Kristen Kushiyama, CERDEC Public Affairs, writing about the Army finally starting to focus on cyber strategy in tactical environments, an area traditionally overlooked:

The Army identified that it needs to make advances in several Army-unique problem sets. One such area is the Army’s tactical operations center, where military specific operations occur. While its enterprise level network is similar to commercial businesses, the tactical network faces military-unique defensive and offensive challenges.

Tactical networks have limited bandwidth with high-bit error rates, high latency, intermittent connectivity, and roaming infrastructure and users.

“On top of that, you have other related data like mission command data that are passing over these very limited bandwidth channels to begin with. Any security you pass over these channels degrades what other traffic they can send,” said Steven Lucas, chief engineer, CERDEC Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, Cyber Security and Information Assurance Division.

The Army is unique in that it operates for extended periods within adversarial environments.

“We’re highly reliant on distributed communications systems, which are more prone to interception because you are in close proximity to the enemy within radio line of sight range,” Bertoli said.

Historically, tactical environments are the weakest area for cyber security because of the reasons Bertoli mentions. It is good to see the Army taking a close look at area and strengthening cyber defenses in a much needed area.