Agencies, industry need to define specs

The first step in the Defense Department's policy of moving its IT systems to IP Version 6 was to begin purchasing only IP v.6-capable products by October 2003.

It turns out, this is easier said than done.

'One of the problems is that we have to define what 'IP v.6-capable' is,' John Shipp, the Army's director of technical architecture, applications, operations and space, told an audience last month at the Coalition Summit for IP v.6 in Reston, Va.

'We're trying to define what it is within DOD, and we're sending out a request for information to have you help us define it.'

No date has been set for releasing the RFI, which also will seek information on the status and future plans for vendors' IP v.6-enabled products.

Alan Sekelsky, director of IP engineering at SI International Inc. of Reston, which supports the DOD IP v.6 transition office, said industry is depending on DOD specifications for IP v.6-capabilty. His company is helping define those requirements, which reference existing standards for many functions.

Sekelsky said the specifications must be specific enough to guide product development, but flexible enough to accommodate the evolving nature of the IP v.6 protocols. Not all functions and services required in the specifications will be immediately available in all products, and complete parity with IP v.4 functionality cannot be required at this time.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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