DOD blazes TIC path

The Defense Department isn't included in the Trusted Internet Connection initiative because it has already consolidated its Internet connections from more than 60 to 15. However, DOD's experience with network consolidation and its lessons learned provide valuable guidance.

DOD began its Internet consolidation project in 2003, and by 2004, had completely inventoried its network to establish 60 as the baseline number of Internet access points between its Non-secure IP Router Network and the Internet, DOD officials said. By 2007, DOD had consolidated its more than 60 access points into 15, although its eventual goal is to reduce the number to 10.

At the outset, DOD mapped its planned topology for the network by analyzing traffic patterns and traffic growth projections, with additional modeling to account for the scheduled closing and restructuring of military bases.

To handle the reconfigured traffic, DOD added new circuits to connect to new interconnection points established in the consolidation process while also upgrading the bandwidth of existing circuits when redirecting additional traffic to an existing site. DOD officials said the department redirected about 40 interconnection circuits to new sites without significant disruptions to service. When possible, DOD provided a one-month overlap of old and new circuits to prevent outages. If that wasn't possible, officials scheduled cutovers during hours when Internet demand was low.

The biggest technical challenges involved in the transition was redirecting traffic and scheduling unavoidable network outages to minimize the impact on operations, the officials said.

The step that contributed the most to successfully completing the consolidation was devoting enough time to the modeling and planning stages to ensure that DOD sequenced its implementation carefully.

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