DOD recovers tech systems

One of the two communications systems feeding the Pentagon was knocked out as a result of the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon

One of the two communications systems feeding the Pentagon was knocked out as a result of the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, the Defense Department chief information officer said.

The crash destroyed one of two major communications lines, but the communications feed was restored within days, John Stenbit said Sept. 14. "The good news is that it had two."

Because of on.going recovery efforts, DOD officials were still assessing the damage. "I'm sure there was data loss," Stenbit said. "There are places over there that don't exist any more."

Ron Turner, the Navy's deputy CIO for infrastructure, systems and technology, said the service is still assessing the damage "as we get into the spaces [that were] destroyed."

One early lesson learned is the need for redundancy, according to Stenbit. Officials have been reminded of many information technology truisms — such as having more than one fiber-optic cable and not routing them all through the same place. "All those kinds of lessons we learn every time but then don't do because it costs a bit are back on the table," he said.

Some operations very close to the explosion were able to maintain their systems, in some cases because of the flexibilities that technology provides.

A portion of the Navy's public affairs operations was located in an inner ring of the section of the Pentagon that was hit. Although the Navy's public affairs phones were down, officials there were able to move their operations to a nearby government building and were able to access e-mail and maintain some operations within hours, said Lt. Pat McNally, a Navy public affairs officer.

The Army's Defense Property Accountability System stayed online throughout the incident although its team is located just one section away from the crash site.

The system was able to maintain operations because the data is stored on servers at the Defense Information Systems Agency's office in Dayton, Ohio, said Ira Gebler, a contractor for Price.waterhouseCoopers, which is working with the Army.

But Gebler, who was at the Pentagon at the time of the attack, was forced to evacuate.

NEXT STORY: Navy IT workers missing

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