User:Howard C. Berkowitz

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search

Howard C. Berkowitz is no longer a member of this project

With some of my staff...Sweet in tuxedo and Rhonda in furs

Over my protests regarding due process and Charter violations, I have been stripped of my Politics and History Editorships, simultaneously with statements that my large number of criticism in these areas are not being criticized. At the best, I believe the Editorial Council is overly concerned with credentialism rather than actual knowledge. I also seriously question the EC's essentially stopping all other business and content work other than focusing on my Editorships, based on an anonymous complaint, and not having experts in any of these disciplines making determinations of expertise.

Hourglass drawing.svg Where Howard lives it is approximately: 22:39

CZ Governance and Editor Qualifications

With the passage of an Editorial Council resolution on making public one's qualifications to be an Editor, I will attempt to do so here, as well as the required Editor Subpage I only ask, especially while I am getting feedback on the way I present it, that people trying to understand my background read the full user page, and also understand that much of my relevant experience is interdisciplinary and sometimes nontraditional.

I don't think anyone can be a CZ Editor without a thorough understanding of both the subject and the CZ environment. In my opinion, one of the fundamental ways to determine both is to look at the content contributions of the individual as an author, even before Editor status is granted. In a substantial part of at least American (U.S. and Canada), many institutions recognize nontraditional learning through the presentation of a "portfolio" in the subject, and perhaps interviews with subject specialists. I'm not especially a traditional learner, but I'm certainly willing to demonstrate competence. Bear with me as I work on the best way to present my best work, especially since much is interdisciplinary. I'm certainly not suggesting I wrote every article in the workgroup/subgroup, although I do believe I have several +++ entries below represent a hierarchy of articles; the top is listed.

Useful Forum links

Who am I?

I was born shortly after what I prefer to call Big Mistake Two, as a means of avoiding the WWII, Second World War, World War Two, Great Patriotic War, etc., arguments. :-< Specifically, I was born in Newark, New Jersey. For those that do not know the New Jersey suburbs of the greater New York areas, at the time, many of the stories of them being a massive chemical waste dump have at least some truth. In respect to the philosophers at CZ, it is fair to say that Nietzsche may have had Newark in mind with "what does not destroy me makes me the stronger."

Mr. Clark (1997-2010), much missed best friend, senior editorial adviser, expert in nursing, food, pets, Buddhism, food, pet therapy, food and raising 2- and 4-legged kittens

Right there, you see my endorsement of a saying in the Royal Navy: "if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined." At this point, it seems appropriate to give credit to my editorial advisers, Rhonda and the late, dearly missed Mr. Clark, my best friend.

Professionally, I do network engineering, information secuity, and medical information systems, but am increasingly involved in electronics for commercial fishing (, which, in turn, is leading to proposing some renewable biodiesel work, although I'm likely to be returning to building very big networks. When Aleta referred to one of those topics as "not rocket science", I felt compelled to write that article, although I'm stuck in not knowing how to format some equations. Some of my current consulting work deals with the security aspects of cloud computing and the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).

Rhonda, editorial adviser and expert in marketing, fashion, dog training, social networking and party planning, and possibly world domination in a benevolent way

After many years in the Washington DC area, I am now in a fishing village on Cape Cod. As Monty Python would have it, it is far more productive to look at fishing there than in the middle of the Sahara. I am a member of the Barnstable County Medical Reserve Corps, and have been trying to get support for a biodiesel proposal: an elegant little concept of having seafood caught by diesel-powered fishing vessels, fried by local restaurants, whose waste vegetable oil comes back to our facility, and is converted into mixed biodiesel to go back into the boats.

In the networking realm, I've long been a participant in communications standards, passing knowledge forward in writing and teaching, developing routing and network management products, and architecting a good number of large service provider and enterprise networks. Published four books, author/coauthor of several Internet Engineering Task Force RFCs and many more drafts, dozens of industry presentations, including tutorials on routing for the North American Network Operators Group ( Worked for several years at Nortel, starting as Product Line Manager for Carrier Routing Protocols, and then moving into the corporate research lab as Senior Advisor on IP Routing. Was an invited speaker for the Internet Society meeting in Stockholm, discussing the limits of the Internet routing system.

Until the mania for easy-to-test industry certifications took away the enjoyable parts of teaching other than the test, was a certified instructor for Cisco, primarily teaching Internetwork Design. My specialties include fault tolerance, routing and router design, and network management, plus applications in fields including telecommunications/Internet service provision, military systems, and medicine.

