Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR March 2015 Contents SEA 1000
16 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAR 2015
The RESTRICTED classification is generally used
where there is no need for information to be shared
publicly, even if it has a lesser impact on national
UNCLASSIFIED is used for information which can
be placed in the public domain without any meaningful
impact on national security.
The choice of communication medium depends on the
information’s security classification, distance between
sender and recipients, available pathways and their level
of security, and the form of that information.
For example, a short distance between the sender
and recipient for SECRET or TOP SECRET information
might best be bridged by courier, immortalised by
the despatch riders of 20th century warfare. Even
electronically stored documents could use this method,
although they will need to be scanned at the receiving
site to ensure that they have not been compromised by
unauthorised access. Cryptographic key management
can also require transit of keys by courier.
With the advent of more powerful computing systems,
with security encryption and decryption options
activated, high levels of security can be maintained.
A consideration of the various communications
carriers indicates the levels of security which can be
The courier method is secure as long as there is
no physical molestation or electronic interference with
media that may be being carried.
Optic fibre cabling is generally considered highly
secure as there is little chance of tapping into it without
detection. Defence is a serious user of such cabling
and employ the Secure LinkTM system made by Future
Fibre Technologies Pty Ltd, an Australian firm which has
a patented fibre optic sensor technology designed for a
very unique application - monitoring highly sensitive fibre
optic network cables against physical intrusion, damage
by excavation, as well as unauthorised tampering and
tapping of the fibre optic signal.
SecureLinkTM is specifically used for detecting minute
physical disturbances distributed along the length of a
secure optical fibre cable, ensuring immediate warning
for events purporting to either a security breach or a
potential failure of physical integrity.
One Secure LinkTM system can monitor up to 80km
of fibre optic network, and can pinpoint the location
of where this disturbance is taking place to within 25
Communication over terrestrial cabling requires an
appropriate level of encryption as signals are likely to
pass through multiple electronic exchanges which offer
points of interception.
As soon as signals are transferred by radio waves, no
matter how directional, the possibilities of interception
increase greatly. Defence makes heavy use of encryption
for such communications.
High and very high frequency radio is often the only
communication choice in fast moving tactical situations.
The information passing, particularly in a network
centric warfare environment, means interception is
virtually certain. Given the high bandwidth required for
situational awareness and the sharing of a common
recognised operational picture, the only choice is to
have encryption/decryption capabilities for all radios
Paul Straughair, Raytheon’s Director for C4ISR and
a Royal Australian Signals officer for 28 years, says
”The greatest challenge that the Army faces will be the
transition from an analogue, point-to-point, static, circuit-
based, packet switched communication system ... to a
digital, multi-point, on-the-move, meshed IP network ...”
Voice over secure internet protocol (VOSIP) has
become the de facto standard for securing voice
In June 2012 Raytheon delivered 150 radios and
more than 3000 ancillary items to the DMO for the new
Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS)
radio capability procured under the initial phase of
Joint Project 2072 by the DMO. The far-reaching
capabilities of EPLRS apply to a wide variety of mission
areas. EPLRS is a robust, on-the move, high speed
reliable communication system, capable of distributing
command and control information and the exchange of
air track data as well as artillery fire requests.
Harris Corporation is the other main prime contractor
for Army’s handheld field radios, supplying their
Falcon III combat net radios delivering secure, real-
time information and communication at all points of
need during coordination, combat, and crisis. These
radios offer secure Type-1 tactical voice and data
communications in the VHF range.
The tough environment in which Defence’s radios
operate is exemplified by research showing on average
Defence users dropped or nearly dropped their laptops/
tablets 13 times last year in contrast to 2 times for
general workers. The laptops/tablets of those working
in Defence are subjected to the most stresses/elements
– the top 3 being: direct sunlight (70%), rough handling
(59%) and sand & dust (56%). 89% of units in the field
had hardware failures in the last 5 years compared with
36% for general workers.
One relevant new product for Defence to consider,
identified by APDR, is the 1kg Panasonic Toughpad
FZ-G1 tablet running Windows 8.1, which is ATEX,
IECEx, MI L-STD-810G and IP65 certified. It is resistant
to drops of up to 1.2 metres, humidity, water, dust,
sand, has the ability to operate in extreme hot and cold
temperatures and explosive atmospheres.
Defence has three security levels of networking –
the Defence Secret Network, the Defence Restricted
Network, and public gateways to the internet.
Guidance on maintaining security and integrity of
information in these networks is contained in the
Australian Signals Directorate’s (ASD) Information
Security Manual and through their advice, training and
other assistance to Defence amongst other departments
at federal and state levels.
In their own words “ASD advises the Australian
Government on high-grade cryptographic equipment
and cryptographic modernisation. We make sure
Australia is at the forefront of cryptology by keeping
abreast of emerging equipment and technologies.
“Countering the threat to the security of government
information requires ASD to work closely with the ICT
industry to deliver threat and vulnerability information
and help ASD build capability and expand its capacity
to secure government ICT.”
Encryption standards mean that voice and data
transmissions are usually difficult for an adversary to
decipher within a meaningful time. However, cyber
security vigilance is required to prevent unauthorised
access to computer systems in the various networks to
protect data integrity and avoid exfiltration, or siphoning
off, of clear or easily decrypted data.
Technology refreshes of communications equipment
will be an ongoing requirement to ensure that security
remains at the highest possible levels consistent with
reliable, rapid and complete collection and dissemination
of key data between those authorised to supply and
Australian Army soldier Private Chris Milne receives
a radio call while on patrol with French Armed
Forces soldiers during a rehearsal drill at Champ de
Bataille, New Caledonia.
5/03/2015 4:28 pm
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