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"Troubleshooter" to clean up army software mess

Jens Alder, a former chief executive of telecommunications giant Swisscom, has been assigned by the defence ministry to overhaul the army's jumbled computer network.

Alder will head a task force that will identify problems within the military's hardware and software systems.

Defence Minister Ueli Maurer announced the appointment on Monday. A spokesman called Alder an "experienced troubleshooter".

The group will begin its work at the beginning of 2010.

In April Maurer received a report identifying management and training problems among the military's information technology workers.

Some 500 different computer programmes, most of which are incompatible, have been purchased over the past few years, Maurer said in an interview published on Sunday.

The most glaring problem is a new IT system for directing terrestrial forces (SIC FT), purchased in 2006 and 2007 at a total cost of more than SFr700 million ($694 million).

The network allows military leaders to direct battles remotely on screen but is not expected to be operational until 2015 by which time the software may be obsolete. and agencies


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