Money backs DMS, relaxes rules

The Defense Department's chief information officer issued a message of supportlast week for the armed services' beleaguered message system.

In a Feb. 8 message to commanders-in-chief, Art Money affirmed the armedservices' commitment to ditching its legacy Autodin message system in favorof the Defense Message System by Sept. 30, 2003, said Rear Adm. Robert Nutwell,the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications,intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and space.

In his message, Money relaxed the requirements that DOD services mustmeet to be considered fully operational on DMS, Nutwell said. Under thenew definition, if an organization is sending and receiving all classifiedmessages on DMS, then it's "fully operational," Nutwell said.

Money has set a June 30 deadline for DOD organizations to abandon Autodinfor nontactical messaging, Nutwell said. The new deadline comes after noDOD organizations made the previous two migration deadlines: Dec. 31, 1999,and Sept. 30, 2000.

Money's message also said organizations can continue to use their Autodinmailing lists and wean themselves off them over time, a practice that wasn'tpermitted under the previous policy.

One of the promises of DMS is the ability to take advantage of PCs andenable users to send e-mail from one individual to another. Money's memoseemed to reaffirm that DOD is not ready to take advantage of that capabilityfor classified messages and that the services will continue to run theircommunications centers indefinitely.

"It's too difficult to define how you would limit individual DMS," soDMS for organizational messages will continue, Nutwell said. OrganizationalDMS involves sending messages from one communications center's server toother servers, and no desktops below the server would be able to receiveDMS messages.

DOD officials want to abandon Autodin because the system uses separatetelecommunications circuits and is therefore costly. DMS, on the other hand,uses the Defense Information Systems Network, which carries DOD's long-haulvoice, video and data traffic.

In addition, DMS generally runs faster than Autodin, and it can handleattachments, Nutwell said.

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