GIG-BE is at 10 sites and counting ...

So far, GIG-BE is on schedule, Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege says.

Henrik G. de Gyor

The Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion program is running at 10 locations in the eastern United States.

This marks the initial operational milestone in the Defense Department's plan to build a single, DOD-wide backbone network. The department's goal is to roll out GIG-BE to additional sites in the coming months and to bring the optical network to a total of 92 sites by next September, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency.

So far, GIG-BE is on schedule, Raduege said. The first 10 sites were all online by last month's deadline.

'As a transformational initiative, the GIG-BE initial operational capability marks a significant foundational piece in the future of high-speed, high-capacity network capability for DOD,' Raduege said.

The network will give warfighters and support units access to a variety of new systems and meets one of DOD's goals for using IT to connect troops to various operations, he said.

Through the $900 million program, DISA is creating a classified and unclassified Synchronous Optical Network with throughput of 10 Gbps. The locations DOD plans to use as network hubs currently rely on leased connectivity services that range from T1 at 1.544 Mbps to OC-48 at 2.4 Gpbs.

Raduege said the 10 Gbps of throughput will go to bases, posts and stations identified as 'the most critical and needing the largest capabilities at this time.'

'GIG-BE is supporting Internet-like capabilities over state-of-the-art optical networking technology to implement a core network that interconnects critical DOD and intelligence facilities throughout the world,' said Tony Montemarano, the GIG-BE program director. 'The use of advanced optical networking technologies will help eliminate bandwidth as a concern for these locations, while the embedded IP router networks will facilitate net-centric operations.'

At a recent networking conference in Atlantic City, N.J., Raduege called GIG-BE the 'linchpin' pulling together all the transformational communications programs the military is rolling out.

'Amazing achievement'

He said the program's adherence to the GIG-BE schedule 'is an absolutely amazing achievement.' GIG-BE has gone from program designation to an initial operating capability in 20 months.

Today, most DOD users rely on the Defense Information System Network for connectivity. DISN is being integrated with the Global Information Grid at roughly 600 sites not covered by GIG-BE.

But the integration will make it necessary for DISN to undergo an upgrade. In May, DISA issued a request for information from industry for technologies that would add bandwidth to DISN. The department is expected to issue a request for proposals for the DISN Access Transport Services contract later this year, Montemarano said.

DATS will provide leased-access transmission services between the government-owned backbone network and military locations. The transmission services will be required to support bandwidths up to OC-192, which offers 10-Gbps throughput.

As part of the DISN upgrade, many legacy voice, data and video systems'as well as such emerging capabilities as the department's premier network-centric warfare initiatives'will move to operate over IP. DISN currently operates via a switched-circuit transport system.

GCN reporter Joab Jackson contributed to this story.

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