Harvey, Justice, Gmail and Individual Ready Reserves.

Harvey out of limbo?

Francis Harvey may soon become the Defense Department's chief information officer.

DOD and congressional leaders reached a deal to remove the hold on his nomination, according to an official in the department's CIO office.

The Bush administration nominated Harvey to replace John Stenbit last November. The former Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Carlyle Group LLC executive testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, and the committee approved his nomination in February.

But Harvey and nine other DOD nominations were delayed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who tried to get the department and the Air Force to release documents related to the multibillion-dollar aircraft tanker deal with Boeing Co.

With movement on Harvey's nomination, what about the other nine?

Justice served

Army Col. Nick Justice will be promoted to one-star general and help manage the service's warfighting information technology program office, according to service and industry officials.

Justice managed the installation and training of the Blue Force Tracking system for U.S. and coalition forces before last year's invasion of Iraq. He confirmed the job change but not the promotion to brigadier general. However, industry officials did.

Army officials decided last month to streamline acquisition management by naming one leader for the Communications-Electronics Command and the Program Executive Office-Command, Control and Communications Tactical. With two jobs, Maj. Gen. Mike Mazzucchi requested that Justice be sent to help him out.

Gmail for GIs

Google didn't become one of the top Internet companies in the world by resting on its laurels. Now, officials at the latest darling of Wall Street aren't letting the $2.7 billion initial public offering go to their heads.

They recently announced the impending launch of Gmail, an e-mail service that includes up to 1G of free storage space. Although the system is still in its testing phase, advocates of the Google system are petitioning service members in Iraq and Afghanistan to be early guinea pigs.

Sites such as and have recently sprung up offering the service to soldiers in combat zones, whose only method of communication with people at home is e-mail.

Many traditional e-mail programs have limitations on the number of stored messages and the size of attachments. The father of a newborn might be forced to delete digital photos of his new child to make room for the next batch of family photos.

Gmail's 1G of storage capacity is more than most other services, alleviating this potential problem.

Google officials are still working out the kinks of a massively searchable e-mail database, but we encourage any efforts being made to provide the best services to our troops overseas.

Back in my day ...

DOD officials announced last week they would activate as many as 5,600 of their Individual Ready Reserve troops for the Army beginning this week. IRRs are soldiers who have finished the active-duty portion of an enlistment but still have obligated service time.

Most soldiers sign an eight-year obligation when they enlist but are only required to serve four. For the remainder of the time, they are the country's on-call Army. So now, for the first time in more than a dozen years, the Army is tapping its reserves to fill out needed positions such as automated logistical specialists, administrative assistants, combat engineers, cable system installers and maintenance specialists.

Fortunately, Army officials have said the service will "not deploy any soldier who is not trained and not ready."

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