Nerval's Lobster writes: In an effort to give troops in the field more reliable ways to exchange data with each other and with local commanders, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created has a project whose goal is to create a secure, local mesh network that troops in the field can use to communicate even when they’re out of range of wireless access points, cell towers or even satellite links. In the first phase of the project, known as Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEN), DARPA has developed apps that could be loaded onto Android smartphones to allow them to connect with standard Army Rifleman Radios and with one another without requiring a server or wireless access point to provide a central communications hub. The first CBMEN systems just passed their first round of testing at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, according to an Aug. 21 announcement from DARPA. The idea behind the project is not to give troops special applications, heads-up displays or other technology designed specifically to help them in combat, according to the original project pitch from DARPA program manager Keith Gremban. Instead, the idea is to give them a way to exchange data with each other, with local commanders or other units to make sure squads in the field have access to the latest intelligence information and imagery without having to return to camp to download the information from a server.