DISA taps Netscape Navigator for DII

Planning to make World Wide Web technology a key component of the Defense Information Infrastructure (DII), the Defense Information Systems Agency last week announced it has purchased 180,000 copies of Netscape Communications Corp.'s Navigator 2.0 browser.

DISA purchased the browsers for $3.3 million through the Air Force's Integrated Computer-Aided Software Engineering

(I-CASE) contract, held by Logicon Inc. The price of the browser, which works out to $18.33 apiece, includes upgrades, support and customer service. The regular General Services Administration schedule price for the browser is $27.95 a copy, which includes no upgrades or support. Logicon bought the browsers through BTG Inc., which has exclusive rights to resell Netscape's wares to the government.

DISA recently embraced Netscape's browser/server technology as a basic component of DII's Common Operating Environment. The agency has decided to purchase COE-compliant products through I-CASE.

Earlier this year, the agency placed orders for TriTeal Corp.'s TriTeal Enterprise Desktop software and Transarc Corp.'s Distributed Computing Environment software.

DISA's Commitment to I-CASE

Vincent Steckler, Logicon's manager of marketing and sales for I-CASE, said the purchase indicates "further commitment by DISA for the use of I-CASE for the COE. DISA has done three buys for COE products, and all have been from I-CASE."

DISA will use the Netscape browsers in DII programs, including the Global Command and Control System and the Global Combat Support System. The browsers will provide access to DISA legacy mainframe applications and GCCS databases and will also support software distribution and installation over the Secret IP Router Network, a classified military network, and eventually the N-Level (unclassified but sensitive) IP Router Network, a military network.

About 2,000 copies will use the Fortezza cryptographic card to encrypt and authenticate communications, according to Netscape. DISA has approved the hardware-based Fortezza card for secure but unclassified Defense traffic.

The browsers "will be available at no cost to DOD programs managers, who will use the DII COE to build their systems to be a minimum of Level 5-compliant," according to a DISA statement. "These licenses are for Unix and PC client platforms. Initial distribution will be based on needs to pursue development. Subsequent distribution will be based on installation schedules."

"This is definitely a significant announcement," said John Menkart, regional sales manager for Netscape Federal.

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