Navy, Marines miss latest DMS deadline
- By Bill Murray
- Nov 12, 2000
The Marine Corps and Navy missed the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Sept. 30 deadline
to shut off access to an aging communications network for sensitive and
The failures are the latest in a series of schedule slips for the Defense
Message System, which was supposed to be fully implemented for nontactical
forces as of Jan. 1, 2000, with the DMS tactical deployment to be completed
Defense Department officials want to shut off their Automatic Digital
Network (Autodin) gateways, which are costly to maintain, and use DMS software.
Because Navy officials were not able to use automated tools to convert
Address Indicator Groups to DMS mail lists, the deployment process has been
"very slow and very labor-intensive," said Lt. Jane Alexander, a Navy spokeswoman.
Service officials also are concerned about DMS user acceptance, training
and their ability to staff DMS message distribution centers, she said.
Citing DMS software "reliability and complexity," Capt. Stuart Upton,
a Marine Corps spokesman at Quantico, Va., confirmed that the Corps had
missed the Sept. 30 deadline. The Marines also have had difficulty supporting
DMS, and they have found configuring DMS servers running Microsoft Corp.
Windows NT Server 4.0 and Unix operating systems difficult.
The Marine Corps and Navy's DMS software is based on commercial Microsoft
Exchange 5.5 and Outlook 98 products.
Although they missed the Sept. 30 deadline, the Navy had completed its
DMS implementation for all but 12 sensitive but unclassified installations
out of 3,513 as of early November, Alexander said.
"A significant general concern with IT, which applies to DMS, is trying
to reduce the operational complexity of fielded systems to the point where
they can be more easily operated," Alexander said.
Because the Military Communications and Electronics Board approved the
use of medium-grade messaging for sensitive but unclassified tasks such
as contracts and correspondence, Navy officials plan to start deploying
it to a wider group of users later this fiscal year, Alexander said. As
many as 2 million users will use medium-grade messaging for DMS, which is
based even more exclusively on commercial software.