OMB sets deadlines for agencies' move to IPv6

Agencies may have until June 30, 2008, to transition to Internet Protocol Version 6, but the planning starts now.

The Office of Management and Budget has released a memo that gives agencies until Nov. 15 to assign an official to coordinate the move to the new protocol and complete an inventory of existing routers, switches and hardware firewalls.

Agencies also will have to begin assessing all other existing IP-compliant devices and technologies, as well as perform an impact analysis to determine the cost and operational impacts and risks of migrating to IPv6.

Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT, announced in late June during a hearing before the House Government Reform Committee that the government would move to IPv6 by June 2008. This memo gives agencies the roadmap to get there.

In the memo, OMB laid out a set of deadlines after November for agencies. By February 2006, the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee will develop guidance to help agencies make sure IPv6 planning is a part of their enterprise architectures. The directive will include:
  • Development of a sequencing plan for IPv6 implementation

  • Policies and enforcement mechanisms

  • Training materials

  • Test plans for IPv6 compatibility and interoperability

  • Plans for updating IPv6 in the agency's target architecture.

OMB also will use the EA Assessment Framework to evaluate agencies' transition planning and progress to IPv6, completeness of IP device inventory and thoroughness of impact analysis.

By June 30, 2006, agencies should have completed their inventory of existing IP-compliant devices and technologies and their impact analyses.

And by June 30, 2008, all agency network backbones should be using IPv6?either operating a dual stack network core or in a pure IPv6 mode?and agency networks must interface with this infrastructure.

In the meantime, agencies must buy hardware that is IPv6-compliant or must receive written approval from their CIO to buy non-IPv6 hardware. Officials must procure hardware or systems that are both IPv6- and IPv4-compliant, or have a migration plan to move the system to new protocol. Agencies also must have vendor technical support for development, implementation and product management to help with the transition.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News

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