Briefing Book

Briefing Book

Expeditionary force. The Air Force Information Technology Conference, which starts today in Montgomery, Ala., focuses this year on expeditionary air forces.

The demand for three blanket purchasing agreements for ruggedized portable PCs that Standard Systems Group awarded in April reflects the expeditionary and mobile nature of today's Air Force, said Robert Frye, SSG's executive director.

Microsoft president Steve Ballmer is scheduled as a speaker. He spoke at the conference two years ago.

Pick up the pace. Vice Adm. Robert J. Natter, the Navy's director of space, information warfare, command and control, likes to boast about his micromanagement of year 2000 readiness projects that are lagging behind schedule.

'I'm micromanaging the hell out of them,'' he said of mission-critical systems that are being fielded next month or later. 'I can tell you the [program manager] for each one and why they're late. Some have good reasons and some don't.'' The ones with poor excuses obtained additional funding and were told to accelerate their schedules, Natter said.

As of Aug. 11, the Navy maintained 592 mission-critical systems, with 30 systems left to be fielded with year 2000 date code fixes, said Natter, who becomes the deputy chief of naval operations for operations and plans tomorrow.

Palm envy. Secretary of Defense William Cohen and his chief of staff, Bob Tyrer, use the PalmPilot VII from 3Com Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., because of its wireless e-mail capabilities, said Defense Department spokeswoman Susan Hansen.

Hansen could not verify a rumor that Cohen was using a PalmPilot with Palm OS 5.x when he met a Japanese official who was using a PalmPilot VII. Perhaps struck by what users call Palm envy, Cohen reportedly decided to use a PalmPilot with Palm OS 7.0, which was not commercially available in the Washington area at the time.

Nearly ready. Army Communications-Electronics Command officials are saying 99 percent of their mission-critical systems are year 2000-ready. Army officials have given CECOM the responsibility of year 2000 evaluation testing for the service's mission-critical systems.

The Army has 410 research, development and acquisition systems, including battlefield automated systems, and 95 percent of the systems have been fixed and validated, according to a CECOM statement.

The remaining categories'infrastructure, logistics, and installation and garrison'are on schedule for completion by Oct. 30.

'Bill Murray

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