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[] USA: PACOM und CENTCOM verbinden ihre WANs,

DOD extends net reach

BY Dan Caterinicchia 
Nov. 25, 2002

The U.S. Pacific Command (Pacom) and U.S. Central Command (Centcom) each
use their own secure wide-area networks to communicate with coalition
partners in their areas of the world, and now the two systems have been
linked to create even greater global information-sharing possibilities.

Navy Capt. James Fordice, the U.S. Pacific Fleet's director for command,
control, communications, computers and intelligence, said Pacom's
Combined Operations, or Coalition, WAN (COWAN) has a number of secure
enclaves with various Asian-Pacific partners, including COWAN-K with
Korea, COWAN-J with Japan, and COWAN-A, which supports Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Canada, Australia and the U.K. all have permanent COWAN links, in
addition to their participation in the COWAN-A enclave, and all of those
networks feature:

* E-mail with attachments
* Chat capabilities
* Replicated Web sites
* Collaborative tools

The enclaves with Japan and Korea are currently e-mail only COWANs, but
Japan is interested in adding chats, Fordice said.

But COWAN-C, which links Pacom's system with Centcom's Combined
Enterprise Regional Information Exchange (CENTRIX) system, was created
"within the last 60 days," and is the star of the show, Fordice told
Federal Computer Week following a Nov. 21 panel at the Armed Forces
Communications and Electronics Association International's TechNet
Asia-Pacific conference in Honolulu.

Fordice added that linking COWAN with CENTRIX was not difficult, because
both systems are TCP/IP-based and basically provided the same
information-sharing features.

"This is the biggest step forward in getting to a global coalition
network to put all the players in," he said. 

COWAN-C has not yet been used, but is available for "when we get to a
point that we need it," Fordice said, adding that that shouldn't be too
long because COWAN-A is in "almost continuous use," and the opportunity
to link to even more coalition partners such as Germany, France and
Italy will contribute to fighting the global war on terrorism. 

Separate, physical COWAN local-area networks are required for each
enclave, and can be set up for about $40,000 per ship. Fordice called
the ship-based solution "COWAN-lite," and said it requires a laptop, a
router, and a cryptographic tool linking into the standalone battle
force e-mail system.

"COWAN is a success and is being used during Operation Enduring
Freedom," but there are many restrictions on information sharing among
the coalition partners, said Adm. Walter Doran, commander of the U.S.
Pacific Fleet. "We must get this one right."

Randall Cieslak, Pacom's chief information officer, agreed and said the
most difficult part of that is overcoming individual nations'
information-sharing policies, since some are willing to share certain
data with the United States or another country, but not necessarily with
all the other participants.

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