Friday, January 20, 2006

Army Thin Clients

Last month I posted news about the Navy's adoption of real thin client systems on some of their ships. Last year I said the following:

"We have the Air Force barking up the wrong tree with new Microsoft purchases. The Navy and Marine Corps are stuck with a disfunctional NMCI. I guess this leaves the Army to embark on a bold strategy that leaves the broken enterprise desktop computing model behind? Stay tuned."

It looks like I was right about the Army. This morning I read Army plans to use thin-client systems at FCW.

The Army intends to streamline information technology at its bases by using thin-client systems, which do not require a computer at every worker’s desk...

The Army intends to install thin-client computers as it restructures and consolidates bases...

“The whole Army is behind this,” Winkler [director of the Army’s Governance, Acquisition and Chief Knowledge Office] told industry executives at a conference on BRAC’s impact. The IT Association of America sponsored the event.

Winkler said Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, the Army’s chief information officer, briefed the secretary of the Army about the plan yesterday, and Winkler quoted Boutelle as saying, “We’re going to be Draconian about it.”

“I see no reason why you can’t have thin clients in all of the services,” Winkler said. “I see no reason why [the Defense Department] shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon.”


The only question is what sort of thin clients will be used. I will be astounded if the Army turns to a real thin client like Sun's Sun Ray 170.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem with thin clients is that the data between the client and the actual machine is not encrypted. As far as classified systems go, this would never fly. I'm not even sure it's within the security standards of unclassified systems.

John Collins said...

DoD = Big contract dollars

I'm sure Sun or anyone bidding on a TC, that's Thin Client for you non-military types, network contract would be willing to establish some form of FIPS compliant encryption scheme.

As for a timeframe, we may be drawing Social Security before it actually gets done. DoD policy, hurry up and wait.

Richard Bejtlich said...

I bet Sun is already all over the encryption issue. These thin clients were supposed to be used for MLS years ago.

Anonymous said...

The problem with thin clients is that the data between the client and the actual machine is not encrypted. As far as classified systems go, this would never fly. I'm not even sure it's within the security standards of unclassified systems.

There is no need/requirement for encryption between the client and server on a classifed network. Take any classified network and you'll see the same unencrypted protocols (SMB, RPC, NFS, etc) that you see on an unclass network.

Bammkkkk

Anonymous said...

SUN Ray thin client do 128 bit encryption from hin client to server. You can enforce that enryption. Cmon, do your homework.