Army extends NT support

Army officials have extended use of Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 servicewide for six months.

This means they missed their Dec. 31, 2004, self-imposed deadline to remove NT from all the service's networks because of security concerns with the old operating system and because Microsoft officials planned to stop supporting it at the end of last year.

Officials posted a document on the Army Small Computer Program's Web site Jan. 19 advising network managers not to remove NT from domain controllers and exchange services running it because the service purchased an extended security support contract from Microsoft for 180 days.

"Systems and domains not completely migrated by 31 December will continue to operate as operational missions require," the document states. "Due to the extended Microsoft support agreement noncompliant NT 4.0 domains are not required to be secured in a separate enclave."

Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the Army's chief information officer, signed a directive Feb. 4, 2004, to phase out NT and install Windows 2000 or newer operating systems and Active Directory. The directive also retires the Windows X and Millennium Edition operating systems.

Boutelle said the Army still uses Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and NT 4.0. He said running one operating system servicewide would keep costs down and let information technology officials manage software updates and patches more efficiently improving computer security.

Boutelle and Maj. Earl Robinson, the Army's assistant product manager for the Active Directory and Exchange 2003 program, warned last year the service might miss the deadline because of infrastructure, staffing and training problems. Robinson said service officials planned contingencies if they missed the deadline.

Army officials successfully updated computers at some installations. Robinson managed the update of 23,000 computers on the Korean peninsula.

The document also instructs Army network managers to work closely with officials from the service's Network Enterprise Technology Command if they still need to update their systems.

"The Active Directory migration process requires preparation and close coordination with Netcom to ensure that an Army-approved enterprise solution is implemented," according to the document. "Failure to follow these procedures may result in serious vulnerabilities to the LandWarNet."

LandWarNet refers to the Army's network of business and warfighting IT systems.

To view the document, go to: https://ascp.monmouth.army.mil/scp/standardspolicies/directives.jsp#contracting.

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