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
Latham [Page 1]
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
* 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,
This guidance provides for the interim steps necessary to continue
progress toward implementation of OSI standards. As the technology
Latham [Page 2]
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.
 Dinneen, Memorandum of Dec 78, IEN-152.
 Dinneen, Memorandum of Apr 80, IEN-152.
 DeLauer, Memorandum of Mar 82, IEN-207.
 Latham, Memorandum of Apr 85, RFC-945.
Latham [Page 3]
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