The chief information officers for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) have announced their intent to better integrate their computer networks to enhance national security.
A recent agreement – signed by John Grimes, assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration/DoD CIO, and Dale Meyerrose, the ODNI’s CIO – calls for combined efforts to deploy compatible “authorization and attribute” services. In general, such services determine the identities of individuals seeking access to networks and, based on their job needs, manage the information that these people can use. The agreement also aims to develop common specifications, policies, and interfaces – enabling the department and the intelligence community (IC) to seamlessly operate and share applications, services, and information in unclassified, secret, and top secret environments.
The effort to create strategic guidelines in this area is led by a special team of both IC and DoD members. The joint initiative complements Executive Order 13388, “Further Strengthening the Sharing of Terrorism Information to Protect Americans,” as well as the IC’s Information Sharing Strategy.
Major programs and applications within the IC and DoD will benefit significantly from the initiative. For example, it supports DoD guidance for development of the force to expedite information-sharing activities using certain access-control services. It also will help ODNI-sponsored initiatives such as “A-Space,” a virtual work environment.
“A-Space will provide an interactive work space for intelligence analysts to solve problems,” Meyerrose said. “We’re working closely with our DoD partners to ensure that A-Space offers agile access to the department and IC resources across the top secret network.”
Similarly, the department considers this a critical step. “The best way to improve information sharing between DoD and the IC is to develop solutions together,” Grimes said. “This strategic letter of intent is just another example of the outstanding culture of collaboration that we share with the IC, and underscores our mutual commitment to achieving an agile information-sharing environment.