DISA initiates Joint Enterprise Directory Service

The Defense Department's vision for building a global address list came into clearer view last month, GCN has learned, with the introduction of a newly operational directory service by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

The new service marks an important step in DISA's efforts to build a repository capable of providing universal access to identity, account and address information under a program known as the Joint Enterprise Directory Service (JEDS).

"The Joint Enterprise Directory Service currently provides a limited, unclassified, 'white-page' capability,' said Tony Montemarano, DISA's Program Executive Officer for Information Assurance/NetOps. The service 'correlates inputs from DISA's Global Directory Service and the Air Force Directory Service,' and now has initial operating capability on the Non-secure IP Router Network (NIPRnet), the military's unclassified Internet network.

'Over the coming months, it will be expanded to the classified networks and include inputs from the other military services, combatant commands and agencies," he said. DISA expects to provide initial operational JEDS capability on the Secure IP Router Network (SIPRNet), the military's classified network, on March 31, and full operational capability on NIPRnet on Sept. 30.

Creating a working directory that can help individuals communicate with one another across the Global Information Grid (GIG) ' and often, between military units stationed on the same base ' has been an elusive goal.

Currently, the department relies on two types of directory services operating on the GIG. One is the Global Directory Service, which maintains 4.5 million public-key infrastructure certificates issued within the Defense Department. The other directory service is geared at the component and enclave level, and makes use of Microsoft's Active Directory product. However, it is used primarily to control access to enclave network resources and data. Neither service provides the kind of enterprisewide access to e-mail and account information commonly available in many organizations.

JEDS is being designed, using commercial directory products, to harvest attribute data from military account and personnel repositories, and merge the data into a central database. The data can be accessed by secure HTTP, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and Web services (SOAP, SAML and XML) interfaces for use by individuals and applications across the GIG, DISA said.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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