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TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. ·

Deployable Communication Systems

Bridging the Gap with COTS-Integrated Solutions

9/2003 © 2003 TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.


© 2003 TeleCommunication Systems, Incorporated. All rights reserved. No part of this White Paper, including text, diagrams, or icons, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of TeleCommunication Systems, Incorporated. Note to U.S. Government Users Documentation related to restricted right - use, duplication, or disclosure by the Government is subject to restrictions set forth in subparagraphs (a) through (d) of the Commercial Computer - Restricted Rights clause at FAR 52.227-19 when applicable, or in subparagraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software clause at DFARS 252.227-7013, and in similar clauses in the NASA FAR Supplement. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. TeleCommunication Systems, Incorporated may have patents or pending patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. The furnishing of this document does not give you license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property. Please send licensing inquiries to: TeleCommunication Systems, Incorporated, 275 West Street, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401.


Enabling Convergent Technologies and SwiftLink are registered trademarks of TeleCommunication Systems, Incorporated. All rights reserved. All other trademarks, logos and service marks are property of their respective owners.

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© 2003 TeleCommunication Systems, Inc.


Table of Contents

THE EVOLUTION OF NETWORK-CENTRIC FORCES...................................................................1 FAST CHANGING REQUIREMENTS VERSUS GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT...................1 THE COTS SOLUTION...........................................................................................................................2 TCS' ROLE ................................................................................................................................................3 CONCLUSION..........................................................................................................................................4 REFERENCES ...........................................................................................................................................5


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List of Acronyms

COTS GAN ISDN JTRS Kbps Mbps NIPRNET NOC NSA SDN Lite SIPRNET SNG SOF SPAWAR TCS VOIP Commercial-off-the-Shelf Global Area Network Integrated Services Digital Network Joint Tactical Radio System Kilobits Per Second Megabits Per Second Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network Network Operations Center National Security Agency Special Operations Forces Deployable Node Lite Secret Internet Protocol Router Network Satellite News Gathering Special Operations Forces Space and Naval Warfare TeleCommunication Systems Voice-over-Internet-Protocol


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The Evolution of Network-Centric Forces

The movement and control of tactical information has never before been more important to the success of military missions. Advanced mobile and wireless networking technologies are putting critical data at the fingertips of military commanders and troops, enabling forces to successfully carry out their missions. In order to take full advantage of the benefits afforded by the advancement of technology, the U.S. government has been strategically transitioning from a platform-centric force to a network-centric force. Network-centric force refers to a military force that utilizes various networking technologies combined with mobile communication systems to maintain uninterrupted, secure and reliable connections resulting in superior tactical intelligence and logistics information. As the U.S. military transitions to a network-centric force, it is increasingly important for soldiers to have communication systems that support mission size, weight, and bandwidth requirements. Although vast improvements in commercial system miniaturization have led to much smaller and lighter products, the U.S. government has typically been slow in procuring new commercial technologies that meet the size, weight and networking capacity needs of today's war fighters. The U.S. government has unequivocally acknowledged that it has been plagued by a number of challenges in procuring the necessary technology solutions. The Department of Defense (DoD) March 2001 Report to Congress on Network-centric Warfare states that, "while DoD is proud of our accomplishments to date, we are not putting in place quickly enough the `infostructure' necessary to support network-centric warfare and to facilitate and encourage further innovation." This is because the military has traditionally operated with requirementsbased development, lengthy production cycle times, and constantly changing requirements. Whereas the government operates on a five to seven year cycle, the commercial sector typically produces new mobile technology every 18 months. Therefore, the commercial sector is producing technology five to eight evolutions ahead of the government. In order to enable Future Force strategies, the U.S. government must take a harder look at current procurement practices and explore even more effective alternatives. By adopting a rapid migration plan for new technologies that integrates commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions with military-qualified, secure communication components such as NSA Type I encryption, the government can most effectively provide state-of-the-art communication capabilities for its military. COTS solutions take advantage of commercial competition, infrastructure and speed, while maintaining stringent government security requirements. Following is a summary of government procurement recommendations for integrating COTS tactical communication system products with government-certified encryption modules. Although beyond the scope of this paper, these recommendations can also apply to softwaredefinable radio waveforms and the integration of COTS products with programs such as Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS).

