Intercepts

Summertime Blues

With the deadlines for the Quadrennial Defense Review and the various transformation studies all getting pushed up to early this month, one chief information office now has a hefty workload.

Marine Corps CIO staff members have had to work at a "surge ops tempo" pace—known to civilians as working evenings and weekends—during the last few weeks, according to one CIO official.

In addition to the QDR and budget work, Brig. Gen. Robert Shea, the Corps' CIO, is anxious to complete the several-times-drafted Information Technology Battle Plan, which lays out the challenges for the next several years at the CIO shop, according to the official.

Admitting Defeat is OK

Robert Lieberman, acting Defense Department inspector general, hopes supporters of outsourcing programs such as the Navy Marine Corps Intranet and the National Security Agency's Project Groundbreaker don't "succumb to the tendency to declare everything a success in the front end and close our eyes" to everything else.

"Some of these are gonna work better than others" because of their scope and level of innovation, he said. "I hope we have an organized, systematic way of culling the lessons learned" and avoid reverting to "self-congratulatory mode."

That's easy for Lieberman to say, but harder for the military brass to do. Many Marine Corps and Navy officials, for example, seem wary of speaking candidly about NMCI because of the possible political fallout that could occur on Capitol Hill and within their services. The rivalry between military services also makes it difficult for some officials to admit when a program they've sponsored isn't going as well as they'd like.

Zig and Zag on DJAS

The Capitol Hill-mandated analysis of alternatives to the Defense Joint Accounting System (DJAS) is dragging on. "Everyone's working hard" at Fort Benning, Ga., the testing site, and at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) in Orlando, Fla., said Audrey Davis, DFAS CIO.

System architects are looking at a Web-based architecture for DJAS, Davis said. They're also deciding how they'd use DOD's public-key infrastructure and how—if at all—they'd use the current DJAS system's electronic signature capabilities.

"Even if you install it remotely, you still have the training cost," Davis said. "I don't know any way of [limiting the rollout cost] short of limiting the number of machines you deploy it with."

"It's zigged and zagged so many times," DOD's Lieberman said of DJAS. He called the timing of the analysis of alternatives "not very predictable."

DFAS officials had hoped for a full production rollout decision for DJAS in the Army and DFAS by summer's end.

Fair Winds

Joe Kelly retired June 28 after 37 years of service as a Navy civilian computer specialist. He worked in the same Washington Navy Yard building throughout his career, except for a brief period, and finished as a Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston, GS-14 employee.

Kelly first worked with mainframe computer systems and then with minicomputers. About 25 years ago, he began focusing on developing messaging systems for the service.

A few days before he retired, Kelly told the Interceptor about the pride he would feel on visiting naval communications centers and seeing the messaging software he helped develop being used.

NMCI officials wouldn't speculate on what the Navy's outsourcing of its IT in.frastructure through NMCI would mean for Kelly's civilian successors. Marsha Hassell, a Spawar spokeswoman, said Kelly was doing inherently governmental work that the Navy won't outsource.

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