Army secures wireless LAN

The Army last week announced that it has selected a security solution to protect the mission- critical business systems of the Combat Service Support Automated Information System Interface (CAISI) project, a wireless local-area network with about 85,000 users.

The Army awarded Fortress Technologies a three-year multimillion- dollar contract for its AirFortress wireless security suite, said Janet Kumpu, chief operating officer of Fortress. Deployment will begin within 60 days.

Defense Department policy prohibits agencies from operating wireless LANs without certified strong security. "Without our solution, they couldn't deploy the program," Kumpu said of CAISI.

CAISI will provide "last-mile connectivity between the combat service support computers on the tactical battlefield and the wireless LAN that the Army provides," said Peter Johnson, chief information officer in the Army's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems.

CAISI will most benefit areas that lack Internet or LAN connectivity — such as motor pools and supply rooms — by "giving them that level of connectivity," Johnson said. "The real value is in the computers we're connecting."

The company already shipped the first units to the Army for staging and testing, and an initial field launch is scheduled for next month.

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