Part of DMS transition delayed

The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff have decided to delay the Defense Message System's complete replacement of the Automatic Digital Network (Autodin) until the end of the year.

Last week's decision was based on the need for more testing on a hybrid solution used for emergency action and nuclear command and control messages.

DMS is a multibillion-dollar effort to secure Defense Department communications worldwide. DMS messages travel over the Defense Information Systems Network, distributing classified and top-secret voice, video and data messages to DOD users, other agencies and contractors. It is expected to reach full operational capability by fiscal year 2008 through a series of software releases.

Despite cost overruns and missed deadlines that plagued the system, DOD's inspector general approved it in an April report. Defense Information Systems Agency officials and DOD chief information officer John Stenbit told Federal Computer Week earlier this year that DMS was on schedule to replace Autodin by Sept. 30.

"The Sept. 30, 2003, goal for closure of Defense Message System transition hubs in support of [general service] messaging is on schedule," said a DISA spokesperson in a June 17 e-mail message.

The hubs will be maintained in "hot" standby status for disseminating "time-critical emergency action messages (EAMs) and nuclear command and control messages only until the nuclear command, control and communications hybrid solution has completed concurrent operations and is declared the system of record," according to the spokesperson. "Concurrent operations for EAM hybrid messaging extends through Dec. 31."

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