Interview: J.P. 'Jack' London, CACI's network evangelist

End-to-end net services drive change

A high point in the life of CACI International Inc. chairman and chief executive officer J.P. 'Jack' London was pulling astronaut John Glenn out of the Caribbean Sea on Feb. 20, 1962.

London, whose 12 years as a Navy aviator included duty during the Cuban missile crisis, was on the airborne recovery team for the Mercury astronaut's space capsule. He later, served as assistant to the vice chief of the Navy Materiel Command. He retired from the Navy Reserve as a captain in 1983, having been commander of aeronautical engineering units under the Navy Air Systems Command.

London started at CACI in 1972, managing systems engineering, logistics and information technology programs.

He became president and chief executive officer of the Fairfax, Va., company in 1984 and chairman in 1990. CACI had $441 million in revenue in fiscal 1999.

A graduate of the Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School, London serves on several boards. He has a doctorate in business administration from George Washington University.

GCN chief technology editor Susan M. Menke interviewed him by telephone.

GCN:'CACI International Inc. does a lot of network-related government business. What are your top contracts?

LONDON: We just won two recent follow-on contracts. One is a technical and engineering support contract out of Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., that produced $30 million in revenue over the last few years, and we anticipate it will be about double that rate going forward.

Another recompete was a Navy inventory control and spare-parts management program for the surface fleet. That contract is our third in that area. The jobs are for about $40 million or $50 million in services over three to four years, varying with the dynamics of the Navy's requirements.

In the simulation area, we have a strong legacy line of business. The genesis of the company was in Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, Calif., an Air Force think tank. There was a spin-off in 1962, and the backbone technology was modeling and simulation in a language called Simscript, which was amenable to algorithm development.

Most of the work over the years has been for the Defense Department. The Joint Modeling and Simulation System effort is representative of our work. It's for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

We recently won an Air Force contract called Distributed Mission Training Operations and Implementation. It's a fly-off recompetition contract with Computer Sciences Corp., TRW Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego. These are small'about $1 million'contracts.

What we're doing is an architectural design for a network that will tie together four or five Air Force installations where different kinds of aircraft are headquartered. The idea is to have training simulators at the bases for the aircraft types'fighter, reconnaissance, support and so on.

The Air Force wants to network these simulators together for the pilot trainees to fly integrated missions rather than just training to fly their aircraft up and down. They will fly the simulations literally in a battle formation concept and do their communications training while airborne.

We'll give the Air Force a programmatic plan for a system to do this. The total system capability probably will run $300 million to $500 million. The Air Force objective is to provide a more cost-effective training environment for pilots and crews, rather than have the extraordinary expense of flying the airplanes and the fuel and maintenance.

Our effort combines the assets and capabilities of the entire company, not only in modeling and simulation but also through our telecommunications network services. That's why, as a midtier government information technology services contractor, we were able to be successful as the prime contractor.

We may not be as big as some of those other boys, but we're going to be trying harder. We expect the ultimate award right after the first of the calendar year.

We also recently received a General Services Administration contract, about $250 million in scope, under the Safeguard program for critical information systems protection.

GCN:'What services will you provide to agencies under Safeguard?

LONDON: Essentially network intrusion detection, network and information security assessments, and a whole range of issues that extend beyond firewall devices.

We're talking about policy, strategy, encryption and everything from consulting services to architectural studies to intrusion detection assistance.

We're getting started in Safeguard. We have some work begun, but where this thing is going to go is yet to be determined. It's my understanding that there will be additional contracts awarded to companies in this area.

We also are active in electronic commerce with an $11 million blanket-type award to manage the Commerce Department's procurement process. We're rescoping and repositioning our Standard Automated Contracting Systems legacy capability, which reaches back more than a decade, and we renamed it Comprizon.Buy. We've brought in several executives and are in the midst of internal development.

Comprizon.Buy is a purchasing support system for the buying department in an organization. E-commerce and the ability to communicate globally are opening new vistas in business-to-business transactions. A purchasing department can broadcast its requirements on an electronic bid board, and the vendors can review them and respond or bid in a secure, paperless fashion.

GCN:'This is on the open Internet, not on an extranet?

LONDON: We started off with special networks in earlier days and have migrated to the Internet or an open network environment.

GCN:'Is the security through a user's browser?

LONDON: It would be through the purchasing software. The bidders would just use browsers to find the opportunities.

GCN:'Will this type of ordering system eventually take the place of electronic data interchange?

LONDON: I can't leap to that conclusion. This is a very specific procurement support technology. We have 50 or 60 installations in this area.'At one point, we had worldwide about 275 Army posts and bases installed and multiple users at each site. At present, we have 54 federal sites over EDI and agency networks.

We have another product, QuickBid, that is used by vendors as an interface to Comprizon.Buy and our legacy capability.

GCN:'What about the payment end of e-commerce?

LONDON: This piece does not get into billing and invoicing part of it, just the purchasing, acquisition and fulfillment side. I suspect those are natural areas for us to evolve into.

GCN:'What about your Federal Aviation Administration work?

LONDON: FAA is a client through the Transportation Department because we also provide value-added network services to the Coast Guard. We have a significant contract for the Agency Data Telecommunications Network 2000 program.

It's administrative support systems'just about everything except FAA's air traffic control and operational aspects. We integrate multiple networks and provide information assurance in voice and data transport. We have a network control and management center in Chantilly, Va., and we provide worldwide asset management and resupply for components such as network routers.

GCN:'What's the network control center going to be doing on New Year's Eve?

LONDON: Not much different from its current operations. We've been involved in year 2000 compliance testing and validation for the ADTN 2000 contracts and other customers. We're confident our piece of it is in good shape.

What's More

  • Family: Wife, four children and stepchildren
  • Car: Lexus
  • Last book read: Inside the CIA by Ronald Kessler
  • Leisure activity: President, D.C. Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
  • Motto: 'Take the high road, always give it your best shot, and never look back.''
  • Hero: John Glenn

One thing I've been looking at in terms of 2000 is the cash management'making sure we are getting our bills out accurately and are receiving in our bank account the cash disbursements to make our payroll.

GCN:'CACI does a lot of custom network software development, but your Comnet Predictor WAN monitoring product is one of your few shrink-wrapped packages. How is it doing?

LONDON: It is not a huge, enormous market, so that division is not a large sales part of the company, but we can do analysis, planning project support and network design in support of our services offerings.

At NetWorld+Interop in Atlanta, people were very interested in our new Network Profiler capability. It's a rapid-response analysis tool for network capacity.

The whole paradigm of social and business activity is not in evolution, it's in a revolutionary state.

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