An Architecture for Agile Systems Engineering of Secure Commercial-off-the-Shelf Mobile Communications Open Access

The United States (U.S.) Federal Government has long had a need for highly secure communications. The National Security Agency (NSA) is responsible for the wide range of technologies to secure these communications. They realized, recently, that the development times for U.S. Government encryption technology was not keeping pace with the rapid evolution of commercial mobile technologies coupled with a realization that commercial technologies exist to meet the requirements for the U. S. federal Government. Specifically, NSA has published specifications on their website to operationalize these capabilities. Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC), the NSA term for Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) secure communications, coupled with published capability packages allows a developer to rapidly field a secure communications solution built entirely on COTS technology. The end user is presented with the latest in mobile communications technologies with the software security applied after market. The first users of this technology are within the Department of Defense (DoD); other agencies are anticipated to field capabilities as well. No architecture exists to aid in the development of these capabilities, and research is required to develop an overarching architecture to support these emerging capabilities. This architecture will address the rapidly evolving commercial mobile security market and address fully leveraging commercial technologies to field the latest technologies in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest cost. With the encryption built on software (vice hardware), Agile Engineering techniques can be readily applied. Although developed in the U.S) for the U.S. Federal Government, this approach has been adopted by other governments and is anticipated to be adopted by commercial users for enhanced security. With the NSA move to commercial technologies and the commercial market moving to enhanced security for “standard commercial users,” there is an emerging convergence of these two approaches. An architectural construct to support this growing user base is the focus of this research. The method to be employed is to survey the wide range of implementations currently being fielded using a case study methodology, developing an effective overarching architectural contract, and returning to the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) across this community to validate the architecture. The utility of the architecture will be rooted in the ability to aid the full range of customers; from mobile phone solutions, to secure laptops, and fixed communications at remote sites. The initial work has revealed effective architectural constructs to support the wide range of emerging applications of this promising approach from NSA – commercial solutions for classified.

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