Internet Experiment Note: 207                                 March 1982


SUBJECT:  DoD Policy on Standardization of Host-to-Host
          Protocols for Data Communications Networks

Reference:  (a)  USDR&E Memo, "Host-to-Host Protocols for Data
                 Communications Networks," 23 Dec 78 (IEN-152).

            (b)  DoD Standard Transmission Control Protocol
                 Specification, Jan 80 (IEN-129, RFC-761).

            (c)  DoD Standard Internet Protocol Specification, Jan 80
                 (IEN-128, RFC760).

            (d)  DoD Directive 4120.3, "Department of Defense
                 Standardization Program," 6 June 73

            (e)  DoDI 4120.20, "Development and use of Non-Government
                 Specifications and Standards," 28 Dec 76

1.  The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify DoD policy concerning
standardization of host-to-host protocols for data communications

2.  The policy cited in reference (a) is reaffirmed, namely:  (1) the
use of DoD standard host-to-host protocols (Transmission Control
Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), references (b) and (c)) is
mandatory for all DoD packet-oriented data networks which have a
potential for host-to-host connectivity across network or subnetwork
boundaries; (2) the Director, Defense Communications Agency, is designated
as the Executive Agent for computer communications protocols; and (3)
case-by-case exceptions will be granted by the Executive Agent only for
networks shown to have no future requirements for interoperability.

3.  Reference (a) is not intented to replace the normal DoD
standardization procedures established by DoDD 4120.3 (reference (d)).
Rather, the Executive Agent Function is intended to place increased
emphasis and initiative on the important and currently volatile
technology of data communications protocol standardization.  New
standards and modifications to existing standards will be submitted by
the Executive Agent to the Defense Department components for

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IEN 207                                                       March 1982

ratification aned dissemination in accordance with the provisions of
reference (d).

4.  DoDI 4120.20 (reference (e)) also continues to apply to protocol
standards.  Thus, it is desired that nongovernment protocol standards be
adopted and used in lieu of the development and promulgation of new
documents. Military requirements for interoperability, security,
reliability and survability are sufficiently pressing to have justified
the development and adoption of TCP and IP in the absence of
satisfactory nongovernment protocol standards.  In the future, the
Executive Agent will determine whenever unique military requirements
justify the development and adoption of unique DoD protocol standards
after making every effort to use prevailing nongovernment standards.
Moreover, the Executive Agent will make every effort to inject DoD
requirements into the nongovernment standard development process through
participation in voluntary standards forums and through coordination
with other U.S. Government members of such forums.  This influence
should be exerted with the objectives of both avoiding the need to
develop and adopt unique DoD standards and enabling eventual replacement
of unique DoD standards with functionally equivalent nongovernment

                                                      Richard D. DeLauer

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