DISA revamps COE training

DISA has been conducting three-day classes on the fundamentals of the DII COE only
since August, but the agency wants out of the education business.


"It outstrips any of our estimates on demand, and it's not our mission in the
first place," said Don Black, head of new customer development at DISA's Center for
Computer Systems Engineering.


DISA held a conference with potential suppliers last month to discuss commercialization
of its DII COE segmentation concepts class. At the meeting, DISA supplied classroom
materials and exercises to qualified vendors that might take over the teaching.


"We're not going to award contracts. We're going to give up a multimillion dollar
per year business for training more than 2,000 students per year--a number we expect to
double over the next five years," Black said.


About half of the 2,000 students are civilians.


DISA offers the classes free to Defense Department employees and defense contractors.
But vendors charge up to $2,000 per person for their own on-site instruction. Computer
Sciences Corp., Inter-National Research Institute Inc. and Booz, Allen & Hamilton are
already conducting DII COE classes.


DII COE classes will still be provided in a lab at the Naval Computer and
Telecommunications Station in Jacksonville, Fla., on a fee-for-service basis. But some DOD
officials said that Defense should leave teaching DII COE to industry, where it belongs.


"It makes no sense for DISA or the services to try to do all that training
in-house. After all, DII COE is principally commercial products. So we ought to be getting
our training from the people who build the products," said Dave Borland, the Army's
vice director of information for command, control, communications and computers.


DISA developed its own set of software and paper DII COE classroom materials.


Vendors will be free to tailor the materials when they take over the teaching tasks.


New classes will eventually be started for advanced DII COE and Shared Data Environment
(SHADE) training. SHADE is a strategy and mechanism for data sharing using the principles
of DII COE.


For DII COE, DISA established a series of guidelines for using existing software and
creating new software that can blend incompatible data between systems.


Toward that end, COE is an open-system architecture based on a client-server
environment.


Clients access the COE through standard application programming interfaces or routines
throughout an application program that carries out lower-level operating system tasks.


DISA in December released its latest DII COE version.


This move brings Defense a step closer to its goal of joint interoperability.


DII COE Version 3.2 includes configuration definition support, enhanced network
management with the addition of Hewlett-Packard Co. NetMetrix and OpenView products on
both the HP and SunSoft Solaris platforms, Netscape Communications Corp. SuiteSpot and an
upgrade from Microsoft Office 4.1 to Office 97.


The latest version also includes enhanced print services and security, as well as
upgrades to all three supported relational database management systems, and overall World
Wide Web technology support.


Version 3.3 is slated for release in April and will focus on tactical extensions.


DII COE Version 4.0 is scheduled to be released in October. It will provide parity
between Unix and Windows NT platforms.


Version 5.0 will follow and support real-time extensions for selected platforms with
pre-emptive scheduling controls and a defined process prioritization scheme.


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