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U.S. attack: Defense Department's nets unaffected by terrorist assault
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 00:46:43 -0500 (CDT)
By Bob Brewin, Computerworld
September 12, 2001 4:19 am PT
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT COMMAND and control networks continued to function
normally despite Tuesday's terrorist attack against the Pentagon,
according to officials at Worldcom, which operates the global Defense
Information Systems Network (DISN), handling all military
communications traffic from unclassified to secret.
State Department networks also continued to function normally, the
WorldCom officials said.
Broadband and voice service in the New York-Washington area also
continued to function but was stressed by higher volumes of traffic,
according to Mark Marchand, a spokesman for Verizon of New York, the
telephone carrier that serves both cities.
Marchand said call volumes were running twice their normal level.
He added that the attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the
subsequent collapse of the two buildings destroyed a number of
high-speed switches and circuits in the basement of the building.
Verizon Wireless service in the New York and Washington areas
experienced the same network congestion as the company's wired
networks, Marchand said.
WorldCom lost 200 DS-3 circuits that run through the basement of the
World Trade Center and carry commercial traffic, according to Diana
Gowen, the Washington-based vice president of WorldCom of Jackson,
Miss. But, Gowen added, since WorldCom runs its network on SONet
(synchronous optical networks), traffic was automatically routed
around the damaged circuits. Gowen emphasized that all the service
carried by those circuits has been restored.
Sprint also reported traffic disruptions caused by the collapse of the
towers on 27 DS3 circuits and switches housed in the basement.
Sprint all but evacuated its Washington office, according to spokesman
James Fisher, although the evacuation was on a voluntary basis. Fisher
said, "We're right across the street from the FBI building. ... No one
really wants to stay here."
Gowen said that the global DISN "was unaffected by the attack", saying
that "our fiber [is] in another wing of the Pentagon" from the west
wing, which collapsed shortly after the attack. Army Lt. Col. Stephen
Barger, a spokesman for the Oahu, Hawaii-based Pacific Command,
confirmed this assessment, saying the command has experienced no loss
in connectivity to its DISN data circuits.
WorldCom is responding to a request from the Defense Department to
re-route some "800" number voice traffic from the Pentagon to
alternate locations, Gwen said. The department is studying the
possibility of moving some functions of the National Command Center --
the computerized operations center of the military -- to an emergency
command post operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in
Mt. Weather, W.Va., according to knowledgeable sources, as well as to
another secret, alternative command center in Virginia.
Gowen said the State Department's worldwide networks, also operated by
WorldCom, continued to operate normally, despite the attacks.
After the attacks, the military stepped up its security posture. The
U.S. Pacific Command's Barger said PACOM has put all its forces --
which operate from the U.S. West Coast to Japan -- on "ThreatCon
Delta," which he described as the "highest level of security." This
includes ID checks at all gates to military installations and the
search of any potentially suspicious vehicles.
The Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Joint Forces Command, has also heightened
its security posture, though the command did not detail the level. The
Air Force's Air Combat Command based at Langley Air Force Base, Va.,
has also gone to a higher readiness level and has "increased security
in the interest of protecting people and equipment," according to
command spokesman Col. Jack Ivy.
"Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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- U.S. attack: Defense Department's nets unaffected by terrorist assault InfoSec News (Sep 13)