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NSA SME-PED - the handheld for spooks

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September 15, 2005

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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."

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

Nice article, but I\'m curious about the choice of the title, \"NSA SME-PED - the handheld for spooks\", in particular the use of the word \"spook\".... I know and you know the word \"spook\" is used to refer to spy types. But .... we all know The President wants a secure blackberry to use, and this phone wasn\'t developed until he was in office. So, what are you going to do if the current President decides he wants one of these phones? Will he mis-interpret this title and take offense? After all, the Urban Dictionary makes it clear how this could happen: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=spook

Richard Scott
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