PD COMSEC keeps the lines open
June 6, 2013
When Joint Program Manager-Guardian (JPM-G) risked not meeting Army Cryptographic Modernization (CM) requirements with their Unified Command Suite (UCS), impacting their ability for rapid response, they turned to Project Director Communications Security (PD COMSEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for support.
The UCS, a large truck outfitted with equipment to provide communications support for federal, state, local and military emergency response elements, utilizes radios, secure and unsecure Internet networks, video conferencing tools and many other communications capabilities.
"JPM-G contacted us in February 2013 to let us know about the problem they were facing," said William Wiesner, the deputy product director for Cryptographic Systems for PD COMSEC. "Trying to keep up with technology is a pretty common problem in today's world"
PD COMSEC was faced with integrating a variety of systems across multiple networks.
"The UCS provides a broad range of secure and non-secure communications across a wide spectrum of emergency responder frequencies for Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (WMD-CST) incident response," said Daniel Sayre, the UCS lead engineer for JPM-G Guardian. "It acts as a common support communications node at an incident site to maintain inter-team and intra-team communications."
The PD COMSEC and its research and development partners in the Communications and Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center (CERDEC) reviewed the legacy COMSEC equipment and developed an upgrade plan for the UCS's integrated cryptographic systems.
"We really wanted to reduce the number of connections and cables the trucks were using," Wiesner said. "Every connection you have in these systems, where you have to plug a cable in, is a possible fail point, so we wanted to reduce those to as few as possible."
Just two and a half months after JPM-G contacted PD COMSEC, a functional test was conducted by CERDEC on the integration scheme which resulted in all the modern cryptographic equipment being able to connect and gain access to the network.
"Now that we've had a positive test out, JPM-G will finalize some of the more intricate aspects of the system integration," Wiesner said. "Once all the details of the integration are finalized, a fielding package will be assembled. This way, JPM-G will be able to centrally order everything they need to fully modernize the trucks."
With the recommended changes the PD COMSEC team has made, the UCS will be completely cryptographically modernized.
"The modern COMSEC equipment selected to upgrade these trucks will meet all the Army requirements and keep these vital trucks on mission," said Wiesner. "They shouldn't need to upgrade their COMSEC equipment for the foreseeable future."