By Aliya Sternstein // September 29, 2011
A forthcoming DVD containing standard security settings for quickly configuring computers on the battlefield likely cannot be used departmentwide until each service's multiyear software licenses expire, Pentagon officials said.
The point of the unified master gold disk, set to become available during the first quarter of 2012, is to reduce the money and energy components are spending to develop similar gold masters that only work servicewide. Golden masters, typically code stored on a DVD disk, are replicas of operating systems and security settings required to run a computer safely.
But the cost-efficiency of the Defensewide program hinges on the ability to negotiate enterprise, or department-level, license agreements, which allow an unlimited number of troops to use it without paying additional user fees. The military services cannot enter into those deals until their current software contracts end, Defense Department officials said.
In the meantime, there is confusion among service components about the various disks under development.
"There are three separate efforts all with very similar names," said Alana R. Casanova, Defense Information Systems Agency spokeswoman. "Our program is the gold disk program. The Army has a gold master program and then there is a unified gold master program. A lot...