DOD rolls out tool standards

DOD rolls out tool standards

The Defense De-partment is setting interoperability standards for collaboration products while it rolls out its first collaboration toolset.

A working group co-chaired by a representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the assistant secretary for command, control, communications and intelligence has named the initial set of commercial products the Defense Collaboration Tool Suite.

'DCTS is a seamless collaborative environment,' said Don Harrison, senior staff assistant in the C3I Directorate. 'Our goal is to make it secure, interoperable and transparent to the user.'

The initial release, DCTS 1.2, permits online chat, video, whiteboarding, document and application sharing, and streaming media. A monitoring application developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ties it together. More apps will join the set as they prove their interoperability.

See you in September

The department expects to have DCTS in use at all commands by the end of September.

'We're fielding this as we speak,' Harrison said. 'It's an aggressive schedule.'

The idea of a collaborative suite has been in the works for several years, but not until Sept. 11 did funding become available for deployment, Harrison said.

The client applications in DCTS 1.2 are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers, Microsoft NetMeeting and Sun Microsystems SunForum work spaces, RealPlayer from Real Networks Inc. of Seattle for streaming media, and Envoke from Asynchrony Solutions Inc. of St. Louis for instant messaging.

On the server side are CUseeMe from First Virtual Communications Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., a Real Networks server, an Envoke server, and Microsoft's SQL Server, Internet Information Server and Digital Dashboard.

An interoperability working group will make recommendations for metrics to evaluate products. Harrison said DCTS is open to any products that can show interoperability off the shelf.

Envoke provides secure instant messaging via the Simple Object Access Protocol for data exchange. It uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol to carry messages formatted in Extensible Markup Language. Messages are encrypted from client to server via Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol and re-encrypted at the server.

About the Author

William Jackson is freelance writer and the author of the CyberEye blog.

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