Army passing on Notes
- By George I. Seffers
- Jan 01, 1990
The Army is preparing to announce that it will use Microsoft Corp. messaging
software rather than Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes to pass tactical messages
with the Army Battle Command System (ABCS), according to industry and Army
The switch will allow the Army to keep the Unix hardware it has invested
in and will limit the impact on warfighters who transition from peacetime
to wartime messaging operations, according to Microsoft.
ABCS has been based on secure messaging software from Lotus running
on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris, a Unix operating system. The Army had
cited security as the chief reason it did not select Microsoft's Exchange
and the Windows NT operating system.
But on Aug. 14, industry demonstrated how a Nexor Inc. product called
Defender for Motif can enable a Unix workstation to serve as a client to
The Army now is preparing to switch to Defender and Microsoft Exchange,
according to Army and industry sources. The Nexor product has the look and
feel of Outlook, so agencies will not need to retrain their personnel.
Microsoft officials said they hope the technology will be adopted for
the Global Command and Control System, the Global Combat Support System
and the Defense Message System.
ABCS workstations are at the core of the Army's Force XXI initiative,
which aims to use commercial networks, computers and other technologies
in the battlefield. It will provide soldiers with information about troop
location and strength, logistics support and other command and control data.
ABCS has three major components: the Army Global Command and Control
System, the Army Tactical Command and Control System, and the Force XXI
Battle Command, Brigade-and-Below system. It is the integration of command
and control systems found at all echelons and of battlespace automation
systems and communications that link strategic and tactical headquarters.
Working under a $50,000 contract, Microsoft and Nexor in a relatively
short time accomplished what the Army so far had been unable to achieve
after two years and millions of dollars, according to Microsoft officials.
"In 45 days we were able to provide all the functionality, and we successfully
demonstrated that to the [program executive office for command, control,
communications and surveillance]," said Tim Dioquino, DMS product manager
at Microsoft's federal division.
A Lotus spokeswoman said Friday that the company was unaware of any
Army decision on this matter.