NSA to take lead on Defense info assurance

NSA to take lead on Defense info assurance

The National Security Agency is filling a new role in the Defense Department: leading the information assurance path DOD takes to becoming a network-centric workplace.

The new assignment is based on security work the agency did for DOD a few months ago building a security component for the Global Information Grid, said Priscilla E. Guthrie, deputy Defense CIO.

'We asked NSA to build an IA architecture. NSA did a knock-your-socks-off job of doing this,' Guthrie said today at a lunch the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council sponsored in Arlington, Va.

The IA component calls for integrating security into the GIG by, among other things, authenticating credentials and security clearances. The plan also calls for the use of some form of user token for the security architecture.

Recently, DOD asked the agency to take the lead for information assurance initiatives across the department, Guthrie said, although that doesn't mean NSA will build everything or own all of the IA dollars.

NSA will put together a GIG Information Assurance Portfolio so DOD can have a go-to agency if portions of the grid lack adequate security, Guthrie said.

'NSA will deliver a vision for what it's going to take to secure the environment,' she said. 'Some have asked me, 'Why NSA? They don't have the skill set.' I don't know a better construct for the department. This is a blueprint for us to effect this broad IA environment.'

Guthrie also said the Pentagon is getting out of the business of application integration and moving more toward data-level integration.

'If you only do integration of applications, I hope we put you out of business,' Guthrie told the executives gathered at the lunch. 'You must separate data from apps. If they are not separable, we don't want you in the department.'

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