Monday, January 11, 2010

DC centric warfare

My last few years on active duty were spent, how does one put it, in interesting places doing interesting things.

One of the primary characteristics of my last few years was that more often than not I was very far away from a NIPR machine, NMCI, or other Navy centric IT support.

As a result, I finely honed an already sever dislike of the arcane, narrow focused, rigid and non-operational NCMI and CAC series of hoops we were sold on. The system could work better if it was more flexible and used commercial access options - but its rigidity is almost Soviet in its application.

If you find yourself overseas and are forced to use Army, USAF, or allied systems - you are S.O.L. CAC works great when you are on shore duty in DC, Norfolk or San Diego ..... but be in any slightly different environment and it will take days of waiting and potentially hours sitting through Army CBT just to get access.

Of course, you can laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh, especially when hazing the Reserves.

From one of my USNR spies;
.... most navy websites that require a login now require a CAC for access. On the active duty side, where NMCI machines are readily available, it doesn't pose much of a problem. Us reservists have to rely on the poorly supported CAC readers installed on our personal computers. .... From what I've been able to figure out, the NMCI help desk will spend a few hours with you on the phone, but after that, their solution seems to be "go use an NMCI terminal. We can't fix your home PC."

Anyway, I got a letter in the mail a few weeks ago about a Reserve on-line survey regarding CACs, CAC readers, and problems with them. It contained the standard "we know there are problems...your input is vital...the VADM will see the results...we will address the problems..." You know, the usual.

I've had my share of problems with my CAC and CAC reader in the past, so I decided to fill out the survey.

Got on my computer and typed in the link to the site, only to find out that you need to use your CAC in order to complete the survey about CAC problems.

Reminds me of the Staff I was on in a CONUS backwater in the 90s as computers were just coming into common use. The new Admiral came in and started asking for this and that .... it was fun to watch the "Sir, we don't have enough funding for that .... we can't get that access from here .... that service isn't available here .... " and all the new N00 could say was, "Well, Admiral Soandso in DC can .... it works in Norfolk ....."

Good times .... good times .... of course the Staff was the problem.

Sad thing is - the CAC problem, like the
DTS problem - is well known but won't be fixed. Why? "We don't have that problem in DC. My Flag Writer and Flag Sec take care of that for me. I hear next FY more funding will address .... "

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