(Found on Jeff’s blog)
I don’t know what Larry has been smoking, but I want some of that, too:
“It turns out that the first two of our armed services and the Pentagon’s civilian bureaucracy rely upon a German software company called SAP to handle their administrative and logistics functions. All other things being equal, the Air Force may decide to follow suit by month’s end.
As a result, any future military operation against Iran might have to be conducted exclusively by the U.S. Marine Corps. For that service alone has decided to use an American software firm to meet the information management needs associated with things like day-to-day operations, personnel, the location, storage and movement of weapons inventories, financial matters (like bank accounts) and other functions. These may seem prosaic, but they are vital to today’s computer-dependent U.S. armed forces.
Will Germany Approve?
There are, of course, several things wrong with this situation. One is German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder – who, at this writing, may just manage to hold onto, or at least share, power after Sunday’s inconclusive parliamentary elections. Schroeder previously exploited for electoral gain his vehement opposition to the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq. He tried to do so again with respect to Iran in the run up to the recent balloting, declaring: “Let’s take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn’t work.”
Then, there is the problem that the company “distributes SAP solutions” in Iran. In fact, the sort of software it uses to support the U.S. military is available for sale to others with whom the German government has no problem doing business. Such ties could cause the company to be reluctant to help one customer destroy another. Or perhaps insights the Iranians glean from their access to SAP programs could facilitate cyber-warfare aimed at disabling ours.
The Bottom Line
Even if SAP were doing its job for the Pentagon competently – and successive Government Accountability Office reports demonstrate that it is not, it is foolish at best and reckless at worst to have our military dependent upon foreign suppliers for such critical functions. After taking testimony in July about such vulnerabilities, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter promised to hold oversight hearings about the armed services’ seeming unconcern about relying upon possibly unreliable purveyors of vital components, materials and technology. They can’t come too soon.
At the very least, the Marines could use help from the Air Force if it comes to blows with Iran. That may only be possible, however, if someone decides our airmen – unlike their Army and Navy counterparts — should be supported by software that doesn’t give Germany a veto. “
Anyway – if that’s what Oracle has to resort to to win against SAP, I’m not at all worried about my employer.