Security: More than just technology

Monday, 17 November 2003, 6:57 AM EST

I was handed the classified message as I returned to my desk in the squadron command office at the naval station in Mayport, Fla., on a summer day something over 20 years ago. The computerized ship scheduling system I’d developed was approved by the powers that be, which meant that I could load it with actual data. We could now be a lot more efficient in planning the movements of the frigates in our squadron and in planning the logistics support for the ships and their crews.

Getting to this point was a challenge because my ultimate boss, a commodore (and eventually an admiral) of remarkable vision, Michael Kalleres, had decided to entrust the first ship scheduling system ever to run on a small computer (this was pre-IBM-PC) to a young naval officer: me.

It was enough of a task to create the scheduling system, but because Navy warship schedules are classified information, the computer upon which they ran and the physical environment into which the computer was placed had to be approved at the highest levels. No one had ever done this for one of those small “microcomputers” until now.

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