The US president's security adviser has asked the high-tech industry to help design a new secure telecommunications network for its government, called 'Govnet'.
One requirement is that it must be able to perform functions with no risk of penetration or disruption from users on other networks, such as the Internet, according to Richard Clarke, the special adviser to the President for Cyberspace Security.
Clarke said Govnet is planned to be a private voice and data network based on the Internet Protocol (IP), but with no connectivity to commercial or public networks.
He also said the network would be managed by a private company and leased by the government.
Clarke, who was named on 9 October as the US president's new adviser, has been talking about such a network for several months as the national coordinator for security, infrastructure and counter-terrorism at the National Security Council.
Working through the General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Technology Service, the agency posted a Request for Information (RFI) on its site that said it would hold information exchange meetings with potential respondents.
It also said the network should have commercial-grade voice communication capabilities and the potential for adding video.
The government Net should be immune from malicious service and/or functional disruptions and all computer viruses, the RFI said.
The RFI is also looking for approximate cost information, data about spare or unused telecommunications capacities that could support Govnet as well as schedule estimates.
Other requirements, such as security policies, management requirements, network capacities and service legal agreements, will be determined following the initial RFI responses.
The government would like the network up and running six months after a contract is agreed. It has earmarked the deadline of 21 November, for responses to the RFI.
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