June 13, 2003 – An improved version of the Internet,
featuring enhancements that improve system security and data
delivery, will be part of DoD's integrated information-communications
a senior U.S. defense official said here today.
Users will realize improved service when Internet Protocol Version
6 is incorporated across DoD systems, John Stenbit, assistant secretary
of defense for networks and information integration, remarked to
reporters during a Pentagon press conference.
DoD currently uses Version 4 of the Internet, Stenbit explained.
That system, he noted, has some flaws.
"There are lots of issues that have come up with Internet
Version 4," Stenbit pointed out, noting many commercial "fixes" have
been made to address some of those problems.
One Version 4 fix, Stenbit said, concerns the number of Internet
addresses that can be accessed. Yet, this issue, he pointed out,
isn't of particular import to DoD.
However, DoD is concerned about the lack of information security
safeguards that are inherent in Internet Version 4, Stenbit noted.
And the department is aware of the current Internet
system's lack of dependability in delivering electronic "packages" of
information, which, Stenbit points out, has a negative impact
on quality of service.
Today, "if you send a 'packet' on the Internet, nobody is
guaranteeing you that it is going to get to the other end," Stenbit
For example, he noted, sometimes Internet provider-generated video
or audio conferences may lose sight or sound during transmission.
This, he explained, is caused by Version 4 limitations.
Improvements addressing such quality of service issues are part
of Internet Version 6, Stenbit explained.
And Version 6 development "has gotten far enough along so
that people now deliver hardware and software that are compatible
with both standards," Stenbit noted.
Version 6 "is what we're going to be using" as the standard
for DoD, Stenbit declared, noting, "We're anticipating moving
the department to the use of IP 6 in about 2008."
Consequently, DoD acquisition officials must begin purchasing
Version 6- compatible equipment now, Stenbit concluded.