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RFC 902 - ARPA Internet Protocol policy


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Network Working Group                                          J. Postel
Request for Comments: 902                                    J. Reynolds
                                                                     ISI
                                                               July 1984

                     ARPA-Internet Protocol Policy

Status of this Memo

   This memo is a policy statement on how protocols become official
   standards for the ARPA-Internet and the DARPA research community.
   This is an official policy statement of the ICCB and the DARPA.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Introduction

   The purpose of this memo is to explain how protocol standards are
   adopted for the ARPA-Internet and the DARPA research community.
   There are three important aspects to be discussed:  the process, the
   authority, and the complex relationship between the DARPA community
   and the DDN community.  To do this some background must be given and
   some of the players described.

      DARPA = Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
      DDN   = Defense Data Network

The DARPA World

   The DARPA world is headed up by the DARPA office.  DARPA sponsors
   research on many subjects with a number of contractors.  This set of
   contractors is called the "DARPA research community".  DARPA
   typically casts its research efforts into "programs" that involve
   work by several contractors.  One program is the "Internet Program",
   which is researching computer communications issues and constructing
   experimental communication systems.  When the experiments are
   successful, the results are often put into use to support further
   work in the Internet Program and other DARPA research programs.  In
   this way, DARPA developed the ARPANET, SATNET, Packet Radio Networks,
   and the Internet.

   In 1981 DARPA established the Internet Configuration Control Board
   (ICCB) to help manage the DARPA Internet Program.

RFC 902                                                        July 1984
DARPA Internet Protocol Policy

The ICCB

   The concerns of the ICCB fall into two categories:

      Short Term Issues:

         Keeping the Internet operating as an on-going resource, i.e.,
         dealing with problems that arise due to the growth in the size
         of the system and the level of use of the system.  Sometimes
         this suggests research on new procedures and algorithms, or
         suggests changes to the existing protocols and procedures.
         Sometimes the results of long range research become available
         and their introduction into the current system becomes a short
         term concern.

      Long Term Issues:

         The ICCB also considers communication problems related to the
         Internet more abstractly.  The ICCB suggests to DARPA possible
         research topics and experiments.  The ICCB may act as a
         sounding board for ideas suggested by others.

   DARPA has delegated some aspects of the management of the Internet
   Program and operation of the (experimental) ARPA-Internet for the
   DARPA research community to the ICCB.

   The members of ICCB were chosen to represent a spectrum of interests
   and viewpoints.  The ICCB members are from different organizations,
   their individual backgrounds specialize in different operating
   systems and their viewpoints on computer communication issues are
   diverse.

   The chairman of the ICCB is also the "Internet Architect", and the
   assistant chairman is the "Deputy Internet Architect".  The ICCB
   currently has 12 members. The Internet Architect is Dave Clark of
   MIT, and the Deputy Internet Architect is Jon Postel of ISI.

The DDN World

   The DDN is a communication system for DoD operational use.  It
   integrates many networks and communication systems now used and
   planned within the DoD.  One part of the DDN system is networks that
   are also part of the Internet, specifically MILNET and the networks
   connected to it.

   The DDN is managed by the DDN Program Management Office (DDN-PMO).
   The DDN-PMO sets policy for the use of DDN facilities and enforces
   protocol standards established for use in the DDN networks.

RFC 902                                                        July 1984
DARPA Internet Protocol Policy

   Within the DoD, there are three protocol committees: the Protocol
   Standard Steering Group (PSSG), the Protocol Standard Technical Panel
   (PSTP), and the Protocol Configuration Control Board (PCCB).  These
   committees have members that represent most elements of the DoD.
   Generally, they develop and recommend guidelines for protocol
   standardization and usage to the DDN-PMO, and to all of the DoD.  The
   PSSG is a policy setting committee for all of DoD on matters of
   protocols standards.

The Relationship between the DARPA World and the DDN World

   There is cooperation between DDN-PMO and DARPA about the Internet.  A
   few people serve on both the DoD committees (PSSG, PSTP, or PCCB) and
   the DARPA committee (ICCB).  There are good working relationships
   between the key people in the DARPA office and the DDN-PMO, and
   between the technical people in both worlds at lower levels.

