NT in the Field

Really in the field!

Windows NT isn't only for desk-jockeys in corporate America. It runs just as well on the battlefield as in your home or office.

California Microwave, a government defense contractor, works with the US military to provide field systems and networks for rapid deployment in military exercises (and in real combat). The NT systems of choice are portables from FieldWorks. California Microwave upgrades both hardware and software and turns these portables into the Communi-
cations Gateway System-100 Lite (CGS-100 Lite), a portable version of the larger CGS-100. The CGS-100 Lite supports worldwide power and communications standards.

Each military organization or unit has a unique messaging protocol and standards, so these organizations have trouble talking with each other while maintaining security. Up to now, the military has used innumerable paper forms and typewriters (and recently, computers) to maintain such security, but this solution didn't solve the problem of field deployment.

The CGS-100 Lite bridges the gap between the military's old Automated Digital Network (AUTODIN) and emerging communications standards that are similar to commercial email. The CGS-100 Lite system mimics the old-fashioned, time-consuming military paper trail by accepting data in any format and converting it to any other format, regardless of the communications protocols used. This capability reduces the number of personnel needed for units and organizations to communicate with each other. And personnel reduction is important in this age of government downsizing.

California Microwave created custom software for communication between units--field personnel can receive information to help accomplish their missions, no matter what the source format is or where it is coming from. With the CGS-100 Lite, users type in free text, tell the system what format to use, and the CGS-100 Lite generates the forms. So, from anywhere in the Department of Defense, this system can get you into the government network and enable information flow. (The system doesn't handle the radio transmissions, but it does handle the protocols, such as the USMPF transmission format.)

With these systems in the field, troops can set up networks to coordinate their missions, track troop movement, and exchange information--troops are always in touch. The US Navy uses this system to monitor fleet broadcasts (a worldwide encrypted messaging infrastructure ensures that Navy ships and personnel are never out of command and control contact). The CGS-100 Lite monitors these broadcasts until it recognizes an address. Then the system retrieves and stores the message and alerts the user about the message. Navy Seals also use these systems for coordinating activity in the field. The machines are specially modified to withstand severe environmental hazards, so the Seals can mount them on personnel carriers (such as Hummers) or carry the computers directly into a combat zone.

What does this technology have to do with Windows NT? The US Government is moving to the Defense Messaging Service (DMS), an encrypted network that emulates commercial email with X.400 and X.500 functionality, but without the security holes that you see on the Internet. With DMS, anyone can talk to anyone from anywhere, if they can prove that they are who they say they are. People can receive any information or message, and security is built in to keep people from getting data they shouldn't have access to. Windows NT's built-in networking and C2-level security mean that California Microwave had to write less code and do less testing to build a military-approved secure messaging system. And, when NT receives B-level security approval, it will be the ideal platform for the DMS. (The National Security Agency has let out contracts to help Microsoft achieve this.) In addition, Microsoft was on the contract team at Loral Corporation (a defense contractor) to develop the DMS standard and is now working on a DMS version of Exchange.

Pack your gear--you're going in!

Contact Info
California Microwave * 818-992-8000
TAGS: Security
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