Perhaps not surprisingly, network-centric computing has kept me intertwined with military and intelligence matters (see C3I-ISR for some attempt to keep the alphabet soup under control). Especially in my earlier career, this meshed with my background in microbial biochemistry, so I continue (also wearing the emergency management hat) with WMD, but also technology and social science support to special operations. For example, during Vietnam, I worked for several contractors, academic and commercial, dealing with tactical sensors, assessment of counterinsurgency, etc., and had a good deal of training in intelligence analysis. Later on, I was a technical contributor to national-level C3I network architecture. I've also had the benefit of some mentoring by colleagues through flag officer level in C3I.

At Citizendium, my areas of contribution are principally in military and intelligence areas, which combine Military, History, Politics, Engineering and Computers. With great pleasure, I am again writing in one of my main professional areas, computer network engineering, which simply had become too painful at Wikipedia. I also contribute to health sciences, particularly in regard to clinical computing and medical information management. Occasionally, I will join miscellaneous topics of interest such as cooking, maritime computing and electronics (part of my current business), commercial fishing, and journalism.

Military, intelligence, history and politics

'"These pertain to my qualifications as a Military, History and Politics Editor. In direct support of that, I also mention the large number of articles that I have contributed to CZ, and are readily available for review. I will continue to protest the revocation of the History editorship.

While growing up, I rarely blew up things, preferring the more subtle threat of bacteriology. My mother, an Army reserve officer, did bring home assorted Field Manuals that would shock US Homeland Security.

As a network engineer, I have had substantial exposure to military command, control, communications and intelligence. Some of my consulting is in open source intelligence dealing with counterinsurgency and terrorism.

In addition to military command and control, and participating in gaming and simulation (venues including the Industrial College of the Armed Forces), I've had a certain amount of exposure to intelligence research and analysis, and occasionally do open source intelligence consulting. Some of my graduate work was in strategic intelligence analysis at the School of International Service, American University.

War is hell. Still, there are moments that show the best of human virtues, such as Guy Gabaldon and Ben Salomon. I've written in excess of 2000 military-related articles here, many of which blur into politics, international relations style.

Military planning, intelligence analysis, social science and history

Interdisciplinary alert: Military, History, Politics. These are extremely intertwined issues for the practitioner.

The practice of politics

While the Workgroup system may not always be with us, I observe it is the Politics Workgroup rather than the Political Science Workgroup. I've had substantial experience in political campaigning, internals of poltical process, lobbying and preparing testimony. While some of my work was with what was then the U.S. Republican Party, I can only claim that the party ethos was considerably different than it is today, when "moderate Republican" is the moral equivalent of "slightly pregnant." If I may use 12-step terms, I am a Recovering Republican, who still graduated from the Republican Senior Campaign Management School and was on campaign staffs, including the DC Nixon Campaign in 1972. I spent several years as Research Director for the District of Columbia (state-equivalent) Republican Committee and DC Young Republicans. For the Ripon Society, a moderate Republican policy group, I contributed to Congressional testimony on government secrecy and on Congressional representation for the District of Columbia. Representing Young Americans for Freedom, I debated Tom Charles Huston on the constitutionality and practicality of the "Huston Plan" for domestic surveillance and political provocation during the second Nixon Administration.

With the capture of the Republican Party by social conservatives, I was no longer actively affiliated, but continued to be involved in local politics, often nonpartisan, in Arlington County, Virginia. I am involved in a variety of serious discussion forums and mailing lists, often shared with elected and appointed officials.


As George Santayana put it, "those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." When the first recognizable military staff function was created, circa 1657, in Prussia, the very first role defined was the staff historian. [1] History, and more recently social science, have been an integral part since to the military planning process and the separate development of national intelligence.

Intelligence analysis routinely draws on historical and social science analysis. Perhaps the greatest difference between intelligence analysis and academic history is that the analyst may be under unbreakable deadlines to provide information to policymakers, and the report ("estimate") delivered has to contain uncertainties. A good report makes the uncertainties clear, although sadly, it is not the case that the policymakers will read, understand, and use them. A bad report will allow itself to be tailored to what the policymaker wants to hear (e.g., Office of Special Plans).

Precisely due to time and other pressures, analysts are, as much as academic specialists, aware of the need for quality, and watch for cognitive traps for intelligence analysis.

