PD COMSEC synchronized network security
New project director office unifies network encryption for the Army
By By Leslie Roop
Project Director, Communications Security (PD COMSEC) was established within the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) in 2010 to secure the Army’s networks across the enterprise — from garrison to the tactical edge. PD COMSEC will eliminate stovepipes by integrating network encryption and security efforts across Army organizations.
“What that will do, hopefully, is become a good example of a system of systems approach,” said Lt. Col. Eric Betts, deputy project director for COMSEC. “Everybody has to be secure. Instead of everybody trying to [secure information] in a stovepiped fashion, you have a single program office that will manage all of these different components.”
The PD’s objective is to secure content against access from unauthorized interceptors before it reaches its intended recipients.
Previously, multiple Army organizations procured crypto and key management equipment through a process that lacked strategic planning and execution. Now, PD COMSEC serves as the single “door” between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Army for cryptographic materiel, bringing consistency and efficiency to the process.
“There’s now a central point for interfacing with NSA for procurement of cryptographic and key management material for the Army, “ Betts said. “We’re the door between the Army and NSA for cryptographic material and technical aspects.”
ASA(ALT) created a single management office under PEO C3T to procure Army cryptographic and key management material.
This has yielded cost and process efficiencies while ensuring secure communications for Soldiers and systems.
“The point of (PD COMSEC) is to bring efficiencies and make the execution a little more consistent,” said Betts.
Cryptographic materiel is the “box” that is plugged into a system, and holds the “key” or algorithm that encrypts sensitive information. Key management is the infrastructure that passes that key from the NSA — which sets the algorithm standards to achieve security — through the Army and down to the unit and “box” itself.
Over the long term, PD COMSEC aims to improve the acquisition process for cryptographic products by providing an interface to the NSA and industry for the Army’s communications security requirements.