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VIII. OPTIONS FOR DOD AND NBS The committee believes that the Department of Defense is committed to adopting commercial standards when they are suitable and available and, therefore, wild adopt the ISO standards eventually as the military stan- dard for transport-level communication protocol. Further, the DOD real- izes the benefits in cost and reliability of obtaining its data communica- tions equipment from vendors who offer it as standard products. Of the three options identified by the committee, the first two are ways for the DOD to realize these benefits while the third option would withhold the benefits from the DOD indefinitely. The primary difference between Option ~ and Option 2 is in the timing of the transition from TOP to TP-4. This timing difference has implica- tions in risk, cost, and manageability of the transition. (This is dis- cussed in Chapter X in greater detail.) Option ~ The first option is for the DOD to immediately modify its current transport policy statement to specify TP-4 as a costandard along with TCP. In addition, the DOD would develop a military specification for TP-4 that would also cover DOD requirements for discretionary options allowed under the NBS protocol specifications. Requests for proposals (RFPs) for new networks or major upgrades of existing networks would specify TP-4 as the preferred protocol. Contracts for TP-4 systems would be awarded only to contractors providing commercial products, except for unique cases. Existing networks that use TCP and new networks firmly committed to the use of TCP-based systems could continue to acquire implementations of TCP. The DOD should carefully review each case, however, to see whether it would be advantageous to delay or modify some of these acquisitions in order to use commercial TP-4 products. For each community of users it should be decided when it is operationally or economically most advanta- geous to replace its current or planned systems in order to conform to ISO standards without excessively compromising continued operations. United States government test~facilities would be developed to enable validation of TP-4 products. The Department of Defense would either require that products be validated using these test facilities or be certified by the vendor. The test facilities could also be used to -45 -
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isolate multivendor protocol compatibility problems. The existing NBS validation tools should be used as the base for the DOD test facilities. Because under this option networks based on both TOP and TP-4 would coexist for some time, several capabilities that facilitate interoperabil- ity among networks would need to be developed. The Department of Defense generally will not find them commercially available. Examples are gate- ways among networks or specialized hosts that provide services such as electronic mail. The department would need to initiate or modify develop- ment programs to provide these capabilities, and a test and demonstration network would be required. Option 2 Under Option 2 the Department of Defense would immediately announce its intention to adopt TP-4 as a transport protocol costandard with TOP after a satisfactory demonstration of its suitability for use in military networks. A final commitment would be deferred until the demonstration has been evaluated and TP-4 is commercially available. The demonstration should take at most eighteen months and should in- volve development of TP-4 implementations and their installation. This option differs from Option ~ primarily in postponing the adoption of a TP-4 standard and, consequently, the issuance of RFPs based on TP-4 until successful completion of a demonstration. The department should, however, proceed with those provisions of Option ~ that may be completed in paral- le] with the demonstration. Early issuance of a TP-4 military specifica- tion, development of validation procedures, and implementation of means for interoperability would be particularly important in this regard. Option 3 . Under the third option the DOO would continue using TOP as the ac- cepted transport standard and defer any decision on the use of TP-4 inde- finitely. The department would be expected to stay well informed of the development and use of the new protocol in the commercial and internation- al arena and, with the National Bureau of Standards, work on means to transfer data between the two protocol systems. Testing and evaluation of TP-4 standards by NBS would continue. The DOD might eventually accom- modate both protocol systems in an evolutionary conversion to TP-4. -46-