DOD halts ATM buys, pending standards OKs

The Defense Department earlier this month banned the buying of asynchronous transfer
mode systems and services until DOD drafts ATM standards.

But DOD might approve the standards and lift the ban within a matter of days, a DOD
official said last week.

Arthur Money, the department's designee for the assistant secretary of Defense for
command, control, communications and intelligence post, has halted all ATM buys until the
Defense Information Systems Agency produces specifications, certification requirements and
a plan for the Defense Information Systems Network.

"This is necessary to ensure DOD-wide interoperability of ATM systems and
services," Money said in an April memorandum to senior DOD and military service
officials. "Compliance with these documents will be mandatory for all ATM systems and
services that are integral to or that interoperate with DISN."

Lt. Gen. David Kelley, DISA's director, last month reaffirmed his agency's commitment
to ATM technology. The DISN backbone relies on Synchronous Optical Network technologies to
provide high-speed network transmission services.

Falling commercial ATM prices led DOD to adopt the technology to meet the military's
need for integrated voice, video and data communications. But DOD officials said the
services embraced ATM without establishing uniform standards.

DOD spokeswoman Susan Hansen said last week that she expected swift action on the
standards and a quick lifting of the ban. She said an Integrated Communications Strategy
Integrated Product Team is reviewing ATM standards documents.

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