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Network-based defense (NBD) and the all-IP network make authentication ever more important. However, a generally accepted and comprehensive authentication suite is lacking. This work is a step toward filling the gap. The article proposes a three-level framework for authentication in NBD tactical ad hoc networks. Hop-by-hop network-level authentication provides basic protection. End-to-end application-level authentication is included only when finer resolution is needed. The third level of authentication relates to physical node access. The framework may serve as a reference for authentication in other networks as well. An additional contribution is the approach used to derive the authentication framework, which has general relevance.