GIG: Coming to a Base Near You

The Defense Department is finalizing plans on how it will connect every base to the Global Information Grid, according to Priscilla Guthrie, DOD's deputy chief information officer.

The GIG Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) is a cornerstone of the vision John Stenbit, DOD's CIO, has for network-centric operations, where data is posted on one network and made available departmentwide.

The ubiquitous, secure optical IP network supporting all information classification levels should be achieved in fiscal 2005 at an initial 90-plus sites and will expand in future years to more than 600 sites on the Defense Information Systems Network.

"The intent is one network," so every installation on DISN must be connected to the grid, Guthrie said, speaking at an Aug. 14 breakfast with industry leaders hosted by Input. "We should have plans any day now for latching up every post, camp and station on DISN to the GIG."

Guthrie said the ultimate net-centric goal of "everyone and everything on the net" requires an increasing reliance on commercial standards. "The intent is to move the department as much as possible" to commercial off-the-shelf items, she said.

The move to commercial products should include information assurance tools, in Guthrie's opinion, but she said there is an ongoing debate raging within DOD about using commercial items to protect communications and data.

There is also a "huge, bureaucratic structural process that needs to be revamped" in order to quickly certify plug-ins deemed ready for use on the network, she said.

Reaching Out for Help

Edward Bukstel, executive vice president at SkyFrames Inc., a provider of secure satellite Internet services, received a strange e-mail message last week.

Bukstel said he normally would have deleted the message because it didn't have a return phone number, but something made him read it: "Sir, we are trying to increase our Internet capabilities here in Iraq. I was looking on the Internet for an alternate means of getting Internet connectivity for our network.

"Currently, we are using the military system, which is slow and unreliable. I am not looking for this for personal use, but for the whole unit, consisting of at least 200 computers. If you have any ideas, please forward them to me."

The e-mail message was sent from an Army sergeant first class stationed in Iraq.

Bukstel replied and informed her that his company could supply the unit with a very small-aperture terminal to support all of their systems. He also began checking with satellite companies for transponder space to provide the required bandwidth.

He also forwarded the message and asked for guidance from senior Army leaders in the Pentagon. He is waiting for their reply.

More Trouble for DMS?

First, it was Sept. 30. Then, Dec. 31. Now, the Defense Message System may not completely replace the Automated Digital Network (Autodin) until early next year.

DOD is struggling to complete the necessary testing on a hybrid solution used to deliver messages for emergency action and nuclear command and control, according to DOD officials.

The emergency action system is undergoing six months of operational testing, which was supposed to start in June and be complete by Dec. 30, but testing actually started earlier this month.

Autodin and DMS emergency action message systems will continue running until the DMS version is approved.

A DOD spokesman said an early assessment report on the test and evaluation period is due after four months. This means that if all goes well, the Joint Staff could forgo the last six weeks of the concurrent operations period and make the decision to shut down Autodin before Dec. 31.

"If things don't go as planned, we may have to keep Autodin open for a longer period of time until the problems are fixed," the spokesman said, adding that Autodin traffic for general service messaging should be terminated by Sept. 30.

In and Out

Among those coming or going: John Poindexter has resigned as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Information Awareness Office, effective Aug. 29.

Poindexter, national security adviser to President Reagan well-known for his part in the infamous Iran-Contra dealings, last week submitted a resignation letter to DARPA Director Anthony Tether.

Lt. Gen. Leslie Kenne, deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration at Air Force headquarters, will retire Sept. 1. Lt. Gen. William Hobbins, commander of the 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., will replace Kenne.

Army Maj. Gen. Marilyn Quagliotti will soon take on the dual role of vice director of DISA and commander of DOD's Joint Task Force-Computer Network Operations. She will replace Army Maj. Gen. J. David Bryan, but the transition date has not been determined. n

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