Contingency plan calls for using information technology to help keep top DOD officials at work in the event of a large-scale attack on the building
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Defense Department is developing plans for a "virtual Pentagon" that would enable DOD officials to continue to work even in the event of a large scale attack on the Pentagon, senior military information technology officials said.
The plans, which are referred to either as the "virtual Pentagon" or the "distributed Pentagon," are a significant redesign of DOD's IT contingency plans, which were found to be inadequate as a result of the crash.
"[Sept. 11] was a wake-up call [where people said], 'Oh, that could happen to my data,' " said Margaret Myers, DOD's acting deputy chief information officer.
The attacks showed that there were some vulnerabilities, she said in an Oct. 29 presentation at the MILCOM conference in Vienna, Va. There were some single points of failure where systems were not sufficiently distributed.
"We are working to address these issues," she said.
The plans focus on creating redundancies and locating those backup sites away from the Pentagon so operations can continue even if there is an attack similar to the one sustained Sept. 11, she said.
The plans are more than just a tweaking of the existing plans, Myers noted. "Part of the waking up is that we discovered the plans weren't adequate," she said.
The Army's budget office, which sustained a significant number of causalities, also lost a significant amount of data, she said.
The Navy, which lost about 70 percent of its Pentagon space in the attack, did lose some data, but the Navy had its backup stored off-site at another Navy facility.
DOD's contingency plans made prior to the Year 2000 date change provide some valuable information, but do not go far enough, Myers said.
"It helped in knowing where the critical paths were, and that was useful information," she said. But it did not address the issue of contingencies if the paths were destroyed altogether, she said.
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