An example of one of my open source intelligence (OSINT) assignments that blended historical and military affairs was at the Center for Research in Social Systems (formerly the Special Operations Research Office), a Federal Contract Research Center run by American University in Washington, DC. This is long enough ago that client and national security confidentiality no longer apply. The primary client was the United States Army, especially United States Army Special Forces. I analyzed consecutive translations of the North Vietnamese party news journal, Nhan Dan, and its theoretical journal, Hoc Tap. My task was to identify possible changes in policy both at the national level during the Vietnam War, but also of individual policymakers. Often, the policy change was not explicitly stated, but would be based on citing approval or disapproval of the acts of individuals in Vietnamese history. Policymakers on both sides of a decision might couch their arguments in terms of agreement or disagreement with a famous past monarch such as Nguyen Hue, just as we knew that the "Nguyen Hue Offensive" in captured documents was something serious -- it became the Tet Offensive.

It's much more difficult to talk about recent assignments in OSINT. The best I can say about one, for example, is that I studied the history and economics of infrastructure development in a country that has been been supportive of terrorists, in order to predict where they might locate bases and where they might have their own critical infrastructure. Hyoothetically, the existence of informal value transfer systems gives one a key to where to collect financial intelligence.

Health Sciences and Emergency Medicine

In medicine, to paraphrase from an old US television commercial, I'm not a physician but simulate them on computers. While I was a user of Index Medicus before MEDLINE on computers, my first professional work on medical computing was manager and chief developer of clinical computing to the Georgetown University Hospital, an outsourced company, Washington Reference Laboratories, owned by the head of clinical chemistry, Dr. Martin Rubin. I continue consulting work on the products of and have two patents in progress. While it's hard to put into formal terms, I'm passionate about pharmacology -- what other sort of person nags his mother for a Merck Index of Chemicals and Drugs for his 10th birthday?

Phamacology and public health

Before I discovered I wasn't cut out to be a bench biochemist, my undergraduate research was on "Competitive inhibition of penicillinase by notalysin, a Penicillium notatum (Westling strain, ATCC 10108) metabolite"; it might have been an early variant of something like clavulanic acid. I started that research proposal while in high school; I had the luck to start getting mentoring from a physician/biochemist and an academic microbiologist, and it probably was just as well that my mother did not know all of what was in my basement lab. No, no explosives, just pathogens -- I later did make some improvised things that went *bang*, but that was under guidance while a contractor working with U.S. Army Special Forces.

Still, I keep up with relevant literature in infectious diseases and antibiotics. My budget, one of these days, will have room again for the American Public Health Association.

Medical informatics and decision systems

Interdisciplinary alert: computers and health sciences

The Georgetown work started in 1970, and has continued. Among my more recent work is contributing to the architecture of the nursing workflow management system produced by Aionex. I am working with several primary physicians to improve their office charting and electronic medical records, as well as electronic prescribing.

Emergency management and medicine

Somewhat bridging Engineering, Computers and medicine, I've been involved, in a number of ways, in emergency management, ranging from medical disaster plan development and support, to work with the Incident Command System, and having a number of distance learning certificates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

We've really not defined a workgroup for emergency management, so I've been using Engineering; and created CZ: Emergency management Subgroup. Firefighting, aviation and aviation safety, marine navigation and safety, rescue, etc. into the Engineering Workgroup.

I am a member of the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps.

General engineering

It's often an interesting question on what goes into the Engineering Workgroup. So far, I've tended to put things regarding generic equipment packaging, incident command system emergency management, etc., into it. There are enough similarity among engineering disciplines, at least where I have been an approving Editor, that makes it possible to look for good engineering-oriented explanation even if I'm not an expert in the subdiscipline.

Network engineering

My experience with communications standards goes back to the mid-seventies, variously with ISO/CCITT and ANSI to start, especially in network performance. I worked for GTE for a time, and had a good deal of exposure to the internals of telephone networks. As a member of the Federal Telecommunications Standards Committee (1976-1980), I got in at the beginning of what was to become OSI, and also got interested in survivable communications systems, including the (US) National Communications Systems and military networks intended to operate under the most extreme conditions. Those extremes tended to be that the network really needed to operate for 20 minutes or so, but you never knew when the 20 minutes would start, and would just have to cope with network elements randomly turning into mushroom clouds. This tied in with a lifelong interest in politicomilitary history.

Open Systems Interconnection

The FTSC and National Communications System contributed, in the late seventies, to the ANSI Distributed Systems (DISY) architecture, which was a significant input into the OSI architecture. ISO 7498, the basic OSI Reference Model (OSIRM), was published in 1984. Even ignoring the eventual dominance of Internet protocols, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about OSI, because educators generally ignored supplemental ISO documents that clarified ISO 7498.

