An Architecture for Secure Interoperability between Coalition Tactical MANETs


  1. Salmanian, M.
  2. Brown, J.D.
  3. Watson, S.
  4. Song, R.
  5. Tang, H.
  6. Simmelink, D.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Research Centre, Ottawa ON (CAN)
International military forces are increasingly engaged in coalition-based operations with an expectation that future coalition forces will be tightly interoperable even down to the tactical level. At the same time, there is an emerging trend towards increasing connectivity at the tactical edge, with mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) seen as a key enabling technology for this improved connectivity. This paper explores the convergence of these two trends—a desire for secure coalition interoperability and its potential co-existence with a MANETbased tactical communication platform. We present an architecture consisting of three elements that enable allied MANETs to share information securely: a key management strategy, gateway discovery and security association and network address translation. These concepts are well researched individually; in this paper we combine them in the context of a coalition tactical operation. We present several tactical scenarios in which our architecture enables a MANET to discover nearby allied MANETs, to identify and authenticate gateways to relay its information and to connect specialized nodes of allied MANETs and establish communities of interest. Our solutions could serve as models for the future development of secure interoperability policies, service level agreements and standards, e.g., for future NATO standardization agreements (STANAGs) or Combined Communications-Electronics Board Allied Communication Publications (CCEB ACPs).
mobile ad hoc networks;MANET;key management;network address translation;tactical edge;network address translation
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-P188 — External Literature
Date of publication
16 Mar 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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