[ISN] DISA backs wireless net

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Nov 01 2001 - 02:08:16 PST

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    By Dan Caterinicchia 
    Oct. 31, 2001
    The Defense Information Systems Agency is on board with plans to help
    create a wireless priority system for the government's short- and
    long-term communications needs, according to the agency's chief.
    The Wireless Priority Access Service is a "national priority" and is
    being funded outside the Defense Department to aid emergency response
    efforts in selected cities, said DISA director Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege,
    In addition, a longer-term program to create a nationwide system is
    still being worked out, but Raduege said he recently sent letters to
    the chief executive officers of 13 companies requesting ideas on how
    to do it. Those responses are now coming in.
    The National Communications System, the Government Emergency
    Telecommunications Service, mobile satellite services and a secure
    video teleconferencing system were among the systems that faced
    unprecedented demand after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Raduege
    said, adding that all met the challenge.
    Also effective was the Wireless Emergency Response Team, which helped
    guide rescuers to potential victims trapped in the World Trade Center
    rubble by locating and calling cellular phone numbers of the missing,
    Raduege said. He was speaking Oct. 30 at the MILCOM conference in
    Vienna, Va.
    However, wireless phone connectivity, especially in New York City and
    Washington, D.C., was unreliable after the tragedies and a new
    wireless priority system now under development aims to avoid that in
    the future.
    Raduege said DISA's efforts to keep government and other emergency
    response personnel connected after the attacks was aided by a
    transformation process that was set in motion before Sept. 11.
    After joining DISA 18 months ago, Raduege designated six, new
    principle directorates comprising the Defense Department's Global
    Information Grid. Each focused on a different area of connectivity.
    The six directorates are: the foundation, which focuses on
    interoperability; communications, or network services; computing,
    which includes hardware, software, Web access and others; global
    applications engineering; network operations; and customer advocacy.
    As further evidence of the success of the program, Raduege noted that
    in 1990, DOD used 10,000 employees to manage 194 computing centers at
    a cost of about $1 billion. Currently, 1,300 employees manage six
    sites at a cost of about $348 million.
    That equates to 87 percent fewer employees managing 97 percent fewer
    systems at 66 percent lower cost, "while the workload has increased 60
    percent," he said.
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