Air Force installs servers for top-secret DMS mail
- By Gregory Slabodkin
- Sep 07, 1998
MONTGOMERY, Ala.The Standard Systems Group here at Gunter Annex will host two
high-performance servers to provide Defense Message System top-secret-level services to
about 1,000 Air Force users servicewide.
Air Force officials have decided there is not sufficient demand among the
services DMS users to warrant the installation of top-secret servers at each base,
SSG officials said.
The service this month will install two 200-MHz dual Pentium II servers with 256M of
RAM each. The servers, from Intergraph Corp. of Huntsville, Ala., will each house multiple
9G hard drives.
There are very few organizations that have more than a handful of [top-secret]
users, and it makes no sense to buy servers certified at the TS level at those
bases, Lt. Col. Marian Quinn, program manager for SSGs DMS Program Management
Office, said last week at the Air Force Information Technology Conference.
DMS users that send messages at highly classified security levels will first dial into
the SSG site, Quinn said. The Air Force is considering whether to install similar servers
in Europe and the Pacific to accommodate top-secret message traffic overseas, she said.
The Air Force is installing separate DMS infrastructures at bases around the world to
accommodate both classified and unclassified message traffic. The service began building
the classified DMS infrastructure in January and has installed the backbone at 12 of 92
The service has installed 52 of 92 sensitive but unclassified DMS sites in Europe, the
Pacific and the continental United States. All 92 will likely be up and running by April,
Regional operations and security centers run by the Defense Information Systems Agency
in Europe, the Pacific and the United States are helping Air Force technicians install and
certify the systems at the sites.
The Air Force will use classified and sensitive but unclassified servers at its bases
so that the DMS sites can communicate via the Non-Classified IP Router Network and Secret
IP Router Network. The service will install a high-assurance guard separating the NIPRnet
The Air Force last year selected Microsoft Exchange as its standard DMS user agent. DMS
Version 2.0, released last month, includes Exchange 5.5 and Outlook 98.
Sites that have installed DMS Version 1.1, which includes Exchange 5.0, will be
retrofitted with the latest version of software.
The service is installing Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 on its DMS servers at Air Force
sites worldwide. The service is leaving open the option of upgrading to Windows NT 5.0
after Microsoft releases it sometime next year and expects it will become part of DMS
Version 3.0 in 2000, Air Force officials said.
DISA will fund DMS software maintenance next year for the infrastructure component,
Quinn said. The Air Force will fund software maintenance for the DMS user agents, she
Its very important to maintain everybody on the same sheet of music from a
software perspective, Quinn said. I cant afford to have one base on one
version and another base on another version, so what Ive suggested is that we keep
centrally funding all the software licensing as long as theres DMS.
DMS hardware, however, is a different story, Quinn said. DISA will fund hardware
maintenance next year; the Air Force will pay for maintenance centrally in fiscal 2000.
After that, Air Force major commands will fund hardware maintenance, she said.
The terms of the DMS contract with prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. requires year
2000 readiness of all DMS wares by December.