Potential vulnerabilities of a USMC Tactical Wireless Local Area Network
O'Sullivan, John P.
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As part of the ongoing Revolution in Military Affairs, the Navy and Marine Corps are engaged in an ambitious effort to integrate emerging technologies into new operational concepts. The vision of future conflict places heavy emphasis on highly mobile forces that will require unprecedented cooperation between forces afloat and ashore. These new operational concepts, such as Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS), require new technologies to give small combat units unmatched situational awareness ultimately leading to greater combat power. The Extending the Littoral Battlespace (ELB) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration has sought to demonstrate new advances in joint expeditionary warfare significantly aided by a commercial-off-the-shelf wireless communications system. This thesis examines potential vulnerabilities of the ELB wireless local area network. Specifically, it explores the impact such vulnerabilities may have on the eventual ability of supported units to accomplish their mission in an OMFTS-type scenario. The vulnerabilities are divided between the two network layers defined by the commercial standard, the physical and MAC layers. This study concludes that there are considerable vulnerabilities at both network layers, the most significant for a military application, however, are those associated with the physical layer and therefore alternate physical layer solutions should be sought for tactical wireless networks of the future.
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