Air Force service units begin tactical DMS deployment

Air Force service units begin tactical DMS deployment

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Although they are delivering only 10 units each month, Air Force officials are conducting a fast-track tactical deployment of the Defense Message System.

Service units at McEntire Air National Guard Station, S.C., and Ramstein Air Base, Germany, recently received the first five Air Force DMS tactical units, said Lt. Patrick Le, the service's DMS tactical program manager at the Standard Systems Group at the Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

Feature attraction

The units feature Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 running the DMS Version 2.1 of Microsoft Exchange 5.5, Le said. Working with contractor TRW Inc. and subcontractor Sterling Software Inc. of Dallas (now a part of Computer Associates International Inc.), service officials are using the X.400 protocol for tactical DMS, but they will re-evaluate use of the protocol when DMS Version 3.0 comes out, he said.

Each unit weighs more than 400 pounds. and comes in a rugged box that carries rackmounted components for stability during shipment. It includes a 650-MHz Pentium III server with 512M of RAM and an 18G removable hard drive running Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 from General Digital Corp. of Manchester, Conn., as well as a tactical uninterruptible power supply and flat-screen monitors with keyboards and touch pads.

Units can use six portable PCs as clients, Le said, and initial shipments include the ToughBook CF-47 from Panasonic Personal Computer Co. of Secaucus, N.J., which features 333-MHz Pentium III processors.

To replace the 28-year-old AUTODIN secure messaging system, Defense Department officials separated the rollout of DMS into two parts. Garrison or sustaining base AUTODIN users have until Sept. 30 to shut off AUTODIN access and use DMS exclusively. Tactical users have until 2003.

Problems with the software have prevented Navy officials from beginning their tactical DMS rollout [GCN, July 10, Page 1].

Air Force officials plan to finish installing the tactical DMS units by 2001 and be ready to shut down access to the AUTODIN network in 2003, Le said.

'Our goal for the rollout is [to deploy] 10 a month' for 15 months, he said.

Each tactical DMS unit can support up to 1,500 users, which means each message received through the system passes to the recipient through a message center.

The Air Force is deploying two separate but identical tactical DMS configurations for unclassified use through the Non-Classified IP Router Network and classified use through the Secret IP Router Network, Le said.

'We can come out and set up messaging right away' for tactical users, Le said.

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