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Summary

NIST is Working with other USG agencies and industry to develop and maintain the standards, test program, deployment guidance and test and measurement tools necessary to provide the technical basis for wide-scale adoption of IPv6 in the USG. 

Description

OMB has directed [OMB-2020OMB-2010, OMB-2005] the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop the technical infrastructure (standards and testing) necessary to support wide-scale adoption of IPv6 in the US Government (USG).  

In response, NIST developed a technical standards profile for US Government acquisition of IPv6-enabled networked information technology. The USGv6 Profile includes a forward-looking set of protocol specifications published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF),  encompassing basic IPv6 functionality, and specific requirements and key optional capabilities for routing, security, multicast, network management, and quality of service.  The profile also contains NIST defined requirements for IPv6 aware firewalls and intrusion detection systems.  The program also I established a robust testing infrastructure to enable IPv6 products to be tested for compliance to profile requirements and for interoperability by accredited laboratories using standardized test methods.

USGv6 Program

Major Accomplishments

 

USGv6 Revision 1 Published!

In November 2020, OMB issued memorandum M-21-07 "Completing the Transition to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)",  which outlines the Federal government's strategic intent "to deliver its information services, operate its networks, and access the services of others using only IPv6".   The policy also instructed NIST to update and expand its USGv6 standards profile and test program to facilitate this government-wide initiative.

In anticipation of this request, NIST and its partners undertook a significant revision of the USGv6 Profile and Test Program to update their technical specifications and streamline their use in Federal procurement processes. USGv6-r1, the first major revision of the USGv6 Program, has several objectives:

  • To update the set of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) specifications that form the basis for the profile to their latest published version.
  • To add new specifications for important IPv6 capabilities that have been developed since the publication of the first profile. 
  • To remove specifications for IPv6 capabilities included in the first version of the profile, but that have since failed to achieve significant support in commercial products and network deployments.
  • To simplify the means of expressing IPv6 requirements for and capabilities of network IT products and services.  
  • To separate the definition of IPv6 Capability Profiles from their specific use in USG acquisition programs so as to permit other user groups to re-use the capability profiles and their aligned product testing programs. To achieve this last goal, we have refactored the original USGv6 profile into two distinct documents.  
  • To update and streamline the description and operation of the USGv6 Test Program to reflect the lessons learned in the implementation of that program to date.

The USG move toward IPv6-only network environments dramatically increases the need to assure the quality, completeness and interoperability of the IPv6 capabilities in IT products and services.  While IPv6-only environments will greatly reduce the complexity of operating dual-stacked networks, it does imply that systems will not be able to rely on IPv4 as a fall back service.  This revision to the USGv6 Profile and Test Program is aimed at providing the tools that agencies can use to protect future investments in IPv6 enabled products and services.

See USGv6 Revision 1 for new specifications and additional program details.

Questions or comments about the USGv6 Program can be sent to the discussion list: usgv6-program@list.nist.gov

Created August 15, 2016, Updated January 13, 2021