DOD Briefing Book

Forget all the hype about ubiquitous data networks and computer imagery used for
Operation Joint Endeavor. According to Army Col. Kenneth Allard, who recently returned
from the Balkans, "most U.S. soldiers are still using [paper] maps under combat
acetate."


Allard, a senior military fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, said
network interoperability problems have bedeviled the troops. "The real heroes in
Bosnia are the soldiers who have figured out work-arounds" to the system snags, he
said.


Allard also said military information networks still are largely a dream for mobile
units. "When the Humvee rolls out the front gate [of a base], there's no more
data," he said.


Netscape Communications Corp. has extended volume discounts on a Defense Information
Systems Agency purchase agreement for Navigator 2.0 through the end of the fiscal year,
which comes in just a few days.


The original deal, under which DISA bought 180,000 licenses for about $18 a copy, was
set to expire in July. But the Mountain View, Calif., company opted to offer the low price
through Sept. 30 to other military customers willing to order at least 5,000 copies.


Donna Leigh, chief of software engineering environments for DISA, is said to be
consolidating orders from some 20 organizations that met the big-order qualification. If
your organization wants to get on the final buying spree, contact her at 703-681-2342.


Lt. Gen. Albert Edmonds has a message for IRM folks at the intelligence agencies.
"I've spent the last couple of years fighting with the intel community, because they
don't want me to take over their systems," the DISA director said at the recent DOD
Database Colloquium in San Diego. "But I don't want to take over their systems, I
just want their data!"


Edmonds then made a pitch for DISA's Common Operating Environment, which would permit
data exchange across platforms while letting users keep unique front-end applications.


At the same event, Edmonds gave a tantalizing preview of bulk savings expected under
the Defense Information Systems Network, which has two contracts awarded and two in the
offing. One of those buys still to be awarded is the Transmission Services contract.


Edmonds said the price proposals for the $5 billion transmission portion of DISN
"are coming in 40 to 60 percent lower than our current transmission costs."
AT&T Corp., Sprint Corp. and MCI Communications Corp. are bidding on that contract,
which DISA plans to award this winter.


Capers Jones, the software metrics guru, calculates the Defense Department will need
1.9 million person-months to fix and test year code to handle dates in the year 2000. Air
Force officials at the San Diego database conference estimated their share of the problem
will cost $572 million.



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