Data Encryption Is Critical For Modern Armies

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Modern network cryptographic key technologies will be critical to the US Army’s effort of protecting tactical network communications from the prying eyes of potential adversaries. To cope with such threats, the US Special Forces have received a cyber support device, the Tactical Key Loader (TKL) cryptographic key device, which answers the Army’s call for the Next Generation Load Device-Small (NGLD-S), provides critical command and control of emergency, time sensitive and secure communications during Special Forces missions.

The device is a smaller, faster version of the Simple Key Loader (SKL), which is currently fielded across the Army. It provides capabilities such as a smaller and dimmer screen to reduce detection during nighttime operations. The US military Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) completed fielding of the device in March to Army Special Operations Forces, under US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), according to

“The Army uses National Security Agency Type 1 cryptographic keys to encrypt the data, which ensures unauthorized individuals can’t access the information,” said Jeremy Pilkington, deputy product leader. “These keys are loaded onto tactical radios, secure phone, network encryptors, and data storage devices, and can store up to 40 tactical and 80 strategic keys.”

The cryptographic keys are vital to protect the contents of classified communications, he said. Made for small-unit teams on patrol, the device’s enhanced battery capability provides 40-hours of uninterrupted crypto key performance. Once the device is set up, the user only has to push one button to fill the key slots. The process is further streamlined because Soldiers only take the keys they need on patrol versus taking their entire database. If for some reason communications devices such as radios become compromised, the whole structure isn’t completely compromised. 

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