Troops in remote regions around the world often struggle to operate with limited networks for data sharing and communication—an encumbrance that is amplified when soldiers need to share classified or otherwise secure data with each other and with coalition partners. The usual process for sharing such information requires an end-to-end connection to secure servers located across the world via a dedicated digital “pipe” approved for the specific security level of data being transmitted. When that tactical network is unreliable or a hiccup causes a break in the digital chain, the message or data is lost and the process must be restarted and repeated until a connection is completed, hindering the mission in fast-moving tactical situations. Additionally, the current computers and infrastructure needed to manage multiple levels of U.S. classified and coalition information are too bulky for tactical use in the field and can take months or longer to deploy.
To overcome this challenge, the Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) program aims to enable the exchange of information at multiple levels of security classification on a single handheld device. SHARE would use a resilient secure network that links handheld devices without needing to route traffic through secure data centers. This capability would operate over existing commercial and military networks while maintaining the security of sensitive information and safety of operations.
To achieve this vision, the SHARE program focuses on three areas of research: technologies and policy tools for distributed tactical security management on handheld devices; networking technologies based on resilient and secure architectures that work in challenging environments; and software that rapidly configures security across the network. Because SHARE is primarily driven by software development on existing handheld devices, timely transition for operational use is also envisioned. To that end, SHARE seeks to maintain close engagement with the handheld user community of interest to obtain meaningful feedback regarding the ability of SHARE to support tactical-edge information sharing.
The objective of the SHARE program is to demonstrate secure exchange of information at multiple levels of classification over unsecured military and commercial networks (e.g., Wi-Fi and cellular) using a heterogeneous mix of devices—from tactical radios to laptops to handheld devices. Still in the early stages of development and slated to run through 2020, SHARE plans on interim demonstrations leading up to its final system configuration and larger scale experimentation in conjunction with large force coalition exercises.
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