   For example, the ICCB may decide that a certain protocol is to be
   used in the ARPA-Internet, and develop an implementation plan and
   schedule.  The DDN-PMO would separately consider the issue.  It may
   decide to require that protocol to be implemented in DDN on the same
   schedule, or it may decide to wait for some results from the DARPA
   experiment with that protocol before committing to a schedule, or it
   may decide that that protocol is not required in the DDN.

   There are two documents that specify TCP.  RFC-793 is the official
   specification of the DARPA research community.  Military Standard
   1778 is the official specification of the DDN community.  The two
   documents specify the same protocol.

   Organizations that are connected to the Internet through authority
   derived from DARPA follow the rules set by the ICCB and DARPA.

   Organizations that are connected to the Internet through authority
   derived from DDN-PMO follow the rules set by the DDN-PMO.

DARPA Official Protocol Designation

   Official protocols for the ARPA-Internet and DARPA research community
   are specified in RFCs and should have that designation indicated in
   the first few paragraphs of the defining RFC.  That is, the RFC
   defining an official protocol should have a policy statement that
   says,

      "This RFC specifies a standard for the DARPA community.  Hosts on
      the ARPA-Internet are expected to adopt and implement this
      standard.",

RFC 902                                                        July 1984
DARPA Internet Protocol Policy

   or something quite similar.

   Also, there is a memo titled "Official Protocols".  This document is
   issued occasionally as an RFC that describes all the official
   protocols of the ARPA-Internet.  This document provides information
   on each protocol; its status (experimental, required, etc.),
   specification, additional comments, other references, dependencies,
   and the person to contact.  The most recent issue is RFC-901.

   RFCs are coordinated by the RFC Editor and distributed by the Network
   Information Center (NIC).  The RFC documents are stored as online
   files in the NIC's computer.  Announcements of new RFCs are sent to a
   mailing list of interested people.  The RFC Editor is Jon Postel.

The Normal Development of an DARPA Protocol Standard

   There probably never has been a "normal" case.  In most instances
   some exception or another has been made to the following procedure.

   The Typical Chain of Events

      The development of a protocol starts with some discussion with
      random people in messages and meetings over an idea of a new
      protocol and the form it ought to take.

      Someone writes a draft and proposes this draft to a group of
      people who are interested in the problem.  They suggest revisions
      and iterate the discussion.  Eventually, they may decide that they
      have a reasonable definition of the new protocol and then pass
      this definition on to the RFC Editor.

      The next step is that the RFC Editor sends a draft to other people
      who might also be interested in the problem.  These people can
      number just a few, or be part of a large mailing list.  Depending
      upon the results from this selected informal group, the draft can
      be revised and rewritten several times.

      When this process stabilizes, the protocol draft is sent out as an
      RFC, identified as a draft proposal of a protocol that may become
      an official protocol.  The RFC is sent to the ARPA-Internet world
      at large.

      After a certain amount of time, if only a few comments are sent
      back, some people may try to implement the draft protocol.

      Test implementation of a protocol is a difficult management issue.

RFC 902                                                        July 1984
DARPA Internet Protocol Policy

      Experiments must be done with a small number of participants due
      to the difficulty in changing many implementations at the same
      time if changes in the protocol are necessary.

         In cases where the ICCB deems it necessary, a set of test
         implementations will be done.  A few participants are picked
         (typically 5 or fewer) for such experiments.  This may lead to
         revision of the protocol before further implementations are
         encouraged or before the protocol is made official.

      If no problems arise, a new RFC is issued containing the complete
      definition of the protocol, and that the protocol is an official
      protocol of the ARPA-Internet and DARPA research community.

   In general, lower level protocols are more critically judged than
   higher level protocols (for example, a protocol like TCP would be
   subject to more careful study than an application like the DAYTIME
   protocol).

The Bottom Line

   For the ARPA-Internet and the DARPA research community, DARPA is in
   charge.  DARPA delegates the authority for protocol standards to the
   ICCB.  The ICCB delegates the actual administration of the protocol
   standards to the Deputy Internet Architect.

   For the DoD in general, the PSSG is in charge.  The PSSG delegates
   the authority for the day to day management of protocol standards in
   the DDN to the DDN-PMO.

 

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