Move to IPv6 will scrap COE

The Defense Department was a looming presence today at the IPv6 U.S. Summit in Arlington, Va., a stone's throw from the Pentagon.

'The DOD decision to move to IPv6 is monumental,' said Latif Ladid, president of the IPv6 Forum.

In June, DOD CIO John P. Stenbit announced a move to the next-generation Internet Protocol over the next five years. The IT industry and the military services are betting the move will spur development of compatible products and services.

'We are in the early adopter mode now, uncomfortably so,' said John Osterholz, DOD director of architecture and interoperability. 'DOD wants to encourage a wave of commercial application development and accelerate the availability of firewalls,' Osterholz said. 'Currently the base is very thin.'

Sept. 11, 2001, led to a move from the theory of network-centric warfare to a decision for practical implementation, he said.

'The decision was not arrived at lightly,' Osterholz continued. 'As a department, we weren't prepared for the new environment. We needed to be more networked than we were.

'IPv6 offers more security and mobility than by patching the current IPv4. The department is rushing development, despite its discomfort with being on the cutting edge, to take advantage of the huge amounts of data expected to be available by 2008. We only do things that are urgent.'

The department has already given the military services more flexibility in systems design, he said, and it is scrapping requirements relating to the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, which is not IPv6-compliant.

'We're going to do away with the Common Operating Environment' that specifies Windows 2000, Osterholz said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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