Challenges remain in evolving VoIP to more secure SIPR-based environment

Army lacks enterprise-level view for VoSIP

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.— Army voice communications are on the “threshold of a transformational change,” said Steven Schliesman, chief of the Technical Management Division, project manager, Network Service Center under Program Executive Office Electronic Information Systems. That change involves the evolution of voice over IP (VoIP) to VoIP for secure networks, which is known as VoSIP.

There are 50,000 users in the Defense Department VoSIP environment, but the vast majority are at the tactical level in Iraq and Afghanistan. Back at CONUS (Continental US), the VoSIP disappears, leading to a breakdown in secure voice communications between CONUS and the operational theaters.

“Presently, the Army lacks an enterprise-level view for VoSIP that provides centralized management, and appropriate planning, implementation, operation, maintenance and funding that is also aligned with the Global Network Enterprise Construct,” said Schliesman.

There are a number of additional challenges related to VoSIP, said Schliesman. “VoSIP deployment is dependent on the availability of the [Secret IP Router] infrastructure, which in CONUS may not be as far along as it is elsewhere. In addition, VoSIP usage is expanding, and there is a desire to use a single desk phone that would accommodate connectivity to both classified and wireless networks, and would support secure and nonsecure communications.”

Arguably the greatest challenge is that there is no single, authoritative voice for VoIP in the Army. Unlike the strong vision that has been expressed for data transmission over the network, there is nothing like that for voice.

“Who is the proponent for voice, and how do we get our architecture solidified, like we’re doing in the data world?”

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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