September 16, 2005 The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is planning to build its own secure wireless handset capable of voice and data communications over public networks, including CDMA, GSM and Wi-Fi.
The handset which is currently going under the name of "secure mobile environment - portable electronic device," (SME-PED) is a secure wireless product that will provide users with voice and data communications supporting security levels up to Top Secret, as well as e-mail communications supporting security levels up to Secret.
The SME-PED also provides Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) functionality. The SME-PED will provide the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other U.S. Government users with a converged voice and e-mail communications device similar to commercially available devices such as BlackBerry, SideKick and Treo 650. Two companies have been awarded US$18 million dollar multi-year contracts to develop the SME-PED.
One of the companies awarded the contract (the name of the other company has not yet been released) is L-3 Communications via its subsidiary, L-3 CS-East, an industry leader in designing, developing and manufacturing Type 1 Secure Telephony terminals for the U.S. DoD.
"We are thrilled to have been selected by the NSA to develop the SME-PED," said Greg Roberts, president of L-3 CS-East. "SME-PED continues L-3's legacy of developing leading-edge, high assurance communications products for use by the U.S. Government. L-3 CS-East will leverage recent investments in cryptographic technology as well as our experience and expertise in applying the U.S. Government's Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal (FNBDT) and High Assurance Internet Protocol Interoperability Specification (HAIPIS) protocols while executing this critical program."