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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

DODIIS AMHS
(Automatic Message Handling System)

The Automated Message Handling System (AMHS) provides a user-friendly means to send and receive messages via the Automated Digital Network (AUTODIN). It provides connectivity to and interoperability with other Government agencies, allies, tactical users, defense contractors and other approved activities external to the Defense Message System (DMS) community. It also provides guaranteed delivery to the intended recipients and maintains writer to reader accountability. Automated Message Handling System is the designated DoDIIS migration system utilizing COTS products delivered via a NETSCAPE browser. It includes incoming message and text processing, profiling, retrospective search and retrieval, on-line archive, outgoing message processing, and message composition and coordination. The medium size AMHS system is operational at the SCI level for up to 100 concurrent users. The smaller AMHS-Secret is accessible with a maximum limit of 10 concurrent users.

The AMHS improves automated message handling capabilities in the military intelligence community. It replaces the Modular Architecture for the eXchange of Intelligence (MAXI), the previous DoDIIS standard, and other existing message handling systems within the community. The AMHS also provides automated message handling for sites that did not previously have an automated capability.

The AMHS directly supports four (4) external communication links: Communications Support Processor (CSP), the AGT Gateguard, wire services (AP, UPI, Reuters), and Foreign Broadcast Information System (FBIS). The AMHS also receives SMTP messages directly from the site LAN. The AMHS communicates to the CSP via Generic Gateway using DDCMP and FDMP in accordance with the CSP ICD, CS-IC-11 88-01, Nov 1988. The AMHS receives and transmits formal message traffic via the Communications Support Processor (CSP). The AMHS communicates with LDMX circuits via the AGT Gateguard accredited front end. The AGT Gateguard supports the kermit protocol for file transfer and the AMHS interfaces with the Gateguard in a receive only mode. The AMHS receives wire service traffic from three wire services: Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), and Reuters. The wire service communication links are read only and are received via an asynchronous RS232 line using American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) message coding protocol. The AMHS receives FBIS wire service messages. The FBIS communication link is read only and complies with FBIS ICD MPD-900-203A.

The AMHS receives message traffic from the CSP, FBIS, LDMX via the AGT Gateguard, and the Wire Services, stores it on disk, and then distributes it based on the address list and special handling indicators appearing in the message headers. The AMHS compares received traffic (formal message traffic, FBIS, and wire services) against stored user and system profiles. The AMHS disseminates messages to analysts' Message Queues (stored on AMHS Servers) based on the results of these comparisons. The AMHS sends alarms for high precedence messages directly to the active user workstations.

From their workstations, users can select and display messages from an In-Box, perform profile creation and refinement, formulate retrospective queries against the MDB and compose record messages for transmission. The AMHS Servers and the workstations cooperate during message coordination leading up to authorized release. When a message is approved for release, the AMHS transmits it to the CSP. After transmission, the AMHS compares the message with user and system profiles to determine local distribution. The AMHS also distributes released messages to local addresses supplied during message composition/release.

Site computing resources are interconnected via the site LAN. Through the CSP, the site supports an external communication link to the Automated Digital Network (AUTODIN) network. Through the AGT Gateguard, the site support an external communication link to the LDMX network. The sites communicate to the AUTODIN network via the CSP. The CSP system is accredited and certified by USAF/INS and DCA, respectively, to handle DSSCS and GENSER record message traffic in accordance with DOI-103 and JANAP 128. USAF/INXDX conducts security accreditation tests on behalf of USAF/INS.]

The AMHS is intended as a hardware and software add-on to existing environments that include user workstations and application servers connected via a LAN. It is anticipated that these environments will have been previously accredited at System High. The AMHS software resides on the AMHS server.

For a small, medium, or large AMHS configuration, the AMHS Server hardware is the DEC 2100, a RISC based processor running OSF/1. The miniAMHS employs a DEC 2300 RISC computer, also running OSF/1. The AMHS server is connected to the site LAN, and features synchronous and asynchronous communication ports, magnetic disks and tape drives. TOPIC, a standard commercial product, is a text search engine. TOPIC supports both profiling and retrospective search. TOPIC is used to enforce the Discretionary Access Control (DAC) requirements of the AMHS via System Profiles. The AMHS provides a user interface on the user workstation to to support message composition and word procesing.

The AMHS enhances the process of intelligence data analysis and related product development at DoDIIS sites by providing sophisticated information management tools for analysts and system administrators. Site users will correlate message intelligence data more efficiently and effectively using current communication sources (automatically routed by the AMHS), and stored message data. Analysis will be comprehensive; documents will be produced, coordinated, and distributed easily. The system user, regardless of experience level, will be free to concentrate on product development and not be encumbered by the mechanics of system operation.

The AMHS is responsive to user demands and can sustain message processing speeds under conditions of peak message throughput. The messages are processed, delivered and presented to the recipient in a first-in/first-out (FIFO) order, based on precedence. It supports the maximum functional utility while assuring operation in compliance with security regulations. It also provides for the establishment of message release authorization lists and controls for organizational messages. Integrity requirements require that the AMHS ensure the message received is the message sent through error checking processes. Survivability is based on a distributed work station architecture with an industry standard (802.3) local area network (LAN) interconnecting the nodes of the system providing flexibility and redundancy. The AMHS is designed to obtain the highest mean-time-between-failure and lowest mean-time-to-repair rates.

Maximum use of menu-driven, user friendly software and help functions allow operation with a minimum amount of training. The AMHS provides the users the capability to generate messages for single or multiple recipients and to specify action and information addressees for each message. It also provides user-friendly means to generate outbound messages to be sent via the AUTODIN network. The AMHS processes and stores all messages received from AUTODIN or other sources. It determines the destinations or each organizational message by the address and matches the message content with user-defined profiles.

The currently fielded version also supports remote users in a low bandwidth environment. DODIIS AMHS is DIA and CAT III certified at all installed sites, providing discretionary access control, special processing for restricted access messages, audit trails, privilege/login control, and account locks.

The AMHS V2x configuration has been designed to replace the existing AMHS V1x and Modular Architecture eXchange of Intelligence (MAXI) configurations. The system is designed to meet the world-wide Department Of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODISS) community message handling requirements. To help accomplish this goal, AMHS V2x incorporates Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Hardware (HW) and Software (SW) to the maximum extent possible. Depending upon the user's requirements, AMHS V2x can be fielded in any of four configurations:

Maintenance of AMHS software is supported and managed in accordance with the Common User Baseline for the Intelligence Community [CUBIC] configuration management plan. CUBIC policies and procedures apply. The CUBIC program provides the standard to which IDHS is developed and supported throughout its life cycle. CUBIC segments are developed in response to functional requirements stated by intelligence user organizations and validated by HQ 497th Intelligence Group (IG) / Director of Intelligence Support Data Management. Software Support is provided via a Level Of Effort (LOE) maintenance contract with McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA). Formal on-site training, including Formal -Over-The-Shoulder (FOTS) training. is provided by MDA to each site as part of the delivery of a system. Four separate User Postional Handbooks (UPHs) have been developed for the AMHS. They describe how the System Administrator, User and Message Administrator, ISSO and Profile Administrator can accomplish their duties using the AMHS.

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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood

Updated Wednesday, January 26, 2000 8:33:57 AM