Air Force pushes wireless networking on 33 more bases

Oct. 18, 2005
ASHBURN, Va., 18 Oct. 2005. Leaders at the Department of Defense are cautious to install wireless networks on military bases because of security risks inherent in over-the-air transmission.

ASHBURN, Va., 18 Oct. 2005. Leaders at the Department of Defense are cautious to install wireless networks on military bases because of security risks inherent in over-the-air transmission.

But now Air Force planners are finding success by following the guidelines for WLAN security established last year. After the release of the Defense Department's wireless directive 8100.2, more than 75 air bases worldwide launched wireless initiatives to enhance readiness by increasing the efficiencies of point-of-maintenance and related applications.

Today, more Air Force Commands are following in their path. Seventeen air bases, 15 reserve sites, and one training center are enhancing their readiness postures by reaping the benefits of wireless connectivity.

Telos subsidiary Xacta Corp. has won contracts worth $32 million to design and provide fully integrated secure WLAN (wireless local area network) solutions for this effort.

The contracts include a $16.6 million award from the Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF), a $9.1 million award from the Air Combat Command (ACC), a $5.1 million award from the Air Education Training Command (AETC), a $2 million award from the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), and a $238,000 award from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

The five Air Force contracts embody a broad range of the Xacta WLAN implementations:

* The CENTAF award includes the installation of a secure WLAN solution, as well as Xacta IA Manager, which will provide information assurance and certification and accreditation (C&A) services at eight Air Force sites in Southwest Asia (SWA). The solution will ensure compatibility and interoperability between maintenance and logistics operations in the United States and SWA. The solution will also assist CENTAF in supporting the Air Force Air Expeditionary Forces mission by providing the means to communicate in typically hard-to-wire geographies.

* The ACC award commissions Xacta for the design, integration, installation and support of a secure WLAN solution at Shaw, Tinker, Mountain Home and Dyess Air Force bases. This order expands the number of Xacta WLAN solutions to cover 11 of the total 18 ACC bases. In addition, Xacta will certify and accredit each wireless network by employing Xacta IA Manager as the C&A automation tool. The Xacta WLAN will support the ACC's data communications requirements in support of its mission to be the primary force provider of combat airpower to America's war fighting commands.

* The AETC award includes implementation of five WLANs across the Laughlin, Moody, Sheppard and Columbus Air Force bases, bringing the number of AETC bases covered by the Xacta solution to nine. As with the ACC, Xacta IA Manager will be used to certify and accredit each AETC network. The incorporation of the WLAN solutions will aid in the recruiting, training, and educating of the aerospace force by making training materials available across training center campuses, regardless of wired connection availability.

* The AFRC award is an expansion of existing Xacta WLAN solutions at fifteen Air Force Reserve sites originally installed by Telos under a $5 million contract last year. The new installations will be implemented through the Combat Information Transport Systems (CITS) Program Management Office (PMO) to ensure compliance with all Air Force policies and architecture guidelines. The AFRC supports the Air Force mission to defend the nation through control and exploitation of air and space by supporting global engagement.

* The OSI contract provides for the installation of Xacta's WLAN solution at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. The scope of the contract includes the integration and installation of wireless access points, network infrastructure, servers, and additional equipment to provide secure network access in necessary buildings on the FLETC campus. The WLANs will allow students to attend required training for their law enforcement duties, supporting OSI's primary responsibility to provide criminal investigations and counterintelligence services to commanders of Air Force activities.

Xacta's WLAN solutions include Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)-compliant encryption, enabling Air Force users in remote or hard-to-wire locations to access databases, information and applications just as if they were connected to a wired enterprise LAN. In applications that include flight-line maintenance, asset tracking and inventory management, users may enter and review data in real time, permitting them to make faster, more informed decisions at critical moments. The solutions also shorten the time required to reach and maintain operational readiness by providing personnel with access to online technical manuals and other network resources while working remotely from air fields and flight lines.

Directive 8100.2 requires any new military purchase of wireless equipment and services for unclassified data to use encryption. Xacta has met this rigid requirement for the Air Force with campus-style WLANs that operate over a FIPS 140-2 certified VPN to meet DOD's encryption requirements.

"Absolute security is critical for the Air Force's adoption of wireless technology, as compromise of classified messages and data is completely unacceptable," says Richard P. Tracy, chief security officer for Telos.

"The adoption of our product by the nation's military underscores the high level of security guaranteed by our WLAN solutions and it highlights our commitment to the development and implementation of products that meet and exceed the defense community's requirements."

Implementation of these Air Force contracts adds to Xacta's secure WLAN product group's existing deployment of wireless solutions at more than 75 air bases around the world for point-of-maintenance and related applications.

Telos Corp. has provided innovative IT solutions and services to the federal government for more than 30 years. Telos and Xacta Corp., its subsidiary for security solutions, have since 1989 ensured that the government's most security-conscious organizations comply with demanding federal and DoD information security mandates. Xacta's offerings include enterprise IT security management solutions, enterprise security consulting services, secure wireless networking, enterprise messaging, and secure credentialing solutions. Its solutions are represented to the federal government on Telos' GSA schedule. For more information, see

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!