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What's Brewin: DISA Director Front-Runners

I'm picking up strong signals that the Defense Department has narrowed its search for the new Defense Information Systems Agency director to two equally strong candidates -- one from the Army and the other from the Air Force.

Comment on this article in The Forum.Defense is scrambling to come up with a candidate for the DISA job and get it to the Senate quickly before the long summer recess. Last month the Senate declined to confirm Rear Adm. Elizabeth Hight, currently DISA's vice director, due to a perceived conflict of interest involving her husband, a Northrop Grumman vice president.

The Army candidate, Maj. Gen. Carroll Pollett, currently serves as chief of staff for Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He previously did a tour as operations director at DISA. That means he already knows all the shortcuts to the agency's headquarters on Courthouse Road in Arlington, Va.

A career signal officer, Pollett also has been commanding general of the Network Enterprise Technology Command's 9th Signal Command at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and headed the Army's 5th Signal Command in Germany. Both of those posts are viewed as steppingstones for either the DISA job or the position of Army chief information officer.

The Air Force candidate, Maj. Gen. William Lord, currently serves as commander of the service's Cyberspace Command. Before that, he was Air Force CIO and director of cyberspace transformation and strategy.

I'm told that Pollett is the likely choice for the job for a number of reasons. They include an informal policy to rotate the job among the services. Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, DISA director for the past three years, wore Air Force blue, which would rule out Lord for the job under the rotation principle.

I'm also told the Air Force is reluctant to give up Lord for the DISA job because it views Cyberspace Command as critical to waging a new form of warfare. It wants to take the lead in the cyber world, ahead of all the other services.

Remember this is based on speculation and well-informed rumor, so I could be wrong.

Croom as Consultant?

Croom probably has a raft of job offers from industry, but a rumor that just won't go away is that he is seriously eyeing a job with Suss Consulting Inc., whose focus is on federal networks and IT systems.

Warren Suss, head of the firm, told me he would be honored to have Croom work for him, "but there are hundreds of other companies that would like to have Gen. Croom work for them. As far as I know, he hasn't made any decisions yet."

Croom told me he has not received a job offer from Suss. Maybe Suss should make an offer and see what happens.

STRATCOM Really Needs a New HQ

You would think that with a Defense budget edging close to the $500 billion mark, the country could afford to provide Strategic Command, which controls the United States' nuclear arsenal, with a functional headquarters.

But, unfortunately that's not so, according to a committee report on the Senate version of the fiscal 2009 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, which passed on July 22.

That report says the STRATCOM HQ "is in a severe state of disrepair. Electric service and cooling system failures, as well as flooding and fires, have severely impacted STRATCOM's ability to carry out its mission." (Come to think about it, maybe this is a reason Pollett might like to leave STRATCOM for DISA).

The Senate Appropriations Committee added $10 million for a new STRATCOM HQ to Air Force budget. In the meantime it appears the command also could use some bucks to make needed repairs.

How about siphoning off some money from the over budget and long-delayed Capitol Visitors Center, a $621 million project that also includes new offices (presumably with working cooling systems) for members of Congress -- who always manage to take care of themselves.

Lest We Forget....

Col. Brian Allgood of the Army's 30th Medical Brigade died in a helicopter crash in Iraq on Jan. 20, 2007, while on a mission to provide care to Iraqi civilians.

On June 30, 2008, the Army honored this dedicated doctor and soldier by renaming its 121st Combat Support Hospital in Yongsan, South Korea, the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital.

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