As part of ongoing efforts to improve the Canadian Armed Forces’ tactical networks, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) has issued a call to industry for what it is calling a Tactical Edge Cyber Command and Control (TEC3) demonstrator.

In a request for proposals, DRDC said it is seeking a set of software tools to enhance the security and effectiveness of future tactical edge networks.

“TEC3 will demonstrate network security, situational awareness, and management tools necessary to enable the protection of sophisticated high bandwidth tactical networks,” the research agency said in documents included with the RFP. “In a fully net-enabled tactical battlespace, commanders or analysts near the network edge will need to be able to answer cyber-related questions such as: How do I know I can trust the nodes in my network? Is the network under attack—and where are the attackers? What level of assurance do I have in my communications?”

TEC3 is expected to be a fully integrated suite of plug-ins or apps running on modified commercial or military off-the-shelf “smartphone” type hardware.  The tool suite would improve decision-making and facilitate management and protection of a tactical network “by relying on both automated algorithms and protocols and informed human-in-the-loop decisions,” DRDC said.

“These graphical display devices will connect to one another via internal or external radios, forming a mobile ad hoc network that includes COTS PCs, simulating a forward operating base. It is expected that TEC3 applications or plug-ins can be added or removed as necessary for any particular TEC3 deployment,” DRDC said.

The RFP stated that while the demonstrator would not necessarily need to be militarized for field operations, it would have to be sufficiently robust to perform “outdoors in a variety of reasonable weather conditions (light rain, the wind) in temperature ranges from 10 to 30 degrees Celsius.”

The TEC3 system should be at a technology readiness level of at least 6, and the winning too suite will receive a three-year contract, with up to three additional two-year optional periods.