by Darius Kazemi, Jan 24 2019

In 2019 I'm reading one RFC a day in chronological order starting from the very first one. More on this project here. There is a table of contents for all my RFC posts.

Adding MITRE

RFC-24 is a revision of RFCs 10 and 16, which build on RFC-3. All of these documents attempt to define the scope of an RFC. This one was authored by Steve Crocker on Nov 21, 1969, about a month after the first message was sent over the ARPANET.

The technical content

Here we finally lose the “seems to consist” language that amused me so much in previous RFCs. This is because they finally drop the idea of listing people affiliated with the Network Working Group. It now “consists of interested people from existing or potential ARPA network sites.”

The only other change is that Kim Fry of MITRE.


Mitre was and continues to be a kind of think tank of think tanks. It's similar in a lot of ways to RAND. It is closely aligned with the funding apparatus of the US Department of Defense and was a key player in the US Air Force's SAGE project, which is the closest thing to a spiritual predecessor of ARPANET I could name and is the source of the “computer-filled war room leads to nuclear holocaust” image that's been prevalent in popular culture since the Cold War. Remember SDC? They originated as RAND's internal unit that worked on SAGE. That unit was spun out into SDC, which then did some of the earliest non-packet-switched network computing implementations.

Further reading

I happened across this article about MITRE's attempt to weaponize Chomskyan linguistics circa 1963!

How to follow this blog

You can subscribe to this blog's RSS feed or if you're on a federated ActivityPub social network like Mastodon or Pleroma you can search for the user “@365-rfcs@write.as” and follow it there.

About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm a Mozilla Fellow and I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project.