[ISN] Army securing wireless LAN

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Mar 13 2002 - 01:18:13 PST

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    By Dan Caterinicchia 
    March 12, 2002
    The Army this week announced that it has selected a security solution
    to protect the mission-critical business systems of the Combat Service
    Support Automated Information System Interface (CAISI) project, a
    wireless local-area network with about 85,000 users.
    The Army has awarded Fortress Technologies a three-year
    "multimillion-dollar" contract for its AirFortress wireless security
    suite, said Janet Kumpu, chief operating officer of the firm.
    "CAISI is a multiyear, wireless LAN program that will provide 'last
    mile' connectivity between the combat service support computers on the
    tactical battlefield and the wireless LAN that the Army provides,"  
    said Peter Johnson, chief information officer in the Army's Program
    Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS).
    PEO EIS, which provides IT acquisition, implementation and training
    for the Army, evaluated several security solutions based on criteria
    that included level of security, ease of use, network performance,
    mobility and total cost of ownership.
    CAISI will most benefit areas that lack Internet or LAN connectivity
    -- such as motor pools and supply rooms -- by "giving them that level
    of connectivity," Johnson said. "The real value is in the computers
    we're connecting."
    The AirFortress system will enable CAISI to provide secure wireless
    connectivity to support information technology for supply chain
    management, maintenance and other Army business systems, Johnson said,
    adding that deployment will begin within 60 days.
    The AirFortress suite, designed for networks based on the 802.11b
    standard, has three components:
    * Wireless Security Gateways - appliances that enforce network access
      rights and encrypt and decrypt communication across a wireless LAN.
    * Secure Client - a software client that encrypts and decrypts
      communication across wireless LANs and protects wireless devices
      against attacks.
    * Access Control Server - a software application database that
      monitors and manages the authentication and access control of
      wireless clients.
    Defense Department policy prohibits agencies from operating wireless
    LANs without certified strong security, so "without our solution, they
    couldn't deploy the [CAISI] program," Kumpu said. "They haven't been
    able to use wirele
    ss at all [and] had to go back to wired [communications] until they
    solved the security issues."  The company already has shipped the
    first units to the Army for staging and testing, and an initial field
    launch is scheduled for next month. The original agreement called for
    6,000 of the Wireless Security Gateways, deploying 2,000 units per
    year for three years, but the Army may accelerate that, Kumpu said.
    The Army formally selected the AirFortress solution in January, said
    John Dow, Fortress' vice president of marketing and corporate
    development. He said the technology can be integrated into the Army's
    already-designed wireless LAN infrastructure within an hour, but
    because multiple modules and rollouts have to meet the service's
    "diligent" staging and testing processes, full deployment will take
    about one month.
    In related news, Northrop Grumman Information Technology has awarded
    General Dynamics Decision Systems a contract to provide the Army
    Program Manager, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (PM, WIN-T)  
    with wireless secure LAN capabilities.
    The program includes options that would bring the total value to $83.4
    million, with General Dynamics' portion valued at $64.9 million,
    according to the company. Of the total initial award, valued at $8.9
    million, General Dynamics' portion is $4 million.
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