The compound word COMSEC is prevalent in the DoD culture with hundreds of secondary and tertiary words. Historically, it is originated from COMmunications SECurity Communications security; however, in the 21st century, the compound word is used without regards to its origin in thousands of pages of manuals and documents and by millions of personnel over the last fifty years. Another example is OK in the current culture; almost detached from its historical origin. Its taxonomy has created hundreds of terms, processes, devices, and concepts. Some of the main ones, related phrases and devices, are defined here to standardize the comprehension in reading the COMSEC documents and talking to people with COMSEC experience. COMSEC equipment provides security for telecommunications by converting information to a form unintelligible to an unauthorized interceptor and, subsequently, by reconverting such information in its original form for authorized recipients. Also, devices designed specifically to aid in, or as an essential element of, the conversion process.


COMSEC is used to protect both classified and unclassified traffic passed via tactical switched systems within Joint Task Force networks. Their use applies to voice, data, and video information processing systems and needed communications interfacing components using varied transmission media. COMSEC measures are for: Voice/Data, Analog/Digital, Manual/ Electronic Key, Classified/SBU, Wired(Land)/ Wireless(Cell).

COMSEC material

COMSEC material includes:
-Keys: TEK, KEK, OWK
-Devices: Reader/ Transfer: KYK-13, KOI-18, KYX-15
-Documents: Manual
-Equipments: crypto-, crypto-ancillary, crypto-production, authentication,CCI, KG-30
-Firmware/ Software: LCMS

AKMS = the Army Key Management System
CT3 = Common Tier 3
CCI =Controlled Cryptographic Item
EKMS =Electronic Key Management System
NSA = National Security Agency
ACES = Automated Communications Engineering Software
DTD = The Data Transfer Device
TEK = Traffic Encryption Key
KEK = Key Encryption Key
OWK = Over the Wire Key
LCMS = Local COMSEC Management Software
KYK-13 = Electronic Transfer Device
KOI-18 = Tape Reader General Purpose
KYX-15 = Electronic Transfer Device
KG-30 = TSEC family of COMSEC equipment
TSEC = Telecommunications Security
SOI = Signal Operating Instruction
SKL = Simple Key Loader


crypto-equipment: Any equipment that embodies cryptographic logic or performs one or more cryptographic functions (key generation, encryption, and authentication).
crypto-ancillary equipment: Equipment designed specifically to facilitate efficient or reliable operation of crypto-equipment, without performing cryptographic functions itself. [INFOSEC-99]
crypto-production: equipment used to produce or load keying material
CCI: Equipment which contains COMSEC embedded devices

The EKMS is DoD key management, COMSEC material distribution, and logistics support system. The NSA established the EKMS program to meet:
-Supplying electronic key to COMSEC devices in securely and timely
-Providing COMSEC managers with an automated system capable of ordering, generation, production, distribution, storage, security accounting, and access control
The Army's platform in the four-tiered EKMS, AKMS, automates frequency management and COMSEC management operations. It eliminates paper keying material, hardcopy SOI, and associated time and resource-intensive courier distribution. It has 4 components:

LCMS provides:
-automation for the detailed accounting required for every COMSEC account
-electronic key generation and distribution capability
ACES is the frequency management portion of AKMS. ACES has been designated by the Military Communications Electronics Board as the joint standard for use by all services in development of frequency management and cryptonet planning.

CT3 with DTD software is in a fielded, ruggedized hand-held device that handles, views, stores, and loads SOI, Key, and electronic protection data. DTD provides an improved net-control device to automate crypto-net control operations for communications networks employing electronically-keyed COMSEC equipment.

SKL is a hand-held PDA that handles, views, stores, and loads SOI, Key, and electronic protection data.

The RED/BLACK concept requires electrical and electronic circuits, components, and systems which handle classified unencrypted information (RED) be separated from those which handle encrypted or unclassified information (BLACK). RED/ BLACK concept differentiates between:
-circuits, components, equipment, and systems
-the physical areas in which they are contained

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