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The Impact of the DoD Mobile Code Policy on Advanced Distributed Learning, Web-Based Distance Learning and Other Educational Missions

2001; Halloran, Margaret; et. al.

Mobile code is software that downloads via the Internet and runs on users’ workstations without the users’ knowledge. Mobile code can be both potentially beneficial and harmful to systems and networks in the Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD Memorandum, dated 7 November 2000, Policy Guidance for Use of Mobile Code Technologies in Department of Defense (DoD) Information Systems establishes DoD wide policy on the use of mobile code in DoD information systems and computers. The memorandum, also referred to as the DoD Mobile Code Policy or just the Policy, defines mobile code and mobile code technologies as follows: Mobile code is defined (for the purposes of the Policy) as software obtained from systems outside the enclave boundary, transferred across a network, downloaded and executed on a local system (e.g., a computer with a Web browser) without explicit installation or execution by the recipient. Mobile code technologies are software technologies that provide the mechanisms for the production and use of mobile code (e.g., Sun Microsystems’ Java and JavaScript; Microsoft Corporation’s VBScript and ActiveX). Many of the interactive components of web-based distance learning and Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) are programmed using mobile code and mobile code technologies. In addition, distance learning and ADL often requires access to materials outside of the enclave as defined by the DoD Mobile Code Policy, as the course content or assignments of this instruction requires users to access web sites that are not developed and/or maintained by personnel within the DoD. For these reasons, ADL and web-based distance learning programs may be more sensitive to the DoD Mobile Code Policy than other base operations and a thorough test of the effect of the implementation of the DoD Mobile Code Policy is warranted.