Intercepts

DOD's New GIG

Incorporating the latest lessons learned from military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, John Stenbit, the Defense Department's chief information officer, recently approved Version 2.0 of the Global Information Grid.

GIG is a massive DOD network designed to connect warfighters anywhere in the world. All DOD and national security systems acquisitions must comply with the grid's enterprise-level architecture, said John Osterholz, director of architecture and interoperability in Stenbit's office.

The grid's earlier version looked only at Central Command's operations in southwest Asia and was not a net-centric architecture, Osterholz told the Interceptor. Version 2.0 covers Central Command, Northern Command and Combined Forces Korea and includes continuity of operations, force allocation and a fully net-centric design.

By incorporating lessons from recent conflicts, GIG now supports direct access to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and strategic weapons systems for units in the field, mobile platforms, cooperative use of sensor data and use of tactical units as reporting sensors, he said.

Navy Launching Virtual Office for Russia

At the request of State Department officials stationed in Russia, the Office of Naval Research next month will launch a virtual office where technological experts from both countries can communicate with one another.

"We work closely with the State Department, and there's a strong feeling that [science and technology] are apolitical," Navy Rear Adm. Jay Cohen, chief of naval research, told the Interceptor last week at the Naval-Industry R&D Partnership conference in Washington, D.C. "This is one more tool in the toolbox for interaction with different peoples in different countries."

Cohen said his organization already has physical office locations in Europe, South America and Asia that are increasing international collaboration on everything from unclassified defense topics to health matters.

"With the technological expertise in the former Soviet Union...and the resurgent Russia today, it makes sense to open up those lines of communication," Cohen said. "The reason the office is virtual is because as the initial step it will be [worked] by a liaison out of our London office."

Naval officials will also spend time in Russia, assuming that nation's government approves the visits. A more permanent outpost could be established in the future, Cohen said.

IPv6: Help Wanted

DOD will need all the help it can get from its industry partners over the next few years as it transitions to the next- generation IP, known as IPv6, according to one Navy information technology leader.

Capt. Robert Whitkop, director of FORCEnet at Naval Network Warfare Command, said the major problem with DOD's plan to move to IPv6 by 2008 is that industry isn't yet pushing it. Many people don't understand the need for the new version, even though it brings many improvements, including more available network addresses and better routing and configuration functions.

"DOD is starting its own effort in a lot of ways," Whitkop said last week at the Naval conference. Beginning in October, all networks plugging into GIG must be IPv6 compatible. But DOD must work with industry labs to make the integration and transition go as smoothly as possible, he said.

NSA Fighting for IT Funding Authority

The National Security Agency is fighting a Senate proposal that would put DOD in charge of NSA's multibillion-dollar IT budget.

"NSA is working closely with the House and Senate to address the concerns stated in the Defense Authorization bill as passed by the Senate," said an NSA spokesperson in an e-mail to the Interceptor. "NSA will continue to work together effectively with the Congress; however, NSA opposes section 804 as currently written."

That provision, as originally reported by the Baltimore Sun, puts the undersecretary of Defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics in charge of hundreds of millions of dollars in technology contracts currently managed by NSA. That includes the agency's two biggest IT programs: Trailblazer and Groundbreaker.

Trailblazer is a multi-million-dollar initiative designed to modernize NSA's foreign signals intelligence capabilities across the enterprise. The project, being developed by a team led by Science Applications International Corp., is currently in the "risk-reduction stage, prior to a decision to move into full-scale development," according to the NSA spokesperson.

Groundbreaker is a $2 billion outsourcing contract that was awarded in July 2001 to the Eagle Alliance, an industry team led by Computer Sciences Corp. The program encompasses most of NSA's internal computer systems, including software and support services, telephone services, desktop computing hardware and IT security.

A DOD spokesman said the department would not comment on any specific authorization bill provisions until Congress approves the whole bill.

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