Information Sharing

July 1, 2020
By Capt. Alex M. Roberts, USAF
U.S. Marines with 8th Communication Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, collaborate as part of Team Spartan during Cyber Fury 2020. Cyber Fury is an annual training exercise that allows Marines to simulate a series of cyberspace attacks by identifying and countering them. Credit: Lance Cpl. Haley McMenamin, USMC

With the 2020 election fast approaching and tensions with Iran continually shifting, many people are looking to U.S. Cyber Command to help ensure cybersecurity. The command faces an uphill battle because the current construct allows each service branch to retain tactical command of its organic cyber experts. To be more successful in the cyberspace domain, the command needs to take over tasking authority for all cyber-related units, establish a standardized joint cyber schoolhouse and establish a Joint Cyber Operations Command to perform joint, effects-driven cyber operations.

May 1, 2020
By Shaun Waterman
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the first of the new generation of modernized, harder-to-hack GPS block III satellites in December 2018. GPS is one of the space-based functions that’s increasingly vital to the functioning of the U.S. economy. Credit:

Amid growing fears that U.S. military reliance on civilian space infrastructure might prove a weak point, two organizations are seeking to improve cybersecurity in the burgeoning satellite industry. The Orbital Security Alliance has published a detailed set of cybersecurity guidelines for commercial satellite operators, which aims specifically at smaller, newer companies in the fast-growing “minisat” sector.

By Sandra Jontz

Better cooperation and enhanced information sharing between the government and industry will go a long way toward safeguarding digital networks and building up the work force needed to protect the information infrastructure. These are some of the recommendations offered by the nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in its much-anticipated report released this month.

October 21, 2016
By Tod Tompkins

When NATO recognized cyberspace as a “domain of war,” the designation committed all alliance members to provide military support for “crisis-management operations.” The move speaks volumes. 

July 21, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Now that the federal government is collecting cyberthreat intelligence from agencies and private businesses, the repository undoubtedly will be a prime target by the very threat the program seeks to wipe out.

In June, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice issued final guidance for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, which Congress passed in December after years of industry efforts to push information sharing legislation over the finish line.

CISA paves the way for private companies to share cyberthreat information, not just with each other but with the government, and appointed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the clearinghouse for all of that data.

April 7, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced today the implementation of a new technology to streamline and improve secure information sharing between the DHS and its partners. The Backend Attribute Exchange will simplify user identification and verification between different organizations for the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) by eliminating redundancies while ensuring proper security.

October 27, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Senate passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) on Tuesday, paving the way for private companies to share cyberthreat information not just with each other, but with the government.

A salient point of the measure, S. 754, centers on the freedom companies would have to share what they deem to be cyber intelligence without fear of lawsuits. But a vocal opposition to the measure took to social media during the Senate’s debate, calling on lawmakers to defeat the bill because it will tantamount to sanctioned government spying on citizens.

April 9, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

Cosmo: There's a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think ... it's all about the information!

August 30, 2013
By Paul Christman and Jamie Manuel

Recently at the AFCEA International Cyber Security Summit in Bethesda, MD, Army Maj. Gen. John A. Davis, Senior Military Advisor for Cyber to the Under Secretary of Defense, said  “Cyber partnerships such as those with the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency and external partnerships such as those with industry, international allies and academia represent a transformation in the way DOD approaches cybersecurity.”
For years, the U.S. Defense Department, not surprisingly, took a “do it alone” posture when it came to sharing information and protecting its networks and communication infrastructures from security attacks.

May 25, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is helping lead the charge to bring more mobility, cloud computing and information sharing to the Defense Department. Sweeping changes ahead aim to make secure and nonsecure communications possible down to the handheld level. In this month's issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I.

October 15, 2010
By Beverly Schaeffer

Organizations have a much better chance of tracking and catching criminals if more cross-agency information is available to them. That's why the Army's Biometrics Identity Management Agency, which is tasked with coordinating biometrics efforts across the Defense Department, is expanding data-sharing capabilities with other government agencies and coalition partners. The agency operates the department's premier biometrics database, and is coordinating with the departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security to share their biometrics data. In this month's issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I.

May 19, 2010

Federal government agencies produce reams of documentation, not all of which is classified, but much of which is sensitive. For decades, agencies applied their own individual markings to categorize sensitive data. However, these notations conflict with other agency marking, which opens the possibility of infomration being withheld or potentially being released. These issues were pondered by the Wednesday morning panel at the AFCEA SOLUTIONS conference. Controlled unclassified information (CUI) is data that requires some protection. However, because of the conflicting agency rules for CUI, the government has recently issued an order to implement a CUI famework to stanardize the documentation across the government.

May 18, 2010

Emerging trends impacting information sharing was the subject of the morning panel at AFCEA's Solutions symposium. Experts pondered the implications and challenges for sharing data between military and civilian organizations within the U.S. government. Panelists discussed a range to related topics such as bandwidth issues and connectivity. It was noted that the military is ahead of the civilian government in operating in low bandwidth areas. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, civilian government first responders had considerable difficulty establishing communications, explained Pete O'Dell, founder of Swan Island Networks. Sometimes technology creates new problems.

