DOD sets plan for move to IPv6

The Defense Department has selected two networks that will lead the transition to IP Version 6 during pilots over the next year.

The Defense Research and Engineering Network and the Defense Information Systems Network-Leading Edge Services were chosen as IPv6 test beds because they have large numbers of users, are centrally managed and can be isolated from other DOD networks, Defense officials said.

'As is often the case, the DOD science and technology community is a key enabler of transformation, and this is yet another opportunity to advance a strategic technology that enables future warfighting capabilities,' Charles J. Holland, deputy undersecretary of Defense for science and technology, said in a statement.

DOD expects that it will take until 2008 for all DOD users to shift to IPv6, Defense CIO John Stenbit said. In June, Stenbit announced plans to switch to IPv6 as the department standard for integrating sensor, weapons and systems data on DOD's Global Information Grid.

Any new military communications systems bought or developed after Oct. 1 must comply with the new IP standard but be able to support IP Version 4, Version 6's predecessor, Stenbit said.

The Defense Information Systems Agency will be the IPv6 manager for DOD'acquiring, allocating and controlling address space. IPv6 is supposed to overcome the security and address limitations of IPv4.

Following the shift to IPv6 by the test bed networks, DOD will decide a ramp-up plan for DOD-wide transition to the protocol. Additional users are not expected to shift to IPv6 before next fall. One possible early candidate is the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, Defense officials said.

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