Department of Defence officials and Australian government CIO Ann Steward have heralded the agency's gaining of the highest available level of public key infrastructure (PKI) accreditation, key to its network centric warfare vision.
Defence is the first Australian government agency to gain High Assurance accreditation for PKI. The system was evaluated by the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). The standard will help secure Defence communications by encrypting, at the highest level, data exchanged between personnel.
"This is an important milestone in the ongoing development of our Network Centric Warfare capability," said chief capability development executive lieutenant general David Hurley.
"As a network-enabled force, ADF [Australian Defence Force] decision makers at all levels rely upon information to make critical decisions.
"Supported by a high assurance PKI, our commanders can be confident that the information used to make critical decisions has come from a trusted source and has not been modified by a third party," he said.
Hurley was speaking at the PKI accreditation signing, by way of a memorandum of agreement (MoA), between Defence and the Department of Finance. Hurley and Steward signed the MoA.
The PKI level will be the security basis for Defence's network centric warfare vision, which it hopes to realise by 2020. The vision aims to bridge communication gaps between air force, army and navy operations by developing a single information network that will connect three existing grids.
Defence plans to work with its allies to ensure PKI cross certification. This will allow the groups to use mutually recognised security technologies rather than having to alter them for compatibility.
High assurance PKI technologies are already used by the US government.