Sunday, June 26, 2016

GAO Report on The Secret Service

I wrote about this report back in the April 2016 edition of The Spectrum Monitor:
The report talks about various problems that have been noted with keeping US Secret Service communications and computer network systems up to date. Although there are several passages and items that are redacted in this copy of the report, there are some interesting items of note. For instance, OIG audits found that much of the Secret Service radio communications inventory is in need of replacement and soon. While radio operations are generally good, there have been instances of radio failures that could have led to serious problems. The report noted that Secret Service logs indicate about a 3% failure rate of radio transmissions. Much of the radio equipment is near or past it’s intended end-of-life and should be replaced. The report indicates that there are plans for radio system equipment to be replaced through 2019.

   An item that was redacted was mention of something that allows “voice communications within the Secret Service and for interoperability with law enforcement partners.” This could possibly be a radio system “bridge” that can link disparate radio systems and allows seamless communications without modifying the agency radios. It also might also refer to encryption keys or key management systems.

Changes in San Antonio Military Systems

Over the past few weeks I've been seeing reports on the Radio Reference forums of some changes occuring in the UHF trunked systems used by the various military bases and facilites in the San Antonio, Texas area. These facilities include Fort Sam Houston, Kelly, Randolph and Lackland Air Force Base and Camp Bullis, northwest of San Antonio.

Previously, the various military facilities had been sharing a Motorola Type II trunking system. The various bases are now migrating towards a new APCO P-25 Phase II digital system. The new system is showing a System ID of 3D6 and is showing it is capable of Phase II TDMA operation, but I've not confirmed that Phase II operation is actually taking place. A number of new military UHF trunked systems are advertising that they are TDMA capable, but the users are not necessarily using that feature yet.

This system is showing that it is networked with other US Air Force bases around the country. Here is a link to the new sites and frequencies in use:

You can follow the threads here: