Intercepts

Cha-Ching; Right in the C4 kisser; Mail 'filtering'; Weird Science

Cha-Ching

People have not used their government charge cards carefully, and the Defense Department is cracking down. DOD officials are preparing to issue new rules for managing purchase cards, the government-issued charge cards that got two Navy sites in hot water this year.

DOD officials will meet with lawmakers soon to present the new structure for managing the hundreds of thousands of purchase cards across the department.

The new rules follow Congress' tongue lashing about purchase and travel card waste, fraud and abuse.

During a breakfast with industry officials last month, Deidre Lee, director of Defense procurement, suggested that DOD employees need to watch what they buy. Breast implants probably do not qualify as "official government business," she said.

Expect word on the new purchase card policy soon.

Right in the C4-Kisser

An office established last fall in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has added a key word to the traditional research area of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR): kill.

Richard Wishner, director of DARPA's Information Exploitation Office (IXO), said his office is charged with developing technologies to find, precisely identify, track and kill targets, and recently coined the phrase C4KISR (pronounced C4-Kisser) as its mantra, he said.

Wishner said the IXO's goal is to provide warfighters with as much information as possible — as quickly as possible — to accurately assess a situation and, when necessary, kill the enemy. The office plans to provide the data through a web of affordable ISR sensors, which should reduce the lag time between the current steps of find, fix, track, target, engage and assess.

"We want to have a sensor in the enemy's face," unless they're in "deep hide," Wishner said during his presentation at last month's International Quality and Productivity Center's Network Centric Warfare 2002 conference.

E-Mail 'Filtering'

As DOD continues its attempt to give every employee a smart card with an embedded digital signature to provide identification and access to buildings, networks and applications, one general is putting his foot down.

A four-star Army general has said he will no longer accept e-mails that do not have a digital signature attached, according to Robert Lentz, director of DOD's information assurance directorate, speaking last month at the E-Security and Homeland Defense conference.

That's a commendable decision, Lentz said — except for the fact that the current figure of 600,000 deployed smart cards is a far cry from the goal of 3 million. And that does not even take into account all of the civilian agencies that are still struggling to implement a public-key infrastructure, he said. That's one way to reduce messages in the inbox.

Weird Science

Nothing like one of those moments that causes you to reassess what you have done with your life. The Washington, D.C., chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association last week officially announced its science fair winners.

One could only be left completely intimidated by the 12 projects that were awarded. Kelly McGuighan of Maryland's Montgomery Blair High School, for example, was recognized for the project "An Analysis of the Implementation of a Generic Algorithm on a Quantum Computer."

Most in the audience were left muttering about how their high school days fell short of these students' education.

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

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