From 1986 to 1991, I was the first technical staff member at the Corporation for Open Systems, a not-for-profit industry research center for promoting and testing OSI and ISDN protocols. In addition to secretariat work with the various committees, I managed teams working on FTAM and X.25 test systems, and contributed to IEEE 802 test systems. One memorable experience was lecturing about X.25 testing in Japan, and had the horrible realization that my PowerPoint slides, translated into Japanese, had gotten into a different order than my English-language notes.

For around six years of my life, I explained how OSI was the answer, but eventually realized I didn't know the question.

The moving hand writes on the wall: "it's about IP, stupid"

By the early nineties, it was obvious that Internet protocols were indeed the answer, and I started to play in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), North American Network Operators Group (NANOG)and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF).

In the IETF, my main work has been in the Routing (especially BGP/IDR and OSPF) and Operations & Management Areas (especially BMWG & OPSEC), and, more as a lurker, Security and Real-time Applications & Infrastructure Area. I am an author or coauthor of RFC 1912, RFC 2071[2], RFC 2072[3], RFC 4098[4], and was a reviewer or contributor with many others. I've done quite a few tutorials and presentations available at, and was a participant in "Team B" of the IRTF Future Domain Requirements effort[5], which essentially looked at the question "what comes after BGP?" Some of my most satisfying work came when I was first the product line manager for routing protocols in the carrier router group, and then in corporate research at Nortel, both working with standards and operational forums, and designing a next-generation router.

Why network architectures and standards?

The early days of computer networks were dominated by a few large companies such as IBM and DEC. In order promote interoperability and avoid a situation where a small number of vendors predominated, each with their own proprietary technology, it was necessary to introduce a set of open standards defining network protocols.

Another issue addressed by this model is maintaining the level of flexibility needed to adapt when new innovations are introduced. The earliest wide area networks (or WANs) ran over telephone lines and were used to link a small number of facilities.

Today, we rarely think about why Internet access has become so ubiquitous. Still, this is quite a technical achievement: a user may be connected to an Ethernet network, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) or a wireless network in a coffee house. They may also use such diverse methods as DSL, cable, or dialup lines to "get online."

The Truth about Network Reference Models

There is a continuing and frustrating tendency, in Wikipedia articles on network architecture, to treat the OSI model as if it is still used other than as a teaching aid, and to try to “coerce” (using the lovely word choice of my colleague, Priscilla Oppenheimer) Internet Protocol Suite protocols into OSI layers. Layering, as an abstraction, is useful up to a point. It can be overused. An updated IETF architectural document, RFC3439, [6] even contains a section entitled: "Layering Considered Harmful": Emphasizing layering as the key driver of architecture is not a feature of the TCP/IP model, but rather of OSI. Much confusion comes from attempts to force OSI-like layering onto an architecture that minimizes their use.

I have insufficient hair to tear it out whenever I try to explain that the Internet protocol suite was not intended to match OSI, was developed before OSI, the full set of OSI specifications (i.e., not just document ISO 7498) subdivide layers so that it is no longer seven, and that OSI has, in the real world, been relegated to a teaching tool. The Internet Protocol Suite has four layers, defined in RFC1122[7]and no IETF document, as opposed to some nonauthoritative textbooks, say it has five.

No IETF standards-track document has accepted a five-layer model, and IETF documents indeed deprecate strict layering of all sorts. Given the lack of acceptance of the five-layer model by the body with technical responsibility for the protocol suite, it is not unreasonable to regard five-layer presentations as teaching aids, possibly to make the IP suite architecture more familiar to those students who were first exposed to layering using the OSI model. Comparisons between the IP and OSI suites can give some insight into the abstraction of layering, but trying to coerce Internet protocols, not designed with OSI in mind, can only lead to confusion.

Again, RFC1122 defines 4 layers. If anyone can find another IETF document that states the OSI model is followed, please cite it. Further, RFC 1122 was published in 1989, while the OSI Reference Model, ISO 7498, was published in 1984. If the RFC 1122 authors had wanted to be OSI compliant, they had the OSI definitions available to them. They didn't use them. Does that suggest they were not concerned with OSI compliance?

For Internet Protocol Suite architecture, textbooks are not authoritative; the IETF's work, particularly the Standards Track, is definitive for the Internet Protocol Suite. I've written networking textbooks, and, while I might clarify an IETF document, I certainly don't contend that textbooks are more definitive than the actual technical specifications created by expert, not beginning student or teacher, consensus.

