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CHIPS Articles: Editor's Notebook, January-March 2012

Editor's Notebook, January-March 2012
A Short History of CHIPS
By Sharon Anderson - January-March 2012
Many times I am asked why the Department of the Navy's IT magazine is named "CHIPS." The CHIPS name represents the microchip. When CHIPS first began publication 30 years ago, desktop technology was just rolling out across the DON and Defense Department and the mighty microchip was the single most important technology breakthrough bringing computing power to individuals. It may seem hard to believe, but 30-plus years ago, only government agencies and large companies could afford the computing power that individuals now have at their fingertips.

If you can remember typing computer instructions at the MS-DOS "C Prompt" — you can appreciate just how far the DON has come in computing power and security with the advent of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet in 2000.

The first issue of CHIPS was published in 1982 by the Navy Regional Data Automation Center (NARDAC). It was distributed as a newsletter titled "Chips Ahoy." The Ahoy portion of the name was dropped later — for obvious reasons — even though we thought of the name first!

Chips Ahoy was electronically mailed to an incredibly small IT community of 2,500 Navy personnel, and it was the first electronic magazine delivered as an ASCII text edition mailed over the Defense Data Network (DDN) to 250 host administrators in 1987, preceding the World Wide Web by seven years.

From its inception, the CHIPS motto has been to "Share Information, Technology, Experience." Early editions of CHIPS featured instructions for such software applications as dBase and Harvard Graphics and user forums for government off-the-shelf software (GOTS) and the Ada programming language. From its humble beginnings, CHIPS provided all-important information about the DON IT Umbrella program of contracts for software applications and hardware to speed the deployment of desktop technology across the Navy and Defense departments at the best possible prices.

In April 1991, NARDAC merged with Naval Communication Area Master Station Atlantic to form the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic, and CHIPS was realigned under NCTAMS LANT. Another realignment followed in February 2000, with CHIPS moving under the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Charleston (Charleston was changed to Atlantic in 2008).

In 1999, the DON Chief Information Officer and SPAWAR entered into a memorandum of understanding to jointly sponsor CHIPS. Through the changes, there are many constants: CHIPS still reports the all-important information about IT enterprise contracts, but now through the DoD Enterprise Software Initiative; Moore's Law, which states that the chip gets smaller about every 18 months, still holds true, and CHIPS continues to deliver on its founding motto.

Now in its 30th year of publication, CHIPS comes full circle back to its digital roots. This edition will be the last CHIPS that will be printed and mailed. In the spirit of the DoD and DON cost-savings and efficiencies initiatives, CHIPS will be published in digital format only — please continue to enjoy CHIPS online at We will keep to our quarterly publishing schedule so please continue to write and email your articles to

Many thanks to CHIPS' writers and longtime subscribers for your loyalty over the last 30 years.

Cover of Chips Ahoy, 1982
Cover of Chips Ahoy, 1982

Cover of CHIPS' 10th Anniversary Issue, 1992
Cover of CHIPS' 10th Anniversary Issue, 1992

Cover of CHIPS' Spring 2001 NMCI Special Edition Issue
Cover of CHIPS' Spring 2001 NMCI Special Edition Issue

Cover of CHIPS' 20th Anniversary Issue
Cover of CHIPS' 20th Anniversary Issue
Related CHIPS Articles
Related DON CIO Policy

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
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