Fast Changing Requirements Versus Government Procurement

The DoD realizes that 21st century warfare means that threats can appear suddenly and without warning. Diverse missions are increasingly driving the need for high-bandwidth, extended range, on-the-move communications. Simply put, the rapid ability to exchange data in real-time increases mission success probability. Today, commercially available 1

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terrestrial and satellite bandwidth availability is sufficient, however size and weight of currently fielded government communication systems limit mobility and capacity. As a result, current expectations for new mobile communication systems now emphasize size and weight over networking performance. In today's commercial markets there are products that provide effective performance with excellent size and weight results. Government users should expect equipment that provides adequate capacity in small packages. The military wants communication systems that offer man-portable or two-man flyaway configurations, meet global reach-back requirements and interface with secure networking components. The U.S. Army definition of man-portable is "less than 40 pounds, or capable of being broken into sub-assemblies for two soldiers, with each soldier carrying no more than 40 pounds."1 Flyaway systems are transportable, but not man-portable. They are designed so that they can be assembled and disassembled easily, put in a transit case and transported on a plane or in a vehicle. Man-portable and flyaway systems provide the strategic advantage of being operable in situations that require highly mobile, at-the-halt, pop-up and connect user scenarios. These deployable communication systems must meet reach-back requirements that are flexible enough to provide as many communication options as possible, including terrestrial circuits or satellite circuits or a combination of both. When compared to the private sector, the government has historically been at a disadvantage in the procurement of state-of-the-art communication systems. Government procurement procedures have not been efficient for a number of reasons, including requirements-based development, legacy system integration and maintenance (see discussion below). New user needs, caused by the transformation from a platform-centric force to a network-centric force, have also drawn attention to the arduous process. Cost, security, longer shelf life and unique requirements have put military communication systems behind the commercial sector in building and utilizing the most advanced technology. Requirements-based development entails finding solutions that were designed and developed specifically for military usage. Requirements-based development significantly increases a product's time-to-field and often has diminishing returns. The solutions resulting from this process have quickly proven out-of-date. The military has also struggled with integrating newer technology with existing legacy systems. Although many commercial firms have found solutions to this challenge, the military still experiences significant problems. Technology has enabled fewer people to do the same jobs more efficiently. With the number of troops decreasing, there is more reliance on technology and therefore bandwidth needs are increasing exponentially. Less than a decade ago, capability requirements in the military were not elaborate, with 2.4 Kbps to 9.6 Kbps as widely accepted transmission speeds. As a result it could take hours to transmit data and even days or sometimes weeks to get up and running. Today a soldier needs swift, reliable access to bandwidth ranging from 64 Kbps to two Mbps.

The COTS Solution

The rapidly mobile forces of the future will continue to require the most advanced access to real and near-real time information from anywhere at anytime. With well-trained, mobile forces and rapidly deployable communication systems, the military is striving to respond robustly and quickly to conflicts. Recent successful missions using COTS deployable communication systems have raised the bar and generated a change in the demand of the components' make-up. Officials have noted that the competitive market is producing solutions that meet military mission objectives and are quicker to market. The solution to the

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government's procurement challenge, therefore, lies in integrating COTS mobile and wireless networking equipment and military-qualified, secure components. COTS products allow for rapid development time, shorter production cycles, interoperability with legacy systems, wider availability of software applications and ease of maintenance (since replacement parts can be quickly procured). COTS solutions are desirable because they can take advantage of the competition in the commercial market that produces state-ofthe-art technology, while being quick to market and cost effective. Current commercial reach-back capabilities incorporate Inmarsat networks for high-speed data as well as satellite news gathering (SNG) technologies for multimedia. Now, Inmarsat GAN networks allow for circuits of not only 64 Kbps, but also support 128 Kbps and 256 Kbps connections.

