Army National Guard fires up secure wireless network

The US Army National Guard has placed wireless security in its sights with the launch of its Tactical Logistics Data Digitization (TLDD) project which aims to create a military-class wireless network.

The mission of the Tactical TLDD Project is to provide Army equipment operators with rapid digital access to technical data on the battlefield, at the motor pool, and at the schoolhouse. By ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the data required in the parts ordering process, TLDD aims to facilitate a "significant reduction" in operator ordering errors.

The commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) project pilot is valued at $2.1 million and will take place at five US Army bases: Fort Indiantown Gap - PA, Fort Hood -TX, Fort Polk - LA, Fort Irwin - CA, and Camp Shelby - MS.

The TLDD wireless LAN will consist of FIPS 140-2 - validated wireless access points that conform to the Federal Information Processing Standards security requirements for cryptographic modules. In addition it will include laptops with network interface cards, and encryption software which have been certified for Department of Defense use.

The system uses ruggedized access points built to withstand operation in harsh environments, which have been developed by LAN infrastructure and application firm 3eTI. The APs provide extended coverage (2,000+ feet range) and employ 128/192/256 bit AES encryption for robust wireless security.

The implementation is designed to assist the National Guard in the organisation and operating maintenance of mechanised armour and motor pool vehicles. The 802.11 WLAN will provide mobile network access for technicians and repair work within maintenance bays at each site.

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