Pentagon Commits to IPv6

The Pentagon announced Friday it is beginning a transition Internet Protocol Version 6 (Ipv6) to bring the Department of Defense (DoD) closer to its goal of net-centric warfare and operations. The new protocol will facilitate integration of the essential elements of DoD’s global information grid, including its sensors, weapons, platforms, information and people.

The current version of the Internet’s operating system, IPv4, has been in use by DoD for almost 30 years. Its fundamental limitations, along with the world-wide explosion of Internet use, inhibit net-centric operations

IPv6 is designed to overcome the limitations of IPv4, such as the limited number of available IPv4 addresses and adds improvements to IPv4 such as routing and networking autoconfiguation. After a period of coexistence, IPv6 is expected to replace IPv4 as the standard system for the Internet.

“Enterprise-wide deployment of IPv6 will keep the warfighter secure and connected in a fast-moving battle space,” Assistant Secretary of Defense John P. Stenbit said. “Achievement of net-centric operations and warfare depends on effectively implementing the transition.”

Stenbit signed a policy memorandum on June 9 outlining a strategy that aims to ensure an “integrated, timely and effective transition.” A key element of the transition minimizes future transition costs by requiring that, starting in October, all network capabilities purchased by DoD be both IPv6-capable and interoperable with the department’s extensive IPv4 installed base.

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