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Security

Cyber Committee Shares Expertise

November 15, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Ranging in topics from cloud computing to supply chain management, AFCEA’s Cyber Committee has published five white papers. Available on the committee’s website, information ranges from the basics to high-level recommendations that will be useful not only to organizations’ information technology personnel but also to leadership planning strategies for the future.

 

Managing Change in the
 Intelligence Community

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

Al Tarasiuk, chief intelligence officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), explains that the changes will be difficult. Agency employees, and the vendors who help operate and manage information technology for the 17 agencies composing the nation’s intelligence apparatus, will feel the effects of the cost cuts.

“Right now, technology is not our biggest risk. The culture change is our biggest risk, and that extends to our industry partners. We have a lot of industry employed in the community through service contracts and other things. They could help, or they could choose not to help,” Tarasiuk emphasizes, candidly describing the pivotal role of these firms in a transition that could spell the loss of both business and jobs. “They know, and I’ve been very open with them, that we’re not going to need the pool of resources of people that we have today to manage what we have in the future.”

Writing
 a New Spy School
 Syllabus

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

The National Intelligence University prepares for its fifth decade with a shift in focus and a change in venue.

The National Intelligence University, which provides advanced training to U.S. intelligence professionals, is transitioning from an institution primarily focused on the U.S. Defense Department to one serving the entire intelligence community. This reflects the new emphasis toward sharing and collaboration within the nation's intelligence apparatus.

To make the change a reality, National Intelligence University (NIU) leaders are rethinking and expanding the educational programs the institution offers. Plans also are underway to relocate the university to its own new campus in the very near future—in part to bolster its perception as an intelligence community strategic resource.

Dr. David R. Ellison, president of the NIU, says that the change began with the appointment of James Clapper as the director of National Intelligence in 2010. “Director Clapper recognized that if we were going to have a National Intelligence University in the intelligence community, the best place to start was with an accredited institution that had already achieved success in an academic area,” Ellison explains. He adds that Clapper went on to draft a memorandum to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, defining education as a force multiplier and a tool that must be used to the advantage of the entire intelligence community.

“What he envisioned was that the then-National Intelligence College would become the National Intelligence University, and it would provide accredited education, academic research and academic outreach to the intelligence community as a whole,” Ellison points out.

Intelligence CIOs Teaming for Change

October 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

New common goals open doors for more efficient approaches to information sharing.

Technological and cultural barriers are falling away as intelligence community organizations strive to establish a collaborative environment for sharing vital information. This thrust may be a case of an urgent need overcoming traditional obstacles as onetime rival groups embrace cooperation with the goal of building a synergistic information realm.

This effort comprises several initiatives that range from establishing a common information interface to moving to the cloud. Along with programs to meet technological challenges, the thrust has changed relationships among agencies and even the nature of some intelligence organizations.

These initiatives have brought the FBI back into the core of intelligence community information sharing. For several years, the bureau has been migrating toward becoming a domestic intelligence organization concurrent with its law enforcement activities. It faces different hurdles than those confronted by defense-oriented intelligence agencies, but some of the solutions realized by the bureau might be applied across the intelligence community.

Other organizations in the intelligence community are weighing different options. Their chief information officers (CIOs) are dealing with the challenges inherent in sharing information across organizational lines, but with different approaches that may based in part on whether they largely are the collectors or the processors. Regardless, the information technology element of the intelligence community is becoming more integrated, says Grant M. Schneider, deputy director for information management and CIO at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Cool App-titude: Wickr

July 3, 2012
By Rachel Eisenhower

What if your smartphone messages could self-destruct to ensure ultimate privacy and control over the content? No, it's not a scene from a spy movie. The newly released Wickr app for iPhone encrypts communication and permanently deletes personal data from your device.

Survey Sheds Light on Smart Grid Security Concerns

April 19, 2012

More than 70 percent of energy security professionals believe smart grid security standards cannot keep pace with the ever-changing technology and threats, according to a recent survey.

Automatic Electronic Identity Provides Information Security

June 2011
By Petr Jirásek, SIGNAL Magazine

A new approach to electronic security access employs an authentication framework designed to provide automatic identity without many of the drawbacks of traditional approaches. Instead of compromising between ease of use and effective access protection, this system aims to adopt the best of both worlds. Developed in the Czech Republic, the new approach already is in use in national and regional government organizations.

Fixing the Identity Credentialing Problem

August 17, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

Companies now can acquire certified identity credentials that facilitate employees’ physical and logical access when they work with the U.S. Defense Department, other government agencies and government-affiliated organizations. A biometrics-infused card authenticates a person’s identity using bar codes, a digital photograph and fingerprints. Through a not-for-profit association, contractors become part of an operational system that can exchange credential information with the government.

Webinar: Securing the Data Center

April 23, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Next in SIGNAL's webinar series, "Securing the Data Center: A DOD Architecture for Information Assurance" will take place on May 7, 2009 at 11:00 AM ET. Targeted attacks by hackers and insiders are aimed where they'll do the most damage and where the most valuable assets are located - the agency data center. Government agencies can increase protection and reduce operational costs when security issues are considered at the very beginning of data center planning. So it's ironic that data center security is often an afterthought. A well thought-out defense-in-depth strategy includes multiple layers of security and different overlapping technologies.

Attendees will learn how a secure data center architecture can:

  • Enable secure rollout of Web 2.0 and SOA services
  • Achieve Policy and Regulatory Compliance
  • Protect Data and Communication Integrity & Privacy
  • Enable Secure Email and Web Transactions
  • Prevent Data Leakage and Disclosure
  • Provide Comprehensive Threat Control

Panelists include:

  • Rich Campbell, Senior Systems Engineer, Cisco Data Center Solutions
  • Andrew Benhase, Consulting Systems Engineer, Cisco Security Solutions
  • Michael Jones, Federal Security Services Manager, Cisco Federal Services

For additional details, including how to register, click here.

Plan Revamps Security Clearance Process

August 2008
By Maryann Lawlor

Say the words “security clearance” in a conversation with defense contractors, and the vast majority has a tale to tell of long waits and missed opportunities. Those two words have people in Washington, D.C., talking too. For two years, the organizations in charge of the security clearance process have worked hard to improve it. But for many, the time for revamping the old is over, and the time for creating a new process has begun.

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