Baltimore to provide PKI for defence comm network

In a deal worth more than $1 million, Baltimore Technologies Australia will provide public key infrastructure (PKI) aspart of an upgrade of the Department of Defence's communications network.

PKI will be used to secure the department's e-mail systems to 90,000 Australian Defence personnel.

Baltimore was selected as part of a CSC-led consortium that won the e-Defence project, worth $34 million in total,which is the largest information security project in the Southern hemisphere. By utilising digital certificates,defence personnel can sign and encrypt electronic correspondence.

Baltimore managing director John Palfreyman said most e-mail packages fail to satisfy he information assurancerequirements demanded by an organisation that needs to execute military operations, administer a large workforce andcommit to procurements worth billions of dollars. He said digital certificates provide the same assurance and legalstatus as a signed, paper-based letter.

In a statement, the Department of Defence said the e-Defence project will provide desktop-to-desktop interoperabilitywith allies and tactical interface to the battlefield. Commanders will have a network that meets their needs inexecuting military operations, and purchasing decisions for weapon systems can also be handled by the network.

The project will create 40 high-tech jobs in Canberra and regional Australia over the next two to three years.

Smart cards will be introduced in later phases of the project with a timeframe for completion of 24 months.

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