A chapter in the saga; What's hot, what's not; Procrastinors, Unite!
A Chapter in the Saga
For the Defense Department's DREN contract, it's like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
When the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) last month awarded the Defense Research and Engineering Network, or DREN, to WorldCom Inc., DISA thought it had avoided the tricky financial issues of the once high-flying but now financially strapped Global Crossing Ltd.
But last week, Bernard Ebbers, WorldCom chief executive officer, resigned amid company woes plummeting stock prices and a mountain of debt.
Meanwhile, three of the four unsuccessful vendors Global Crossing, Sprint and incumbent AT&T have filed protests with the General Accounting Office. Somewhat surprisingly, Qwest Communications International Inc. decided against filing a protest.
The $450 million DREN contract is for a high-speed network for Defense laboratories and researchers across the country.
Stay tuned for another riveting episode of "All My Chil-DREN."
What's Hot, What's Not
During his presentation at last month's Army Small Computer Program's information technology conference in Reno, Nev., Daniel Bradford, director of the Army's Technology Integration Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., listed more than a dozen hot Army technologies. Bradford singled out Gigabit Ethernet networks, as well as the related areas of IP and the World Wide Web, as the most complete solutions for achieving the service's goals.
Videoconferencing, bandwidth availability, directory services and Army knowledge management were among the hot areas that might be on the right track but needed more work, he said, adding that biometric technology also is promising, but is a "gimmick right now more than anything else."
Bradford named only two cold areas: Asynchronous Transfer Mode and policy-based networking. He said those technologies became obsolete with the emergence of sound Gigabit Ethernet networks.
The Army faces a "chicken-and-the-egg question" when it comes to IT modernization because its leaders want to save money on technology in order to bolster the future force, but a large initial investment is needed to make that happen, Bradford said.
What if you created an online discussion and nobody came?
DOD encountered that problem when officials decided to test a new way of eliciting public comment: Post issues online to spur cross-discussion in the hopes of improving proposed government regulations.
The first test was on DOD's proposed rule for implementing Section 803 of the fiscal 2002 Defense Authorization Act.
Deidre Lee, director of Defense procurement, speaking at a public hearing April 29, noted that only 18 comments had been posted. (By the middle of last week, DOD had received 26 comments.)
Traditionally, comments have been posted only after the public comment period closes, and most comments have been filed on the deadline. DOD has been working to educate people about the public comment pilot project.
Obviously, not everybody is used to it.
There may still be time to voice your opinion. Comments close May 6. Go to http://emissary.acq.osd. mil/dar/dfars.nsf and select item No. 2001-D017, titled "Competition Requirement for Purchase of Services Pursuant to Multiple Award Contracts."
With such a user-friendly Web address and subject title, it's hard to believe that it has been difficult to get comments, isn't it?
Intercept something? Send it to email@example.com.
NEXT STORY: Importers sought for ACE test