Pentagon to Move to Next-Generation Internet

The Defense Department said on Friday it planned to link its high-tech weaponry, battlefield sensors and other communications systems to an upgraded Internet operating system within five years. John Stenbit, the Pentagon's chief information officer, said the current system, which the Defense Department helped develop decades ago, was too limited to meet the needs of today's technology-driven armed forces.

It was not secure enough and was too prone to dropping information "packets" used in such things as videoconferencing, he told reporters. Another shortcoming, he said, was the limited, telephone-like numbering system that underpins familiar domain names such as Stenbit said the Pentagon planned a five-year switchover to the new system, or protocol, because he expected a majority of cellphones, laptops and other devices that connect to the Internet to use the new approach by then.

"My best guess is that it's going to happen commercially before 2008 or I wouldn't have chosen 2008," he told reporters. "If we don't start buying the stuff today, we're in trouble whenever it happens."

The Internet's current operating system, IPv4, has been in use for almost 30 years by the Defense Department.

News source: Reuters

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