New command. To speed technology into the hands of soldiers, the Army has established the Research, Development and Engineering Command, a new subordinate organization within the Army Materiel Command.

The service created a makeshift version in October. Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, commander of the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command, is leading a transition team to set up the new group.

The command's charge is to integrate and demonstrate emerging technologies for rapidly fielding equipment to soldiers. 'As we move into the future, the Army's goal is to field a system of systems rather than to field an Army of individual things,' Doesburg said.

The command will merge the Army Research Laboratory; part of the Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command; the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity; and each of the Materiel Command's four research, development and engineering centers.

Right now, the command has groups working at the Edgewood Chembio Center, Army Research Lab and Systems Analysis Agency located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and at the Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass. By October, the Army will decide on a location for the new command's headquarters, Doesburg said.

Keeping in touch. The Air Force needs help with managing systems, developing wireless standards and securing networks, its chief of communications operations told a group of Defense Department vendors recently.

Brig. Gen. Bernard K. Skoch, speaking in February at the TeleStrategies conference in Vienna, Va., outlined 18 initiatives under command, control, communications, and computers in which the service needs industry guidance. Some of the programs are current; others are planned for fiscal years 2005 through 2007, Skoch said.

The Air Force has had a tough time managing many of its IT systems that transmit data and command messages with other C4 systems via a tactical data link, Skoch said. The Air Force also needs help managing and developing a series of enterprise information management initiatives.

'How can you help us take this over?' Skoch asked. 'We put tactical communications systems forward. We put them there and we do what we need to do, [but] we don't do a good job of managing information all the time. We need to know how to manage our enterprise information.'

Testing, testing. The National Security Agency has signed a five-year contract with the International Systems Security Consortium of Framingham, Mass., to develop and administer a new test for information security professionals interested in working for NSA as employees or contractors.

The Information Systems Security Engineering Professional certification is an extension to the Certified Information Systems Security Professional credential. People working in information security for at least four years, who already hold a CISSP credential, will be eligible to take the ISSEP exam. Lynn McNulty, government affairs director for the nonprofit consortium, said the exam will test for higher-level information security knowledge.

Reserve IT. The National Guard Bureau awarded a $115 million competitive task order to SRA International Inc. of Arlington, Va., last month to provide a wide range of IT products and services to the bureau's CIO and Army Reserve unit.

SRA will maintain the Reserve Component Automation System, an integrated database for mobilization planning and administration of Army Reserve forces. The company will also field and support the Distributive Training Technology Project, a communications system linked via a terrestrial network and satellites that allows Guard and Reserve personnel to study foreign languages and to improve reading, writing, critical thinking and IT skills.


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