May 19, 2010

Tuesday's afternoon keynote speaker highlighted the importance of accepting technological change across the U.S. government. David Wennergren, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Information Management and Technology and Defense Department Chief Information Officer, shared his ideas for improving technology processes throughout the federal space. He began his speech by stressing the need for information sharing across federal agencies, noting that in 2005 the human race created 150 exabytes of data and that by 2010 this had increased to 1,200 exabytes. Chief information officers and managers will have to manage a constantly increasing sea of data. "Data has to be sexy for you," he quipped.

March 19, 2010
By H. Mosher

In "New Document Provides Framework for Interagency Data Sharing," Henry Kenyon describes a newly released document that sets common standards for data security and risk management: the NIST Special Publication 800-37, Revision 1, Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems: A Security Life Cycle Approach (NIST SP-800-37).

January 8, 2010
By Katie Packard

"Everybody imagines that everyone wants to share information because somehow it will make things better. That's a huge assumption, and it may not be what you think it is." -- Capt. Timothy Spratto, USN, JCD&E Capabilities Solutions Group lead

Agree with Capt. Spratto? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and check out the full article online in the current issue of SIGNAL Magazine.

January 4, 2010
By Katie Packard

What does the United States need to make its efforts in Afghanistan successful? According to SIGNAL's newest Incoming columnist, Dr. Linton Wells II, the answer is sharing unclassified information--a key channel to allowing the United States and its coalition partners to reach the populations they're trying to help. Wells argues that unclassified situational awareness--and the communications networks to share it--are critical enablers. He says:

October 27, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

While the push forward for better collaboration and information-sharing capabilities will require technical advances, the experts at today's NATO workshop in Brussels, Belgium, are struggling with an even bigger challenge than connecting the bits and bytes.

June 1, 2009
By Helen Mosher

This is my take on the AFCEA, Northcom and George Mason University conference on "Inter-agency, Allied and Coalition Information Sharing," which was covered on SIGNAL Scape last week.

No, we still can't connect the dots as well as hoped and never will, but conferees agreed that what matters most is the thoughtful and trusting use that humans could make of what information manages to flow through IT systems, however improperly they may be connected. Technology is neither the roadblock nor the solution to building an information sharing network.

May 21, 2009
By H. Mosher

The Obama administration can take certain key steps to improve the ability to recognize and deal with national security threats, according to recommendations in "Nation at Risk," a report issued by The Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Jeff Smith of Arnold & Porter LLP, a steering committee member for the report, presented it yesterday at the AFCEA SOLUTIONS conference on information sharing.

May 20, 2009
By H. Mosher

The dramatic culture shift that needs to happen for government agencies to embrace change kept coming up at the SOLUTIONS conference like the refrain of a popular song: agencies must move from an emphasis on risk avoidance to a focus on risk management. Without that shift, the quest to achieve 100 percent risk avoidance is quixotic at best; more realistically, it hampers agencies' ability to share information.

May 19, 2009

Although there has been a great deal of progress in streamlining information sharing among allied forces over the past decade, many impediments remain. As the panelists at this morning's session on the challenges surrounding information sharing in a coalition environment noted, the devil is in the details.

May 19, 2009
By H. Mosher

Command and control (C2) still hasn't evolved with the times, according to an afternoon plenary session at AFCEA SOLUTIONS today. Dr. David S. Alberts, director of research for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, networks and information integration, spoke on the maturity and agility of C2. Alberts explained missions are increasingly complex, with implications on command and control:

May 20, 2009
By H. Mosher

Chris Gunderson of the Naval Postgraduate School posited some interesting ideas during yesterday afternoon's plenary sessions about why everyone keeps hearing the same things about changes that need to be made. Certain things, he suggested, we should just acknowledge and move past:

May 19, 2009
By H. Mosher

General Victor E. Renuart Jr., USAF, commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, opened the AFCEA Solutions conference on Inter-Agency, Allied and Coalition Information Sharing with a resounding endorsement of the need for continuing conversation about information sharing. But conversation isn't enough, he continued. "Discussions don't move to real solutions very rapidly. Discussion is wonderful, but action is what we need."

May 19, 2009
By H. Mosher

Ongoing exercises at the national level are the key to improving inter-agency homeland security processes, according to panelists at Tuesday morning's Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) panel at AFCEA SOLUTIONS. Such exercises contributed to the successful security implementation at the inauguration in January, said Col. Ken McNeill, ARNG, NGB/J-6.

March 2008
By Robert K. Ackerman

A U.S. Navy officer stands surface watch coordinator watch in the combat information center of a guided missile destroyer during a large joint exercise. As network centricity grows and jointness dominates operations, stovepiped systems and cultural challenges stand in the way of true information sharing.
Cultural, security, Web 2.0 issues remain to be conquered.