DISA releasing heavy-duty suite for mobile classified comm

Defense Department users will now have mobile access to classified voice, video and data communications from any Internet connection, even if that level of security does require carrying some extra weight.

The Defense Information Systems Agency has made the DOD Enterprise Classified Travel Kit Gateway (DECTK-GW), previously available to only a few users, available throughout the department, DISA said in an announcement. High-level officials, of course, will be the most likely users.

The gateway enables a virtual private network connection to DOD’s Secret IP Router Network and allows users to make classified voice calls through DISA’s Enterprise Classified Voice over IP service.

What makes it all work is a support kit, which is where the weight comes in. Two kits currently are approved: the 18-pound Executive Voice Kit, which lets users make classified calls or access the SIPRNet; and the 12-pound Executive Communications Kit, which enables concurrent classified voice and data use. A third kit undergoing testing is the Secure Flyaway Kit, which will allow concurrent voice, video, and data use and will check in at 19 pounds. DISA expects it to be approved by fourth quarter of this fiscal year.

All of the kits use High Assurance IP Encryptor (HAIPE) devices, which are Type 1 encryption devices that comply with National Security Agency specifications. With a kit, a user can connect to DECTK infrastructure, hosted at the Defense Enterprise Computing Center, via a hard Ethernet connection, the kit’s built-in wireless broadband router or a USB modem air card. The user would then use a crypto ignition key and a username and password for voice service, or a SIPRNet hard token for data access.

The DECTK-GW kits will replace the Executive Voice Kits developed and managed by the Joint Communications Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Those voce-only kits—whose creation was prompted by a failed 2012 phone call between President Obama, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey—have been used by senior leaders and to support communications during relief efforts such as those following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

DISA said it will transition JSCE users to the new infrastructure over the next two months, and then begin taking on new customers.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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