Army needs a new communication system

| November 23, 2017 | 25 Comments

Bobo sends us a link from Business Insider which reports that Army had to dump their Warfighter Integrated Network – Tactical (WIN-T) battlefield communications system because it found to be vulnerable to attacks by Russian and Chinese hackers. So they’re stuck with the 6 billion dollar system while they go shopping for another one;

When it was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in 2013, the system proved that it could push information around the way commanders envisioned. But that was against an enemy with no ability to listen in, or jam communications.

As defense planners look toward more demanding battlefield scenarios in Europe, the flaws of WIN-T are becoming apparent. The system has little protection against electronic countermeasures, and it is bulky and takes two days to set up, requiring large command tents bristling with servers and antennae. Defense officials fear those command posts will act as a beacon, attracting attacks from sophisticated enemies.

And for any war in Europe, the Army is prioritizing speed and maneuverability, which would be hard to maintain with the current system.

So, it will be like Windows, with updates and patches issued every few days to plug vulnerabilities until the next gap is found. Nice.

Category: Army News

Comments (25)

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  1. OlafTheTanker says:

    It’s fine, PEO C3T (Their parent Command) saved at least that much after Ft Monmouth closed, and they spent Billions to save Millions in moving everything south to Aberdeen.

    oh, wait..

  2. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Didn’t the Army ever hear of using 2 Heinz bean cans with 2 shirt buttons tied too a zillion miles of 5 & dime string?? What about smoke signals, August lamps and 2 hand held signal flags. Can’t hack those. Forgot the carrier pidgeons.

  3. OldSoldier54 says:

    So Big Army … I wish I could be more positive, but …

    I wonder if this was another of Michelle’s college buddies, because spending massive amounts of money for crap has all of the same fingerprints the ACA has on it.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Code talkers. Some unknown invented language like Navina or Sejith A. Find native speakers to teach it to the Commo guys. Learn to use Linear A. Anglo-Saxon and Scots Gaelic are good, too. Mandan, Biloxi, Lakota – all good. Or just dig up the WWI code books, use those as a reference and start over from scratch.

    I guess this stems from the big-shiny-better infestation, doesn’t it?

    • Ret_25X says:

      wouldn’t work. The code talkers were only effective because Japan did not have the connection to find the linguistic base. That is no longer true.

      In addition, all IP based systems are vulnerable to even script kiddies and low tech attacks.

      When they say they need to rethink the system, they are not talking about new language or codes, but new technological baselines.

      • OldSoldier54 says:

        “When they say they need to rethink the system, they are not talking about new language or codes, but new technological baselines.”

        Now that makes a LOT more sense.

        Big Army is still penny wise and dollar foolish, IMO.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I didn’t say Navajo code talkers, now, did I?

  5. Ret_25X says:

    The truth is that WIN-T was the right answer at the time it was fielded.

    Expect the lifecycle of comms gear to come down from decades to months from now on.

    The flash to bang between new release and viable attack in the wild is often hours now.

  6. 26Limabeans says:

    PRC-25 and a KAK wheel.

  7. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    I wonder if this system, once it’s “washed out” of the military system, can be reconfigured and used for amateur (ham) radio?

  8. RM3(SS) says:

    Ah what the hell it’s only our tax money, not like we have anything better to spend it on.

  9. Green Thumb says:

    Curious to if many of these “techs” and computer gurus understand the recourse and funerals/causalities if comms go to shit.


    And keep looking to bring IT folks in at Officer pay rates without any formal basic training.

    Go Army!

    And we wonder why we suck?

  10. USAF E-5 says:

    The problem as I see it, is thinking data/information is as important as decisions or leadership. It’s not. But only if you want to win. If all you want to do is play, information and data are great, but they won’t put you over the line.

  11. OWB says:

    Has there ever been a time when a communications system did not eventually either become obsolete or compromised by an enemy? Seems like the objective has always been to protect our secrets better and to discover theirs more efficiently. While that may have changed somewhat, at least in some ways, can we not recover from this? Technology may have changed, but the basic principles have not.

  12. E4 Mafia For Life. says:

    We essentially had zero coms. We were using the old lead based PRC-66’s with dry cell batteries filled with chalk and sawdust.
    They were extremely secure because they never worked.
    The channel selector dials were replaced with oven knobs. Sometimes you could hear every 4th word on the “BROIL” setting.
    Not quite the quality of drive through speakers at an old fast food restaurant.
    The E-7’s and above plus the officers all bought Motorola police radios with their own cash.
    Waxed string and coffee cans would have been a serious improvement.

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