Unfortunately not available free online AFAIK, there are ISO documents such as "Internal Organization of the Network Layer" [8], which splits the network layer nicely into three levels, logical (lower-layer agnostic), subnetwork (i.e., link technology) specific, and a mapping sublayer between them. ARP, with which many people struggle, drops perfectly into the mapping (technically subnetwork dependence convergence) between them. Another ISO document, "OSI Routeing [sic] Framework" [9], makes it clear that routing protocols, no matter what protocol carries their payloads, are layer management protocols for the network layer. Annex 4 to ISO 7498 gives the OSI Management Framework [10], with both system management and layer management components.

When the IETF was dealing with MPLS and some other things that "don't quite fit", and some people insisted on calling it "layer 2.5", the reality is that the IETF set up a "Sub-IP Area" and did the original work there. MPLS is now back under the Routing Area. There was also a Performance Implications of Link Characteristics (PILC) working group that has ended its effort, but also deals with sub-IP (archives at

Why is Wikipedia having problems in network topics?

There is a great deal of valuable information on networking at Wikipedia. There is also a great deal of misinformation, partially due to networking experts leaving in frustration with the process of having authoritative definitions constantly changed by editors who found their high school or college textbook conflicted with primary sources or direct experience in developing networks and primary sources.

I'm one of those people. while I'll certainly stay involved in my profession, I've found the frustration of working with Wikipedia on serious network architecture is simply no fun at all. One of the most important real-world issues is that in terms of real-world products and networks, the "7-layer" Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model‎ from the International Organization for Standardization is dead, and the less formal architectural models primarily associated with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) actually define what is done. Unfortunately, most introductory courses and books on networking keep the OSI model as a key part of their presentations, much as, I suppose, Dr. Frankenstein kept his undead monster alive.

If people want to keep insisting that IETF protocols must fit into the OSI reference model, if protocol payloads must be of layer N+1 if their payload is management (e.g., routing) for layer N, that there are five layers in the Internet reference model, may they enjoy themselves. It's not even that I've tried to impose an IP-centric view, although I have linked RFCs specifically saying that strict layering is considered harmful and RFC 1122 chose to ignore ISO 7498; I've even cited more detailed ISO documents -- but people want to keep insisting their incorrect textbooks are more authoritative, or "explain" to me about protocol encapsulation and layering.

In the real world, I've written four books on network engineering, Designing Addressing Architectures for Routing and Switching[11], Designing Routing and Switching Architectures for Enterprise Networks[12], WAN Survival Guide[13], and Building Service Provider Networks[14]. My general sense is that vendor-independent traditional engineering books have a limited market, and I've been concentrating more on online publications. In the past, I've been involved in preparation for Cisco certifications, and still participate in mailing lists.

Financial disclosure: I haven't received any royalties in years from my books, and I no longer write for any profit-making certification training organization.


  1. Walter Goerlitz, History of the German General Staff, 1657-1945
  2. Ferguson, P & H Berkowitz (1997), Network Renumbering Overview: Why would I want it and what is it anyway?, IETF, RFC2071
  3. Berkowitz, H (1997), Router Renumbering Guide, IETF, FDR
  4. Berkowitz, H; E Davies & S Hares et al. (2005), Terminology for Benchmarking BGP Device Convergence in the Control Plane, IETF, RFC4098
  5. Davies E. & Doria A., ed. (2007), Analysis of IDR requirements and History, IETF
  6. Bush, R. & Meyer (2002), Some Internet Architectural Guidelines and Philosophy, IETF, RFC3439
  7. Braden, R (1989), Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Communication Layers, IETF, RFC1122
  8. Internal Organization of the Network Layer, ISO, 1988, ISO 8648
  9. OSI Routeing Framework, ISO, 1995, ISO/TR 9575
  10. Open Systems Interconnection -- Basic Reference Model -- Part 4: Management framework, ISO, ISO7498/4
  11. Berkowitz, Howard C. (1998). Designing Addressing Architectures for Routing and Switching. Indianapolis: Macmillan Technical Publishing. ISBN 1578700590. 
  12. Berkowitz, Howard C. (1999). Designing Routing and Switching Architectures for Enterprise Networks. Indianapolis: Macmillan Technical Publishing. ISBN 1578700604. 
  13. Berkowitz, Howard C. (2000). WAN Survival Guide: Strategies for VPNs and Multiservice Networks. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471384283. 
  14. Berkowitz, Howard C. (2002). Building Service Provider Networks. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471099228.