02 Dec 04. U.S. Air Force officials will consolidate three information technology offices, a move they say will ensure that current and future IT projects are integrated into the service’s warfighting operations.
Officials announced last week that the service would create a new Directorate of Networks and Warfighting Integration by consolidating the offices of Communications Operations; the Chief Information Officer, led by John Gilligan; and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration, led by Lt. Gen. Tom Hobbins.
16 Dec 04. Halliburton is cutting jobs and slashing employee benefits at its Kellogg Brown & Root arm as a possible precursor to a sale. The cutbacks come as the subsidiary admitted in a letter to staff that KBR had lost “several major bids” in the Europe/Africa region worth more than $1bn in the past two years and that “competitors are significantly outperforming KBR”. However, KBR could face legal problems in its efforts to cut costs at its UK division, which employs 3,000 people. KBR has told them that, if they decline to accept new employment contracts, they will have their employment terminated but will not be entitled to redundancy payments. The proposals are part of a plan to cut $80m-$100m from KBR’s annual operating expenses. The company is struggling under the weight of asbestos-related charges, unprofitable contracts and complaints about its work for the US government in Iraq and Kuwait. Halliburton last year placed parts of US-based KBR operations in pre-packaged bankruptcy as part of a plan to deal with the asbestos litigation inherited from the 1998 acquisition of Dresser Industries. KBR has since been restructured into two divisions: energy and chemicals; and government and infrastructure. (Source: FT)
17 Dec 04. The United Nations European headquarters, where a listening device was discovered in a ministerial meeting room, is probably rife with secret spying equipment, a U.N. security source said on Friday. “It’s like Swiss cheese,” a U.N. security source told Reuters, referring to the Swiss Emmenthal cheese which contains holes. “If we had the technnical means and staff for thorough searches, I’m certain that we would find one microphone after another. The U.N. in New York and Vienna are the same,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. Marie Heuze, chief U.N. spokeswoman in Geneva, on Thursday confirmed the report by Swiss Television which said workmen had found a sophisticated bugging device during recent renovation of a room called the Salon Francais at the Palais des Nations. But a U.N. inquiry had not established who planted the bugging device or when, she said. The television said the device was found stashed behind wooden panels in the elegant room, known for its 1930s French art deco furniture, but Heuze declined to give further details. Patrick Daniel Eugster, a Geneva-based security expert shown photos of the device, told the television the system appeared to be of Russian or East European origin. Its size indicated it was three or four years old, before such circuits were miniaturized, he said. “It is very sophisticated piece of listening equipment,” he added.
20 Dec 04. The U.S. Department of Defense recently modified its ethics regulation to ensure DoD personnel, when leaving federal service, do not inadvertently violate federal “revolving door” statutes. In a memorandum dated Oct 25, 2004, Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz directed three changes to the departmental ethics regulation, DoD Directive 5500.7-R. The first change requires senior personnel, including admirals,generals, and senior civilian officials, to certify annually that they are aware of the requirements of three statutes, and have not violated them. The three statutes bar conflicts of interests by procurement officials, all federal employees when negotiating for employment, and all federal employees after they leave the department. The second change mandates that information on these