Standardising End to End
Communications Security

Introduction to FNBDT (Future Narrow Band Data Terminal)

FNBDT is a set of standards to enable end to end security for voice and data communications over hetrogeneous networks.

For information on the SHAPE/NC3A FNBDT workshop, February 2003

Introductory briefing on FNBDT (powerpoint - with notes)

Prospects of FNBDT for NATO

Traditionally NATO has achieved interoperability through the development of interoperable communications equipment, such as typified by the NBSV-II (Narrow Band Secure Voice) architecture/products that operate over a homogeneous transport infrastructure. Current developments in communications technologies (CDM, TDM, IP, ATM, etc.) have fragmented this infrastructure and this has resulted in non-interoperable solutions such as BRENT, STE, etc.

FNBDT (developed in the United States) represents a fundamental shift in the traditional paradigm. In place of the development of individual secure communications products that are designed to interoperate between themselves, the approach is to define a secure interoperable architecture that will allow any of the NATO nations to build interoperable solutions to a common set of architectural and protocol standards. By using the FNBDT approach, NATO and national strategic planners should be able to interoperate seamlessly with their forward deployed tactical forces. FNBDT should also allow Military planners to more readily communicate with both NATO and national civilian government counterparts.

A major goal of the FNBDT program, is to minimise government investment in communications infrastructure by exploiting the rapidly evolving commercial investment in state-of-the-art COTS infrastructures (i.e. cellular). This strategy, coupled with common FNBDT protocols, should ensure that interoperability with legacy systems is maintained.

Security is addressed in the FNBDT program by adopting the PKI/KMI model for cryptographic key exchange. This is coupled with the ability to include any number of different cryptographic algorithms (within the constraints of the protocols) to allow many distinct secure enclaves such as NATO, national, UN or other coalition forces, etc. This means that NATO secure communications would use a NATO approved crypto suite, while individual nations, or groups of nations could have their own independent cryptographic solutions without concern over interference or other co-habitation issues.


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Last modified: 4 February 2003