Wireless asked Colonel Gilles Martin (Gendarmerie) and Capitaine Jean-Luc Coustumer (Police) of ‘Service des technologies et des systèmes d’information de la sécurité Intérieure’ of the French Ministry of the Interior, what arrangements were put in place to protect the summit.
What were the specific communications and security requirements for the G20 summit at Cannes?
‘The priority was to ensure efficient communications, which were scaled to support the intervention by all the forces deployed in the security arrangements made for the summit. Another objective for the Ministry of the Interior was to organise resource sharing and interoperability between the forces.
‘With regard to the geo-positioning requirement, it should be remembered that although the summit was in Cannes, the delegations often arrived at Nice Airport and along the coastal strip: extensive arrangements therefore had to be made to secure these routes into Cannes. It must be pointed out that it was impossible to close down the routes to traffic, because these are among the region’s most important arteries.
‘Moreover, accompanying the convoys also entailed coordination, so that the forces securing the zones in Nice could easily synchronise with those managing the Cannes area.’
What was the communications and command and control solution put in place?
‘The solution by Cassidian had already been extensively tested during the G8 summit in Deauville a few months previously. The solution was built around three pillars:
• A Milicor PTN (TOPAZE) deployed by the Gendarmerie to support all the mobile forces present in the zone (CRS, mobile Gendarmerie, Navy). This solution was widely appreciated during the summit, to such an extent that its use for this type of event is becoming systematic.
• The Gendarmerie’s RUBIS network was reinforced by an additional channel and connected to PTN Milicor.
• The police’s ACROPOL network was reinforced by the addition of an overlay to support essentially the specialised forces: the PAF (airports), the SPHP (VIP protection) and the public security services.
‘During the summit, more than 25 conferences were managed by the police and about 10 by the Gendarmerie.’
What were the main challenges that needed to be overcome in terms of staffing, technical aspects, geography, security and so on?
‘In itself, the summit was already a challenge, because it involved management of a large number of diversified security players in a very small area. Management by a number of operational coordination units within the information and command centres (in particular the port, Cannes and Grasse) led to good levels of coordination.
‘What made things even more difficult was the very short reaction time available for organising the operations, as the security forces and the convoys reached the zone concerned shortly before the summit.
‘It must also be stressed that the extreme sensitivity of the convoys to be protected implies the need for a reliable, responsive and effective security system.’
How many police and Gendarmerie officers were involved in the operation?
‘About 12,000 individuals.’
What other equipment was used, if any?
‘The solution comprised the core system (Milicor PTN, ACROPOL and RUBIS), which was supplemented by:
• A fleet of helicopters equipped with air-to-ground video transmission systems
• And by the fixed video surveillance system of the Ministry of the Interior and of the cities of Nice and Cannes (where several movements took place).’
Were there any requirements for short data messaging/video, in addition to voice? If so, what was needed to make sure these requirements were met?
‘Video was used in Nice (fixed cameras) and via the air-to-ground link from the helicopters. Short data messaging was not used, with preference given to voice.’
Was it necessary to install any additional infrastructure such as extra base stations or repeaters externally or within buildings?
‘Yes, the Milicor PTN deployed by the Gendarmerie and the overlay. It should also be noted that several channels were added to the RUBIS network relays in the summit zone.’
Did this necessitate any re-tuning or changes to the existing TETRAPOL network?
Was it necessary to enable any other forms of communication (patching in PBX telephones and the like) into the TETRAPOL network?
‘Interoperation with a number of analogue radio networks from the Ministry of Defence was necessary.’
Were there any radio interoperability issues between different security agencies (Police, Gendarmerie, foreign agencies, etc.), and did new talk groups need to be created?
‘Yes, as just mentioned. The main interoperability conferences were:
• Conference No. 100, known as the authority conference, managed by the Préfet (police chief)
• Other interoperability conferences (No. 102 for all players on the network, No. 111 only for police and Gendarmerie (known as the ‘domestic security’ conference).’
How successful were the arrangements for the G20?
‘Very successful, at all levels. We did not get any negative feedback.’
Were there any lessons learned for the future?
‘Yes. Primarily to opt for systematic use of the Milicor PTN for mobile police and Gendarmerie forces covering this type of event.’
Comms at the G20 summit
Milicor PTN system
The Milicor PTN (projectable telecommunications network) system by Cassidian is a broadband tactical communication system. It enables mobile users in the field to communicate simultaneously by voice and transmit digital data and video. It also has a geographical positioning function for all the actors equipped with Milicor.
The Milicor system offers global connection for a very large number of users in a theatre of operations with a high level of security. This global connectivity then allows the integration of new requirements such as UAVs, abandoned sensors or the geographical positioning service. Milicor also increases the information exchange capacity, thus offering new Intranet type communication services.
The system uses the technologies implemented in the latest generation of professional mobile radio (PMR) networks, which integrate and adapt to the professional environment the latest technological broadband capacities developed by the civil sector for the fourth generation commercial cellular networks (4G LTE protocol).
The ACROPOL Network
The French Police Nationale digital radio communications network, know as ACROPOL, today delivers end-to-end encrypted voice/data communications of the Police Nationale forces (public security, criminal police, intelligence, prefectoral authorities, special branch.)
The ACROPOL system, developed by Cassidian, permits the exchange of voice and data. ACROPOL is an autonomous, secure network that benefits from protection by systematic, automated encryption of communications. It is based on the international TETRAPOL standard adopted by the Police Cooperation Group created as a result of the Schengen agreement.
The RUBIS Network
RUBIS is a secure digital radio communication network for the French National Gendarmerie using TETRAPOL technology by Cassidian in the low VHF band. The system has a department-based structure integrated into a national system, managed at departmental level and co-ordinated at the National Management Centre near Paris.
Radio base stations provide access for mobile terminals and PABXs provide access to other networks. The system has a full range of terminals, including vehicle, motorcycle, portable, hand-held and fixed, the latter with either radio or wired links. There is a common radio unit consisting of a digital radio transceiver unit, a vocoder, a remote control device and, for vehicles and base stations, connection to a computer terminal. Encryption is by means of keys generated on a nationwide basis. All usual facilities are provided for voice communications. Data features include access to the Gendarmerie national database.