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Secure Underwater Communications for Heterogeneous Network-enabled Operations

As underwater communications capabilities are developing across several NATO nations, it is clear that we must remain interoperable in this domain. Due to the nature of undersea operations, it is of critical importance that these communications remain secure and assured. Furthermore, with the advent of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) becoming more prevalent and cost-effective, a mobile undersea network can be enabled to allow secure data transfer from one nation to another.

By enabling secure underwater communication, operations in the underwater domain will become safer. This includes operations like Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA), Mine Countermeasures (MCM), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Search and Rescue (SAR) scenarios. Additionally, it will provide for increased resilience and assurance by improving security awareness in terms of authentication, integrity protection, and jamming detection, as well as by improving security measures, including counter-interception by encryption, jamming resilience, anti-jamming / spoofing / tampering / hacking measures.

With this necessity in mind, IST-174 on Secure Underwater Communications for Heterogeneous Network-enabled Operations held its kick-off meeting last week, at the CSO facilities, France. This Task Group ultimately aims at developing security standards for Underwater Communications and Networking. This activity will potentially generate NATO standards and inform operating procedures in international operations, allowing for safe, secure and assured operations in the undersea environment.

Published 2019-12-10T23:00:00Z by IST