Forge.mil, SIPRNet collaboration begins

DISA's Forge.mil collaborative software development tool is now available on the Department of Defense’s Secure Internet Protocol Routed Network.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has announced its Forge.mil collaborative software development tool is now available on the Department of Defense’s Secure Internet Protocol Routed Network.

DISA’s granting of Interim Authority to Operate (IATO) for Forge.mil on SIPRNet will give developers in DOD access to a host of software development and testing tools for open-source and DOD community-licensed software in a classified environment, the department said July 20. The move will allow developers to build applications for use with data classified up to Secret, significantly broadening the types of applications that can be developed in the Forge.mil community in DOD.

The secure Forge.mil site already has active projects being built on it, according to Rob Vietmeyer, the Forge.mil project director. “The SIPRNet capability was driven by some work STRATCOM and the Army were doing,” he said. “The first project onboard [the SIPRNet Forge.mil] was Strategic Command’s.”

"This was a remaining crucial capability to offer our DOD development community,” said Vietmeyer. He told Defense Systems that he expects about 500 users for the SIPRNet side of Forge.mil in the first few months, growing to a few thousand as capabilities are added. Most of these projects will, he said, most likely focus on C4ISR applications that require data on SIPRNet.

Forge.mil is a Web-based software collaboration tool based on TeamForge software from CollabNet, provided to DISA by Carahsoft Technology Corp. The service is currently being hosted on servers owned by the Navy, but Vietmeyer says that work is being done now to move Forge.mil to DISA’s Rapid Access Computing Environment, the “cloud” computing platform DISA is offering to services through its Defense Enterprise Computing Centers. “It’s a RACE-like service right now, but it’s not in the RACE cloud,” he said. “We’re working this summer to move it into a RACE environment — that’s scheduled for October release.”

Forge.mil, previously available on the unclasified NIPRNet, is available to the U.S. military, DOD government civilians, and DOD contractors for new and existing software projects for free — provided that the code is made available freely to the community. There are currently 500 contributors to 93 registered projects on Forge.Mil, with more than 2,200 users total registered to access and download code.

Because it offers a way to both manage projects collaboratively and allow the contribution and distribution of code, Forge.mil helps development projects save money, improve efficiency and deliver software better and faster to DOD users. In addition to the TeamForge software, DISA executives plan on deploying these four more components to Forge.mil in future releases:

  • CertificationForge, a tool for the certification of software.
  • ProjectForge, a service which will provide organizations that pay DISA for the service with private project development and management portals.
  • StandardsForge, which will drive collaborative standards development.
  • TestForge, which will provide on-demand software testing tools.

Forge.mil also provides a way for projects to rapidly be distributed out to early users. The current top download off Forge.mil, Vietmeyer said, is the Common Access Card interface for the Firefox Web browser, which has had more than 300 downloads so far by registered users.

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