The Department of Defense yesterday took a major step in providing military personnel with a modern messaging capability for the next century. The Major Automated Information Systems Review Council (MAISRC) reviewed the Defense Message System (DMS) program and approved the incremental implementation of the system.
Senior military and civilian representatives agreed that DMS provides a viable, flexible alternative to the many legacy e-mail applications currently in use in the Department of Defense. The system will also allow DoD to phase out the antiquated and costly Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN). When operable, DMS will provide secure, reliable messaging for strategic, tactical national intelligence, and business applications across multiple commercial vendor platforms.
DMS is an evolutionary program based on leading commercial products. Lockheed Martin Federal Systems led an industry team which was responsible for integrating many commercial products, among them Microsoft and Lotus, into a flexible, interoperable messaging environment. Yesterday's review included results of initial operational testing on the functional baseline of the program, DMS 1.0. This test showed that DMS can provide Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) messaging and directory services under wartime scenarios. The next increment, DMS1.1, is already undergoing laboratory testing; it should complete formal developmental and operational testing before the end of this year. DMS 1.1 is expected to be widely deployed by the military services and agencies following successful testing.
According to Anthony Valletta, acting assistant secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) and designated chief information officer of the Department of Defense, "DMS is on an aggressive schedule to meet the objective of supporting the closure of AUTODIN by December 1999. We believe it is achievable with continued teamwork and industry support."
Lt. Gen. David G. Kelley, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and Lt. Gen. Douglas Buchholz, USA, director for command, control, communications and computers of the Joint Staff, reiterated the need for a system which provides modern, classified messaging for the warfighter. This aspect includes effective interfaces with the Allied and tactical communities.
The national intelligence community also plans to utilize DMS. The community today established an office to implement DMS and ensure intelligence community interests are addressed.
The Major Automated Information Systems Review Council (MAISRC) is the Department's senior level review body for acquisition decisions concerning high value information management systems. Chaired by the assistant secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence), the MAISRC also includes membership from the offices of the under secretary of Defense (Comptroller); the under secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology); Operational Test and Evaluation; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; user communities; and other senior defense officials. The MAISRC considers acquisition matters involving all automated systems with a single year cost of more than $30 million.