Network Working Group                                          D. Latham
Request for Comments: 1039                                           DoD
Obsoletes RFC-945                                           January 1988

       A DoD Statement on Open Systems Interconnection Protocols

Status of this Memo

   This RFC reproduces a memorandum issued on 2-JUL-87 from the
   Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications,
   and Intelligence (ASDC31) to the Director of the Defense
   Communications Agency (DCA).  This memo is distributed for
   information only.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   There has been recent rapid progress in the specification and
   implementation of computer protocols based on the International
   Organization for Standardization model for Open Systems
   Interconnection (OSI).  The Government OSI Profile (GOSIP), dated 22
   April 1987, contains sufficient information to specify adequately and
   acquire interoperable vendor implementations of OSI message handling
   and file transfer capabilities.  Therefore, the policy on
   standardization of host-to-host protocols for data communications,
   promulgated by USDR&E memo of 23 March 1982, is modified as follows.
   The OSI message handling and file transfer protocols, together with
   their underlying protocols as defined in GOSIP, are adopted as
   experimental co-standards to the DoD protocols which provide similar
   services (MIL-STDs 1777, 1778, 1780, and 1781).  These OSI protocols
   may be specified in addition to, in lieu of, or as an optional
   alternative to DoD protocols, in cases where the current DoD protocol
   applicability statements apply.  They are designated as experimental
   because of the limited operational experience currently available
   with the OSI protocols and the limited operational, testing, and
   security environment currently defined in GOSIP.  Services and
   agencies choosing to implement OSI protocols at this time should
   carefully evaluate these factors and be prepared to deal with the
   complications which may accompany the introduction of new technology.

   It is intended to adopt the OSI protocols as a full co-standard with
   the DoD protocols when GOSIP is formally approved as a Federal
   Information Processing Standard.  Two years thereafter, the OSI
   protocols would become the sole mandatory interoperable protocol
   suite; however, a capability for interoperation with DoD protocols
   would be provided for the expected life of systems supporting the DoD

   In order to extend the OSI protocol capabilities and provide

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RFC 1039                A DoD Statement on OSIP             January 1988

   interoperability between the DoD and OSI protocols as rapidly as
   possible, the following actions are requested:

      a.  The Director, Defense Communications Agency, as the DoD
      Executive Agent for Data Communications Protocol Standards,

      * Publish by November 1987 the DoD-OSI Interoperability and
      Transition Plan.  The plan should provide for interoperation of
      the DoD and OSI protocols at the application level.  A capability
      for experimental interoperability of DoD and OSI message handling
      and file transfer capabilities should be provided by March 1988,
      and a limit operational capability by January 1989.

      * Join the Corporation for Open Systems (COS) as the Department of
      Defense representative.  COS is a non-profit consortium formed to
      deal with testing and other operational issues relating to OSI
      protocols. At the request of the Office of Management and Budget,
      the Services and other defense agencies should not join COS
      directly, but may participate as the agents of DCA on appropriate
      COS committees.

      * Coordinate Service and agency participation, in accordance with
      existing directives, in groups developing OSI standards,
      specifications and operating and management procedures.  These
      groups include the Government OSI User's Group, the National
      Bureau of Standards OSI Implementor's Workshop, the Corporation
      for Open Systems, the Manufacturing and Automation Protocol (MAP)
      and Technical and Office Protocol (TOP) user's groups, the
      American National Standards Institute X3S3 and X3T5 committees,
      and the NATO Tri-Service Group on Communications and Electronic
      Equipment, Sub-Group 9 (Data Processing and Distribution).

      b.  The Director, National Security Agency should assure that the
      efforts of the ongoing Secure Data Network Systems program can be
      used to provide the security extensions defined as future work
      items in GOSIP.

      c.  The Services and defense agencies should share the results and
      experience of early implementations under the experimental
      coexistence policy by actively participating in the groups
      indicated above, under DCA coordination.  This experience should
      be particularly valuable in assuring that military requirements
      can be satisfied by the developing OSI standards, specifications,
      and procedures.

   This guidance provides for the interim steps necessary to continue
   progress toward implementation of OSI standards.  As the technology

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RFC 1039                A DoD Statement on OSIP             January 1988

   matures and DoD gains additional experience, the final implementation
   details will be provided in a DoD Directive.


   [1] Dinneen, Memorandum of Dec 78, IEN-152.

   [2] Dinneen, Memorandum of Apr 80, IEN-152.

   [3] DeLauer, Memorandum of Mar 82, IEN-207.

   [4] Latham, Memorandum of Apr 85, RFC-945.

Latham                                                          [Page 3]