Cross-Domain Information Sharing

Earlier this week I had the honor of speaking alongside Ms. Cheryl J. Roby, Chief of Staff, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/Department of Defense Chief Information Office - and Mr. Frank Sinkular, Acting Director, Unified Cross Domain Management Office (UCDMO). We were in Chicago highlighting the progress and planned future efforts towards "cross-domain information sharing" as part of the UCDMO's Annual Conference.

Mission Needs
Cross-domain solutions for information sharing and safeguarding are critical to our national security. Ms. Roby highlighted the needs of Operational Warfighters for real-time intelligence while minimizing complex, point-to-point solutions. She stressed the need for an "enterprise view" across the DoD. I followed with a similar message that information sharing and safeguarding requires us to think holistically about information integration and interoperability across departments, agencies, and levels of government. The nature of the threats we face - terrorism, WMD, and other national security challenges - can only be addressed by appropriate and responsible information sharing and safeguarding across teams, divisions, and agencies with a whole-of-government approach to combating these concerns.

Interoperability 
As a nation and as government workers, we all need to recognize that national security challenges we face are not limited to just one department or agency, nor can they be limited to one security fabric.  Information needs to appropriately move across fabrics - including responsible sharing with our coalition partners in battlefield environments. To meet these needs and to make responsible cross-domain information sharing and safeguarding a reality, we need government and industry to work together to advance identity management frameworks that are interoperable across departments, agencies, and security fabrics. Together with the DOD, IC, DHS, DOJ, DOS, state, local, and tribal governments, and other ISE mission partners - we're advancing a vision towards identity management frameworks with the hope that industry will produce creative solutions enabling interoperability that scales securely.

Data Tagging
We also need to strive for metadata tagging of our information - think of metadata tags as describing what the information is, how it can be best used, and the security classification and other caveats. Right now, for the most part, we tag mostly at system or network levels, not at the data level. Accelerating tagging at the data level enables greater sharing because assets on a classified network may be unclassified or cleared for release.  If we do responsible information sharing that scales securely, we'll need those security tags so the right information, reaches the right people, at the right time, to take the right actions to defend our nation and ideals.

For me personally, seeing a large audience at the UCDMO conference all focused on making these goals a reality, and also knowing thousands more are working everyday at home and abroad, in high-tech and very austere battlefield events, was both humbling and inspiring. We can do this vital work as a nation together - as our collective security depends on responsible information sharing and safeguarding across domains, departments, partners, and levels of government.

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Blog Author: David Bray, Former PM-ISE Executive for Innovation, Integration, & Interoperability | Aug 03, 2011

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