Web extra: Q&A with Marianne Bailey

The Cross Domain Management Office's director, explains plans for improving Defense and intelligency agency data-sharing

Military and intelligence agencies look to harness the data-sharing power of new technologies while keeping the risks at bay.

Cross-domain gateways play a central role in speeding information sharing while maintaining security barriers between various classifications and groups of intelligence users. Over the past five years, the Pentagon and the intelligence community (IC) have reduced the number approved of cross-domain entities from more than 800 to a baseline list of about two-dozen key solutions and a handful of exceptions.

Marianne Bailey, director of the Unified Cross Domain Management Office (UCDMO), manages the interagency process for choosing which of the gateway entities qualify for the baseline list of approved cross-domain solutions. Those entities eventually will become the only information-sharing solutions that systems developers will routinely be allowed to use without applying for special permission to use alternate gateway entities.

In e-mail responses to questions from GCN, Bailey at times refers to the Enterprise, an inclusive term that refers to military services and agencies as well as their related vendors, coalition partners and similar stakeholders.

Notably, not all cross-domain solutions are actual programs or even physical entities. The procedures also include 'air gap' or sneakernet methods of moving data by physically transferring various media.

GCN: How has your office been progressing in its work to consolidate information gateways?

Marianne Bailey: The UCDMO uses a tiered approach that provides near-, mid-, and long-term solutions.

The near-term solution includes the development and maintenance of the Cross Domain (CD) Baseline [list] and the recently published Community Cross Domain Roadmap Version 1.0.

This CD Baseline is a collection of [information gateway] devices that are available now and approved to operate on Defense Department and intelligence community networks, and IC's networks today.

Over the medium term the UCDMO plans to deploy these technologies with the help of three enterprise service providers:

  • Defense Information Systems Agency Cross Domain Enterprise Services.
  • Defense Intelligence Agency's Department of Defense Intelligence Information System's Cross Domain Management Office.
  • Intelligence Community Enterprise Services.

Users will be able to use these enterprise service providers for their cross-domain requirements, as opposed to the legacy method of implementing their own point solutions.

DISA and DIA have already started deploying [the gateway] devices across the Enterprise and are currently servicing several customers.

Additionally, the UCDMO has recommended that all Defense Department and IC services and agencies establish internal Cross Domain Offices (CDOs).

Furthermore, we have just completed Phase 1 of a study that UCDMO, the Air Force, Navy, and DISA completed under the endorsement of Brig. Gen. Jennifer Napper, deputy commander of the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) to investigate the feasibility of the Enterprise to support cross-domain weather requirements.

The study results provided useful guidance for the continuing adoption of these information-sharing technologies.

As recommended in the CD Roadmap, this office has formed a 'tiger team' to develop a common communitywide CD Enterprise Services Strategy.

This strategy will help identify and develop architectures and technologies that will truly enable cross domain information sharing in an Enterprise environment.

The UCDMO stood up a communitywide Developer Days Subject Matter Expert (SME) panel, which meets for approximately three days each month to review existing research and development projects. The Developer Days SME panel also evaluates if DOD and IC resources are being efficiently and effectively allocated across research projects.

The SME panel compares the research activities to existing capabilities, as well as to those identified as 'information sharing gaps.'

The UCDMO recently held CD Enterprise Developer Days to begin a community-wide focus on the current CD Enterprise Capabilities, the technologies and architectures in development. Those meetings kicked off the effort to develop a common CD Enterprise Strategy.

GCN: What are the most severe barriers the Pentagon and the intelligence community face in tuning their technologies to accommodate the competing imperatives of exchanging information effectively while preventing security breaches?

Bailey: I believe that one of the most significant barriers is cultural. We are beginning to see folks play together in that arena that have traditionally not shared. Our Developer Days include members from throughout the community.

We also have begun IC Cross Domain "deep dives" to capture all cross-domain operational systems across the community. These two efforts in addition to our community wide tiger teams and implementation process have strongly encouraged the community to participate in the UCDMO efforts. Those agencies that do participate are beginning to reap benefits in many areas.

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