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Security policies deny soldiers access to critical information, army contends.

The Army's latest advances in networking technology are being slowed by security policies that restrict soldiers' access to information, officials say.

A case in point is the Army's "land warrior Land Warrior was a United States Army program, cancelled in 2007,[1][2] that would have used a combination of commercial, off-the-shelf technology (COTS) and current-issue military gear and equipment designed to:
" communications system In telecommunication, a communications system is a collection of individual communications networks, transmission systems, relay stations, tributary stations, and data terminal equipment (DTE) usually capable of interconnection and interoperation to form an integrated whole.  that connects a small group of soldiers into a command-and-control network. The Army has spent more than a decade and billions of dollars on this program and halted it two years ago after numerous failures and because the equipment was too heavy. It later redesigned the system, made it lighter, and decided to keep it alive because troops in combat were finding it useful.

The most valuable feature of land warrior is that it shows the location of a soldier on soldier on
Verb

to continue one's efforts despite difficulties or pressure
 a digital eyepiece Eyepiece

A lens or optical system which offers to the eye the image originating from another system (the objective), at a suitable viewing distance. The image can be virtual.
 monitor, so troops can keep track of each other without using voice communications, say Army officials. They can also exchange text messages, maps and other critical battlefield data.

Under National Security Agency policies, the land warrior network is a Type 1 classified device, so users require a secret clearance to be able to operate it. That means every land warrior soldier must have a clearance. The Army currently has a waiver, but only on a temporary basis.

Army officials contend these restrictive policies undermine their efforts to improve connectivity and access to critical information for troops in combat. Because all military networks are considered classified, deployed soldiers must obtain waivers to access essential information such as blue-force tracking data and the location of their fellow soldiers.

It is impractical for every soldier and marine to have a security clearance to tap into databases they use in day-today operations, says Brig Brig, town, Switzerland
Brig (brēk), Fr. Brigue, town, Valais canton, S Switzerland, on the Rhône River, at the north entrance of the Simplon Tunnel.
. Gen. Peter N. Fuller, the Army's program executive officer for soldier equipment.

"NSA NSA
abbr.
National Security Agency

Noun 1. NSA - the United States cryptologic organization that coordinates and directs highly specialized activities to protect United States information systems and to produce foreign
 still says that everything I do is classified," Fuller says in an interview. "Army and Marines have been arguing for a long time with NSA. Not everything we do is a national security secret."

The NSA restrictions are "killing us," he says, because they are impeding im·pede  
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.



[Latin imped
 Army efforts to deploy wireless systems. "We want to get rid of all cords. Go wireless," he says. NSA does not like wireless because it opens up the access to encrypted en·crypt  
tr.v. en·crypt·ed, en·crypt·ing, en·crypts
1. To put into code or cipher.

2. Computer Science
 networks,

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The location of land warrior soldiers doesn't have to be classified, or encrypted at the NSA Type 1 level, Fuller says. "They're moving constantly, never staying anywhere more than a few seconds. It's perishable per·ish·a·ble  
adj.
Subject to decay, spoilage, or destruction.

n.
Something, especially foodstuff, subject to decay or spoilage. Often used in the plural.
 data."

"If a soldier gets in trouble at a bar and gets arrested, his security clearance is taken away and he can't be on the land warrior network," says Fuller. That could hurt a unit's ability to execute its mission. "We've been arguing over this" for a long time, says Fuller. "It's a huge significant policy change" that NSA would have to agree to.

The Army and Marine Corps are seeking relief from current policies, and are working with the office of the assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration.

"It's out of the Army's hands," says Fuller.

An Army four-star general recently raised the issue at an industry gathering. The Defense Department is still "governed by Cold War policies" that deny soldiers access to information, the official says.

Many soldiers don't have clearances, he says. "If you have four guys in a humvee and only one has clearance, do you tell the other three to not look at the screen? That's silly," he says. "We shouldn't have to tell soldiers to not look at the screen ... Would that jeopardize jeop·ard·ize  
tr.v. jeop·ard·ized, jeop·ard·iz·ing, jeop·ard·izes
To expose to loss or injury; imperil. See Synonyms at endanger.
 national security?"
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Title Annotation:Soldier Technology
Comment:Security policies deny soldiers access to critical information, army contends.(Soldier Technology)
Author:Erwin, Sandra I.
Publication:National Defense
Date:Oct 1, 2009
Words:577
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