[GTER] Military projects will require new IP to handle address explosion

Omar Kaminski omark at bsi.com.br
Tue Jul 1 19:08:56 -03 2003


Pentagon Pushes Next Version of IP

Military projects will require new Internet protocol to handle address

Dennis O'Reilly, PCWorld.com
Tuesday, July 01, 2003

The next version of the Internet Protocol, which provides a 128-bit standard
to transmit data, is getting a jump-start for adoption with its endorsement
by the Department of Defense. The result: A boost in the number of available
Internet addresses, to eventually number as many as an address for every
cell in every person on the planet.

The DOD is requiring all contractors involved in its Global Information Grid
program to support the new Internet Protocol version 6 as of October 1,
2003. IPv6 is expected to replace the current 32-bit IP version 4 (IPv4) for
nearly all Internet traffic by 2008. The replacement is necessary because
the number of available of IP addresses is dwindling, say the standard's

Needed: More Nodes
The Internet Engineering Task Force has warned since the mid-1990s that
we're running out of available Internet addresses. Already, 170 billion of
the 250 billion Internet nodes available under IPv4 are in use, says Latif
Ladid, IPv6 Forum president.

While network address translation and other technologies have alleviated
this shortage in the short term, available IP addresses remain scarce,
especially outside North America, Ladid says. Also, demand is growing.
Future Internet applications, including several DOD projects, will require
many more IP addresses than the 4 billion available under IPv4.

Unlike the move from IPv3 to IPv4 in the early 1980s, versions 4 and 6 of
the protocol will interoperate during and after the transition.

Defense Interests
The DOD is "on the hunt for IP addresses," says John L. Osterholz, director
of architecture and interoperability for the Defense Information Systems

The Global Information Grid project and other Net-centric operations demand
many IP addresses, but will improve the U.S. military's ability to counter
terrorism, Osterholz says.

The GIG project involves internetworked sensors, platforms, and other
information technology and existing national security systems. It is
designed to share resources and expand U.S. security data and analysis

"Al-Qaeda maintains a low profile and is highly distributed," he says. "They
were Net-centric, we were not. Their command and control capability requires
us to have a similar capability."

Speaking at the recent IPv6 Summit in San Jose, California, Osterholz said
the DOD's current processes aren't designed for such attacks.

"At the end of the day, it isn't hardware and software we deploy, it's the
business processes that we're changing," Osterholz said in his conference

The DOD will develop an IPv6 test bed in the next 30 days, and will use it
for testing and demonstrations as part of the transition to IPv4, Osterholz
said. He expects this will accelerate the availability of IPv6 security
products, which will also be compatible with IPv4 technology.

The DOD expects to move to IPv6 at both the network level and application
level. Security and quality of service issues remain major challenges,
Osterholz added.

"Content management and content staging will be a huge problem," he told the

Previous Involvement
Along with resolving the shortage of IP addresses, IPv6 improves network
security, manageability, and quality of service, according to John P.
Stenbit, the Pentagon's chief information officer. Stenbit outlined the
DOD's implementation plan in a June memorandum.

The Pentagon intends to migrate segments of the GIG Project to IPv6 between
2005 and 2007, and fully adopt the standard by 2008, Osterholz says. Among
the first applications to be ported to the network are basic language
translation, military gaming, and simulations.

The Internet itself has some roots in the Defense Department. The Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency helped develop in the 1960s the network
that evolved into the Internet.

In the 1980s, jurisdiction over the Internet was shifted to the National
Science Foundation and other non-military organizations inside and outside
the government. Osterholz says the DOD's return to a prominent role in
setting Internet standards is occurring out of necessity, and that the DOD
will once again step out of that position when the need abates.

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