TCS' Role

For the past 16 years, TCS has provided the U.S. government and military with proven, highly reliable, secure communication systems. With extensive knowledge of government requirements and procedures, TCS' solutions integrate COTS equipment with government certified encryption components to provide remote Voice-over-IP (VOIP), video and data reach-back communications. Whether used by U.S. Special Operations Forces, the FBI or the U.S. Secretary of State, TCS has successfully enabled secure, critical communications in the most unpredictable circumstances. The key to TCS' success is its ability to continually design and integrate next-generation communication technologies with cutting-edge engineering solutions. TCS designed the SwiftLink® deployable communication system as the solution to the government's requirements for reach-back to SIPRNET and secure voice/video applications from anywhere at anytime. With several models available, SwiftLink systems meet critical military requirements by delivering high-speed, high-capacity communication capabilities in small, portable packages such as the SwiftLink 2300 backpack model. These systems are designed to operate reliably and safely in adverse weather conditions, including driving rain, snow, sand, dust, and temperatures from ­40C to +50C. In order to describe the significant capabilities of the SwiftLink systems, their features should be compared with the functionality needs of the user. SwiftLink 2100 systems, adopted by SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare) as the SOF Deployable Node Lite (SDN Lite), are deployable and specifically designed to operate quickly, out-of-the-box. After a brief training session, system set-up takes less than ten minutes. The components of each system--including an Inmarsat M4 high-speed satellite terminal, an ISDN terminal adaptor, laptop, encryption device, and system routerare all contained within one rolling case. Each component of the system is mounted into the case for both functionality and protection. With a weight of 53 pounds and dimensions of standard carryon luggage, SwiftLink 2100 systems are easily transportable by a single individual traveling by aircraft, automobile, train or ship. The components and configuration of every SwiftLink model are customizable to meet individual needs. These systems enable users to access the same applications in the field as they would in the office, including voice, email, Intranet, Extranet, Internet, video conferencing, file transfer, and Microsoft® Office software. SwiftLink systems have wide-ranging and reliable reach-back capabilities. These reach-back capabilities allow the user to selectively access the Internet, SIPRNET or NIPRNET, providing unparalleled access to information while maintaining the highest security and delivery assurance mechanisms.

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Since TCS realizes that the project isn't over when the product is delivered, it provides customer and technical support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The TCS Network Operations Center (NOC) team, comprised of engineering, network and configuration experts, uses preplanned and documented processes, policies and procedures to assist customers as needed.


Within the last five years, battlefield technology requirements have expanded immensely, with a demonstrated need for state-of-the-art, rapidly deployable communication systems. No matter how remote, military personnel need to be equipped with mobile communication technologies that meet the size, weight and bandwidth requirements for exchanging crucial and private communications with their commanders. The U.S. military can achieve a digitized battlefield and a thoroughly modernized approach to network-centric warfare by utilizing COTS-integrated solutions such as TCS' SwiftLink®. SwiftLink is a state-of-the-art deployable communication system that integrates COTS mobile and wireless network equipment with secure, military-quality components. With SwiftLink's encrypted voice, video teleconferencing and data capabilities, soldiers have immediate access to sensitive information, staff and infrastructure services--anytime, anywhere. For more information about TCS' SwiftLink family of products please call 1-877-223-1188 or email [email protected]

TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. Headquarters 275 West Street Annapolis, MD 21401 Tampa Office 2909 Bay to Bay Boulevard Tampa, FL 33629

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Bruch, M.H., Laird, R.T., and H.R. Everett, "Challenges for deploying man-portable robots into hostile environments," SPIE Proc. 4195: Mobile Robots XV, Boston, MA, November 5-8, 2000. [PDF (2509 KB)]

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