications International Corp.'s

William Black Jr. to be the agency's next deputy director (see story, Page

55).

Black had retired from the agency in 1997 and later started a new career

in the high-tech industry with SAIC. When I asked one of my intelligence-community

observers what this appointment might mean for the still-frosty Cold War-era

agency, he said he didn't have a clue, "other than that this illustrates

the fundamental truth that, sooner or later, everybody works for SAIC for

a while."

Army Gets J-6 Post

My E-ring listening post has picked up strong signals that Army Maj.

Gen. Joseph Kellogg Jr. has been given another star (making him a Lt. Gen.)

and handed the assignment of director of command, control, communications

and computer systems, J-6, at the Pentagon. Kellogg is currently serving

as the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations and plans for the

Army. I smell a new joint service communications "vision" or, better yet,

"transformation" on the way.

High-Tech Olympians

Low-level signals emanating from deep within the Defense Department's

information security community indicate that some longtime readers of Intercepts

considered my rundown in the July 10 issue of Special Agent Jim Christy's

team- building exercises as a "slam" against what many understand to be

a worthwhile, funded-on-a-shoestring program.

Fortunately, I've been told that Art Money, assistant secretary of Defense

for command, control, communications and intelligence, understands the light-hearted

nature of this column and the value of entertaining, team-building exercises

such as Christy's "Sneaker-net Relay."

Haven't we all found ourselves at one point or another running down

the hall with a floppy disk on our forehead?

Intercept something? Send it to the Interceptor at antenna@fcw.com.

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