ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (January 8, 2014) -- Many Soldiers are familiar with the process of going through deployment lines and being issued authorized gear for the front lines. Common gear includes backpacks, body armor and rifles, but the Cryptographic Systems (CS) team is hoping to include another item on that list: cryptographic equipment.

The Project Director, Communications Security (PD COMSEC) team is working with its Army partners to bring cryptographic equipment into the standard process for authorization, ordering, and fielding equipment to soldiers.

CS sought to transform how the Army views cryptographic equipment.

"This equipment was treated as a non-standard piece of equipment for so long," said Dennis Teefy, the Product Director (PdD) for Cryptographic Systems (CS) at PD COMSEC. "We set out to change the culture for our community and our users."

PD COMSEC started small by picking a single encryption device to be used as a test model.

"It took nearly two years to work through the authorization process, but we can now field an encrypter, used to secure data on the Army network, to units as a standard piece of equipment," Teefy said. "We have numerous systems going through the authorization process now, but originally it was important to focus on one item so people got used to treating cryptographic systems as they would any other piece of equipment."

The team was able to refine the process and reduce the amount of time necessary to receive approval for other projects.

"The follow on items are now flying through the authorization development system because everyone understands what we are doing," he said. "We've used the established process to demonstrate that COMSEC items are standardized pieces of equipment that uses the Army's standardized acquisition and logistics systems ."

The team hopes to bring all cryptographic systems into the Army's standard logistics systems by 2016.

With the changes bringing cryptographic systems into standard logistics systems, the Army will see secondary positive impacts on troops downrange.

"Another big thing on the battlefield we considered was compatibility," said Dennis Rotenberry, a logistics system analyst with PD COMSEC. "We knew if we continue to standardize the equipment, the Army could go out and procure these systems, and we can make sure that everyone is able to communicate. Standardization removes the threat of incompatible systems being used on the battlefield."