Journal: Pigion Beats Broadband, DNI Blows $20B

Commerce, Government, Reform, Technologies

With a tip of the hat to MILNET, these two stories go so very well together, they had to be combined her.

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Telkom says it cannot be blamed for slow broadband services at a Durban-based company which claims a pigeon can carry its data bundles faster.  . . . . . . .  In total it took two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds for Winston the pigeon to fly to Hillcrest and to upload the data from the card on to the call centre system.  By that time, the ADSL transmission of the same data size was about 4% complete.

Exquisite spy satellite

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Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair met with key senators Tuesday to discuss funding plans for an expensive new satellite system that will provide high resolution spy photographs and images, according to administration and congressional officials.  . . . . . . . The new system was announced in April and was not bid competitively, according to defense sources. Instead, they said, the contract was sole-sourced to Lockheed Martin, which has a long history of producing spy satellites. . . . . . . . The contract for the new intelligence satellites will cost taxpayers about $20 billion, making it one of the most expensive systems produced for both the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community, according to the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Phi Beta Iota:The DNI is trapped in a closed system and unable to muster the “alternative view” needed to crush the box–for $20B we could fund the Open Source Agency for ten years, including $600M a year for commercial imagery, and in the process help the President find $500B a year in new revenue and cust $250B a year in waste.  The U.S. Government is BROKEN.

Note that Gertz writes about Lockheed producing satellites.  They have real difficulty getting them off the launch pad, and $100M errors by Lockheed are too common to allow a no-bid contract–these are the same folks that built half of a system using metrics and the other half using inches.  By the time they are done, this will end up costing $30B or more.

It is virtually certain that the DNI has not provided for the processing of all of the information that is ostensibly going to be collected by this “exquisite” satellite, and that the US IC still has no global grid architecture for near-real-time processing and visualization at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.

US IC is desperately in need of a deep intrusive accounting review from the General Accountability Office (GAO).  This is a very bad decision, and while understandable in context, it should not be allowed to stand.  Although much more costly decisisons are being made all around us, the restoration of integrity and sanity has to start somewhere, we are partial to having it start within the profession of intelligence.