Navy is more cautious than its sister services about DMS rollout

Navy is more cautious than its sister services about DMS rollout

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

FEB. 14—Although the Air Force and Army are scrapping their AUTODIN message centers as part of their Defense Message System rollouts, Navy officials plan to maintain their aging AUTODIN infrastructure, according to Defense Department program managers.

The Air Force has finished fielding DMS on servers at its 117 bases and is now loading the software for classified messages on client PCs, said Jerry Bennis, DMS program manager at the Defense Information Systems Agency. "The Army is right behind them" in deploying DISA-certified DMS versions of commercial messaging products, he said.

Navy commands, however, will still have message centers to distribute classified messages, said Ruthann Zombolas, deputy Navy DMS program manager at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego. "We don't plan on" pushing DMS beyond the server infrastructure to ashore clients, she said.

"We will maintain area control centers and local control centers" that forward messages to users, Zombolas said. The Navy is close to completing a DMS infrastructure rollout in Europe and in Puget Sound, Wash., and DMS will operate at local control centers ashore in all areas except Korea, she said.

"It's very similar to the way it's done now," Zombolas said. The Navy is distributing one Fortezza PC Card encryption device per organization. "The user probably won't see a difference" between the way the Navy uses AUTODIN and the way it will use DMS, she said.

Like the other services, the Navy is working to meet a Joint Staff deadline of Sept. 30 for garrison cutover from AUTODIN and a 2003 deadline for tactical users. About 6,400 organizations are set to use DMS in the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. They could later abandon the message centers and roll out DMS to all users, said Carol Kim, acting assistant program manager for Navy DMS at SPAWAR.

The Navy's more cautious approach means that it will not realize cost savings from DMS as quickly as the Air Force and Army, but it will not have to face what Bennis called the "cultural challenge" of scrapping the message centers. "This is a change in how they do business. It's like going from typewriters to office automation," he said.

About 350,000 to 400,000 users will rely on DMS for high-grade messaging. The rest of DOD's estimated 2 million users will have medium-grade service, he said.

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