The AMS is composed of devices which are commercial grade, electronic, off-line cryptodevices designed to replace selected manual cryptosystems and fulfill new off-line requirements.


AMS keying material is produced in printed, nonperforated, eight-level tape form (white). Specific handling instructions (i.e., cryptoperiod, classification, key count, etc) are printed on the leader of the tapes. AMS keys are packaged in plastic canisters or "pill boxes" containing 31 separate segments. Canisters containing 62 segments of key are candidates for production for the AMS systems.

Operational key tapes (USKAK) and traffic encryption keys (TEKs) are classified on the basis of the classification of the traffic they are intended to protect. They are either regularly or irregularly superseded, depending on the system application, packaged in plastic canisters, marked "CRYPTONOFORN" and are serial number accountable (ALC-1).

Exercise key tapes (USKXK) are classified CONFIDENTIAL. These TEK's are periodically superseded and packaged in plastic canisters, marked "CRYPTONOFORN" and are serial number accountable and locally controlled (ALC-3).

Maintenance key tapes (KMK) are classified CONFIDENTIAL and not marked "CRYPTO." Maintenance key tapes are designed for back-to-back bench testing only and are not to be used for over-the-air transmissions. The maintenance key tapes are packaged in clear plastic "pill boxes" and segments may be reused until they become unusable and are ALC-3.

Training key tapes (KTK) are UNCLASSIFIED (FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY), not marked "CRYPTO" packaged in "pillbox"  containers, and may be reused until unusable. Training keys must not be used for over-the-air transmissions.

Cryptonets will be kept as small as is operationally feasible. As the number of copies of a key grows, the vulnerability of that key to compromise increases. Compromise of the key at one terminal potentially compromises the traffic of all users of that key during that cryptoperiod. Prescribed cryptonet sizes for specific AMS devices are included in respective annexes of this Order.

Longer cryptoperiods and larger cryptonet sizes which divert from specific AMS policy must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CCT).

Keyed AMS devices assume the same classification as the key and must be protected, like any hardcopy keying material, proportionate to the classification level of that key.

AMS device key storage positions will be used to participate in multiple nets, where required, and will not be used to store future keys unless such application is approved for special-mission purpose, by the responsible controlling authority. It is understood that AMS devices will be used in various situations with only one-person control. Under these circumstances, key tapes may be destroyed without a witness of destruction signature on the user/destruction cards. This does not constitute a security violation or an insecurity report. This scenario can be followed as an operational necessity (designated by the cognizant operational commander) and not as a user convenience.

Both the TSEC/KL-42 and TSEC/KL-43 are examples of Automanual Equipment used on the system.

Reference:  Excerpts from Marine Corps Order MCO 2250 .1; C4-CCT-635; 17Jan 1990.
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Mar 20/01