Rep. Davis calls for a federal transition to IPv6

RESTON, Va.—Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) today announced an initiative to push civilian agencies toward adoption of the next generation of Internet Protocols by 2008, in parallel with the Defense Department.

“A majority of agencies have not begun to grapple with the challenges of IPv6 in any meaningful manner,” Davis said at the Coalition Summit for IPv6 being held this week.

A study by the Government Accountability Office released today also urged the government to begin planning for a transition to the new protocols.

Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, said he would hold hearings on how to push the federal government to the new protocols. He said IPv6 would be a key enabler for maintaining U.S. technological and economic leadership and in improving national security.

So far, DOD is the only department to commit to a transition to IPv6. The department is buying IPv6-ready hardware and software and has set a 2008 deadline for making the transition.

The Internet Protocols are the set of rules defining how computers and other devices talk to each other. The rapid growth of the Internet has outstripped the capacity of the 30-year-old protocols, and much of the world is moving to IP Version 6 of the protocols. Davis said that China is outspending the United States 10-to-1 on the new technology.

Davis also released the GAO study, which found that the government has made little progress toward implementing the new protocols.

According to the report, out of 23 agencies, none has a business case for moving to IPv6 and only one, the National Science Foundation, has a transition plan. The report also found that 20 agencies have not inventoried IPv6 software and hardware, and none of the agencies have a cost-estimate for moving to the new protocols.

GAO recommended that the Office of Management and Budget instruct agencies to begin addressing the issues and develop plans for moving to IPv6.
"The government resists change," Davis said, adding that the OMB needs to take a leadership role in shepherding agencies to the new protocols.

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